A Guide to Rocklands

by David Naude

For newcomers, Rocklands can be an intimidating place. Situated 25 minutes from the town of Clanwilliam, Rocklands can be viewed as rather remote. However, with the right information on accommodation facilities, rest day activities and grocery options. Rocklands can become much more accessible for everybody!

Getting there

Rocklands is around a 2.5-hour drive from Cape Town along the N7, taking the Malmesbury, Piketberg route is your best option. Once you arrive in Clanwilliam it is best to sort out your groceries and other supplies you might need for your trip to avoid making the drive back to Clanwilliam as much as possible. There are several grocery stores and eateries in Clanwilliam including a Spar, Pick ‘n Pay and fast-food takeaways.

Continue along the Pakhuys Pass from Clanwilliam for another 25 minutes and let the psych start setting in as you drive through the endless orange boulders you’re soon to be climbing!

There are also several accommodation facilities and types available, so whether you’re into camping, glamping or would rather stay warmer in a stone cottage, the farms around Rocklands have it all for you!

Accommodation Available

• Kliphuis
• Travelers Rest
• De Pakhuys
• Alpha Excelsior
• The Storytellers
• Bushman’s Cave
• Kleinfontein

Kliphuis, situated on the flower route to the Biedouw valley and Wupperthal, offers an upgraded campsite. Set against the backdrop of the famous Rocklands bouldering site, it is the perfect spot for climbing enthusiasts.

The shady campsite lies in the northern section of the Cederberg Wilderness, in the Pakhuis Pass. The 14 sites lie on the banks of the Kliphuis River – an invitingly cool swimming spot in summer.

Sites available: 14 (maximum 6 people and 2 cars per campsite)
Shaded sites: Yes
Power points: No
Ablution facilities: Hot-water showers (gas), no toilet paper provided
Shop on-site: No
Firewood for sale: Yes
Braai facilities: Yes
Pets: No

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Rhino Boulder, Cedar Rouge and Leopard Cave are fully equipped chalets. Each chalet has three bedrooms, sleeping between six and eight people. One room has a double bed, the other two rooms each have a double bunk and there is one double sleeper couch in the lounge area.

Electricity: Solar-powered lighting
Bathroom: Shower (gas geyser), flush toilet
Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery
Bedding, linen and towels: Yes
Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided and firewood is for sale
Pets: No

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Travelers Rest
Traveller’s Rest offers 29 cottages in total, spread over a huge area in wide open settings. The cottages are all delightful in their earthy simplicity and surprising in their homely, well-equipped comfort with en-suite bedrooms.

All the cottages have huge fireplaces for cold winter evenings and electric fans for hot weather. All the kitchens are equipped with cutlery and crockery, fridges, two plate stoves, kettles and microwaves. Bed linen and towels are provided and an outdoor braai area (barbecue) completes the picture. Fire wood can be bought at the Traveller’s Rest farm stall. A shared swimming pool near the river and the restaurant brings relief after a hot day.

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De Pakhuys
Types of accommodation offered:
De Pakhuys features a variety of cottages, luxury tented accommodation, cabins as well as a fully equipped campsite.

• Wood fired geyser
• Bar
• Communal Braai Area
• Ablution Facilities
• Small Shop
• Pad Rental

One thing we love about climbers visiting Rocklands:
“Rocklands without climbers is just rock. Climbers are the soul, period.” – Thys Kruger
Advice for new comers on what to do if they should choose to stay in your accommodation
Don’t believe every word your read, it is even better. Chat to the regulars, read the blogs, get a guidebook or route app, you will have 80% more time on the boulders. Visit the bar, mix with the locals, drink Brandy and Coke 😊

Advice for new comers:
Hats off to the 2021 “Covid crusaders” Your bravery helped us locals through a very difficult time. Fresh air never did anybody harm!

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Alpha Excelsior
Types of accommodation offered:
Self-catering accommodation with two cottages, two farmhouses and seven equipped caravans.

The Homestead. This classic abode has two ensuite rooms with queen and single beds and a loft room with four single beds. The house sleeps up to 10.

The Old Farmhouse is over a century old and sports one ensuite room with double bed, two additional double rooms and a room with two single beds. The kitchen is your classic farm style setup with a functioning Dover stove adding to the charm. The house sleeps 10.

Riverside Cottage is a stone and wood-clad cottage is privately positioned amongst a grove of pines and is open plan in setup. There’s a kitchenette, bathroom with shower and a patio with built in braai, as well as a lovely little garden area at the front of the cottage.

Weavers Cottage is well suited to a small family, with one bedroom which has a double, as well as an additional double sleeper couch in the living area. There’s a bathroom with shower, an equipped kitchenette and an indoor fireplace.

The Donkey Camp and its seven equipped caravans. The camp has gorgeous views of the northern Cederberg Mountains. The caravans, each one shaded by a roofed shelter, are centred around the Leopard Lapa, a covered dining and braai area which forms the social hub of the camp. Each caravan has an outside sitting area, is equipped with double beds, has electricity and includes a fridge/freezer, gas cooker, cutlery and crockery and an outside tap. There is a central ablution area with loo’s, wash basins and showers.

• Coffee shop in climbing season
• Winery
• Bedding and towels
• Cooking facilities
• Hot showers
• Swimming Pool
• Dam with kayaks
• Firewood for sale

One thing we love about climbers visiting Rocklands:
Accents and a new perspective from around the world. They also keep is current and up to date.

Advice for new comers:
Come to The Hen House coffee shop for a yummy breakfast or lunch or keep eyes peeled for our pizza evenings. Don’t miss out on a wine tour of our country winery. Visit our donkeys, Alfie, Ester and Eeyore. Come Hike and swim in the nearby waterfall then end the day with a paddle on our dam followed by a stretch on our island.
Any words… Welcome Back!

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Types of accommodation offered:
3 self-catering units – Klipspringer sleeps 2, Safari-tent sleeps 3 and Berg-Kaya wooden cottage sleeps 2.
All these units have braai facilities and Berg-Kaya and Klipspringer have fire places for the cold winter evenings. All units have access to free WIFI except Berg-Kaya, it is secluded between mountains.

There is also 3 camp sites with an ablution block and hot water via a gas geyser and an undercover Lapa area attached to the ablution facility. Free WIFI available in camp site. Unfortunately, no electricity in the camp site.

Advice for new comers on what to do if they should choose to stay in your accommodation:
Enjoy and protect our nature and archaeology heritage, enjoy the fresh air and boulders but only leave your footprints behind.

Any words to the 2021 Rocklands visitors: Come and see the majesty and splendour of the Cederberg in the Rocklands….

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Bushman’s Cave
Types of accommodation offered:
12 Cottages & 6 Rooms and unlimited Camping Facilities.

• Big Recreation Hall
• Big Screen
• Fireplace
• Pool, Darts, Table Tennis
• Free WIFI
• Farm Shop with Basic needs
• Wood available
• Laundry facilities
• Car washing
• Giving FREE DINNER on a regular base with traditional food on the menu

One thing you love about climbers visiting Rocklands:
They are so friendly, easy going and relaxed.

Advice for newcomers on what to do if they should choose to stay in your accommodation:
Please read all the info carefully that is applicable to you about your stay and don’t be afraid to ask for more advice or even some favours. By doing that, you will be informed about everything, otherwise you are going to make it intrigue to yourself and miss out on nice opportunities available.

Any words to the 2021 Rocklands visitors:
Thank you that you were brave enough and not use COVID as an excuse not to come to Rocklands during 2021!! By doing so, you’re putting us as hosts in a position to remain here in the future.

The Storytellers
“Our accommodation spaces were designed to let people experience for themselves the raw and rugged magic that is the Cederberg landscape. They are simple, ecologically sustainable, yet comfortable, merging with the surrounding wilderness.”

Types of accommodation offered:

Dassie Den: Glamping on a deck with a spectacular view of the cliffs. Sleeps 4.
Tortoise Terrace: Glamping right up under the cliffs, sitting under the stars in the wilderness. Sleeps 4.
Caracal Cottage: Hidden between the rocks in a gypsy-style cottage. Sleeps 6.

We aim to keep it as simple as possible to truly
facilitate a disconnect from the outside world. Simple kitchens, private
bathrooms, no wi-fi, limited cell phone reception.

One thing we love about climbers visiting Rocklands:
meeting new and interesting people all the time.

Advice for first time guests in our units:
watch out for our resident mongoose, because it wants your food more than you do.

Words to the 2021 Rocklands visitors:
Vote of thanks: thank you so much for the support, we do appreciate it. Your business has pulled many back from the brink of financial disaster. // Sensible advice: Pack warmly and consider bringing a hot water bottle. The flowers are also blooming, so it’s going to get pretty here for the next two months! Get here now.

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Your first time in Rocklands will be one you will always remember! There are boulders of every difficulty to suit everyone, so whether it is your first-time bouldering or you have been itching to make a trip to Rocklands for a while you are guaranteed to have an amazing time! Make sure to pick of the Rocklands Bouldering Guide, by Scott Noy. Or download the 27crags app to ensure the easiest directions to all of the boulders that you have your eyes on!

Also be sure to check out CapeNature’s Instagram #rocklandsphotocomp. Post your Rocklands bouldering photo and use #rocklandsphotocomp to stand a chance to win an amazing Black Diamond hamper valued at R12600! The competition runs until the 31st of August so be sure to post before then, for more information visit any of our partners Instagram accounts listed below!


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