Tweedetol is part of the Limietberg Nature Reserve. It is situated about 15km from Wellington (1.5hrs from Cape Town) along the long, winding, wonderfully scenic and yet breathtakingly scary, Bainskloof pass.
For the past 5 or 6 years, we have made a tradition of our annual trip to Tweedetol. We are not campers so we make a day trip of it and boy, is it a LONG day.
Every year we have gone progressively earlier as the queues of cars to get in has gotten longer and longer. In December 2013, we had the bright idea of leaving home at midnight. Any sane person would find this extreme and we had to be slightly insane to do this, but experience has taught us: rather be the early bird that catches the worm than the fool that has to drive an hour and a half back to Cape Town after a 6-hour wait!
So, we started our long drive, our boots packed with all the essentials. We took the N1 all the way to and through Wellington. It was unfortunate that we missed out on the sunrise that we usually catch along Bainskloof pass as it is stunning. The Pass is HIGH and very narrow with, at times, just a row of strategically placed rocks to separate your car from a nasty accident. Let the most experienced driver do this route – especially if you are driving in the dark as the bends can be sharp and abrupt. Drive it slowly and try to take in the magnificent scenery.
We arrived at the Tweedetol entrance to find that there were about 30 cars ahead of us – at 2am! Unbelievable! The previous year we arrived at 3/4 am and we were the second car, so this was insane. We started to get concerned as we are well aware that they only allow 150 visitors into the site per day and surely there were more than 150 people ahead of us. We decided to stick it out as there aren’t many other sites in the vicinity and we had never been turned away before.
In that line of cars, we observed some of the most irresponsible parents. There was a family sleeping on blow up mattress in the road, directly next to the yellow line. There were kids walking up and down the road, despite it being dark and the road being very narrow. With all the cars parked in the left lane, the road is reduced to a single lane with traffic in both directions. It is ridiculous that they do not have a pre-sold pass system like Crystal Pools as these things are extremely hazardous.
With 6 hours to burn, the obvious thing to do would be to try to sleep (in your car, not on the road). So being my super prepared self, I had my memory foam pillow and my eye mask and was ready to go. It is damn difficult to sleep in the front seat of a car, though. The night sky is stunning there so if you struggle to sleep then enjoy the view. It should be so serene until…. inconsiderate people start playing music from their cars! Who does that?!
By 8am the doors finally opened. By this time our muscles were all stiff from trying to sleep in the car and we were starving. We were eventually allowed in after some begging and pleading. Loads of cars had to turn around though, so if you intend on going then be prepared and have a backup plan.
This is the reason we go through so much effort to go to this place every year:
It has braai spots; amazingly refreshing clear water, a trail that allows you to see (and jump from) beautiful waterfalls and the stunning backdrop of the mountains. The natural beauty is really something to behold, especially along the trail.
Speaking of the trail, it is quite an easy trail but in the summer sun it is long. It takes approximately an hour in each direction and there is no shade, so take plenty of water and sunblock. I would advise that you wear good quality water shoes as you need to cross the river in parts and the stones are very slippery. Many have lost a flip-flop or two.
Tweedetol does have toilet facilities available but take along your own toilet paper. There are no shops near Tweedetol so take everything needed along, including braai wood and briquettes.
We always have a wonderful time at Tweedetol but it is tiring and the preparation to go is also exhausting. We would definitely go back again but we vowed that we would NEVER go on Christmas or Boxing Day again. If we do ever go during these periods, then we’d rather camp as the prep is just not viable as a day trip (especially sleeping in your car for 6 hours). It was also very crowded which made it quite unpleasant.
- If you have a magical way of keeping flies away from the campsite, use it
- Swim with water shoes as the rocks are slippery
- Take thick blankets and pillows to sit on (pillows to sleep in the car)
- There is no cellphone reception at all so just leave your phone in the car
- We usually take a 5L water as you tend to get dehydrated and the taps there are very slow
- You may get a braai spot with no shade- be prepared, take an umbrella or gazebo
- On our last trip we only made sausage on the braai, this saved a lot of time and energy as it was about 35 degrees
- Apparently, camp spots get booked out a year in advance for the December holiday
All the details you need can be found at Cape Nature
Entrance Fee: R30
No booking for day visitors