Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tafelberg in the Cederberg

This is a big climb but definitely worthwhile: Tafelberg is unique. The 1968m summit is one huge rock slab, totally flat and more than 500m across, with shear sides which can only be scrambled in one confined gully. The sandstone top is sculpted into amazing shapes and rainwater pools formed by wind and chemical erosion, and the view is stunning.

To find the gully taking you to the summit, aim for the nek between Tafelberg and the Spout, then follow the base of the cliffs to a rock formation called the Pillarbox. To your left is a gully - it really is the only way up. (Unless of course you're a rock climber. Then Tafelberg and the Spout are just about paradise.)

The shortest ascent of Tafelberg is from Welbedacht kloof, but there is a nicer circular route starting at Driehoek farm, and ascending through an amazing valley of cedars among red sandstone formations. This takes you to an excellent overnighting spot in a grove of cedars called Die Rif, below Gabriel's Pass. From there it's a fairly long walk on the shale band until you meet the path up to Tafelberg. Come down viaWelbedacht kloof and either walk back to Driehoek or have a car waiting for you.

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