Self catering Backpackers, R600 per room per night, bedding and towels not provided.
Situated at reception area where the Leopard trail starts and finishes, this is the perfect base to book for the night before and the night after you hike. The Backpackers consists of three separate rooms each with their own entrance. Each room has 4 single beds, solar power for lights and charging electronic devices, and a safe for valuables.
There is one communal bathroom with toilets and hot gas showers. There is a large, well equipped shared kitchen with gas fridge/freezer, gas stove top, hot running water and wash facilities. Connected to the kitchen is a covered veranda with a portable braai as well as a fire pit.
The rate is R600 per room per night – please bring your own sleeping bags, bedding and towels.
You can find relief on hot days in the large cement reservoir swimming pool that is available to all guests at Cedar Falls, fed by clear, fresh water from the mountain stream.
Please note that as we are in a World Heritage Site, we are unable to accommodate pets.
Check in is anytime from 2pm onwards, and check out by 10am. Guests are welcome to arrive earlier and leave later if you want to do walks, however please ensure you are out of your accommodation so that our team can start cleaning for the next guests.
Other Accommodation Options at Cedar Falls
We are getting trail camera’s back on the Leopard Trail – and YOU can be a part of the volunteer team.
At various times in the history of the Leopard Trail we have had game cameras in the mountains, and it is time to get camera’s back on the trail. Game camera’s help us to have a clear understanding of the wild animals walking the Leopard Trail, and let us share that information with hikers on the trail. The information is also very valuable for our partners the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.
This project is driven by volunteers who share our passion for the area. We will be placing between 6-8 trail camera’s on the Leopard Trail at various points, with the aim to keep the camera’s operation for a full calendar year. These camera’s need to be visited every 2 months to replace batteries and download images.
First Phase: Technical planning.
This first phase involves the necessary research into trail cameras, identifying the best camera’s for our purpose and researching the best practice for setting the cameras. Our experience over the years has given us a lot of knowledge, and we update this by exploring new developments in camera technology as well as talking to other organisations that have current experience in using trail cameras.
Second Phase: Camera Installation
Over a few days, the camera’s will be installed on site and tested. The placement of the camera’s will focus on key points on the trail with natural funnels that channel animals onto the path.
Third Phase: Camera Monitoring
Every 2 months the cameras will need to be visited to change the batteries and upload the images. This will likely require 2 -4 days of walking to the various camera sites. The volunteer team will be based at Cedar Falls base camp, and visit the camera sites with 4×4 vehicles as far as possible and then walking in to the sites. The images downloaded will then be uploaded to a central data point for distribution to the Leopard Trail team and any of our conservation partners.
The project is run through a team of non-paid volunteers from the Leopard Trail hiking community. The purpose of using volunteers is to broaden the exposure our hiking community has to being a part of the Leopard Trail, and create opportunities for people with an interest and passion in the Leopard Trail environment to be part of our broader Leopard Trail team.
Volunteers will not be required to do all the trips and may only be involved in one or two of the trips based on how many volunteers are involved in the project.
The Leopard Trail will cover all the costs of the camera’s and equipmen. Accommodation will be provided to volunteers by Cedar Falls for the time that volunteers are on site working on the project.
June – July Technical Phase
September – Camera Installations
November – First Camera Monitoring
January – Second Camera Monitoring
March – Third Camera Monitoring
May – Fourth Camera Monitoring
July – Fifth Camera Monitoring
September – Sixth Camera Monitoring
Want to be a part of the project?
If you would like to be a on the volunteer team for the project, sign up here. If you have any questions, please go to our Leopard Trail Hikers Community Page and drop us a question in the post talking about this project.
10 years ago the idea of the Leopard Trail was born around a camp fire by the team at Cedar Falls. Those sitting there were dwarfed by the night sky and the silhouette of the magnificent mountains of the Baviaans World Heritage Site Reserve – a call to create something special. The next day we worked through the plan of how it could work, what would be required and how to set it up as a community project. We had one problem though – we needed some mountains to walk through.
The best routes would take us into the reserve, and for that we would need the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) to agree to the project and give us permission to send hikers into the great Baviaans mountains. We were confident that given the incredible potential of the project to combine community development, conservation and the promotion of a green economy, we could get the ECPTA onboard.
And indeed, over the next few months the ECPTA became an enthusiastic partner, supporting the idea wholeheartedly. While they did not have resources to help get the project started, the ECPTA team created the enabling environment and permissions for the project to keep moving, while also committing to see if they could help in the raising of funds for the eventual building of huts that would open the project to a wider audience of hikers.
It took us a good few years to get the hike to a point where we could get the first feet on the trail. Our community project finally received the Environmental Impact Approval we needed, and was able to borrow money to get a team of locals into the mountains for 8 months to create the trail and buy a 19 year old Land Cruiser to transfer hikers bags from night to night. During this time we were always hopeful that somehow we would find funds to eventually build huts for hikers, though for the time being the trail started with a tented camp option.
Five or six years into the project we received an unexpected and surprising call from the ECPTA. Through a partnership with the National Department of Tourism they had been able to secure funds for the building of huts on the trail! The actual construction of huts would not start for another two years, but for all of us involved we felt massive relief and excitement that huts would be coming.
The huts are now complete and are superb! The Leopard Trail is consistently included in most bucket lists of must do hikes in SA, and with the addition of the huts it is becoming vital for hikers to book way in advance to secure a spot. Through the partnership between the Leopard Trail and the ECPTA, the idea that was born 10 years ago has grown into a project that is far more than just a hike. It is a stunning example of how great partnerships can change lives.
So from the team that sat around that camp fire 10 years ago and all the people on the ground who are involved in the bigger project, we would like to say a heart felt thank you to all of our partners at the ECPTA. Here’s to a long future of creating a legacy for hikers and locals alike.
It is always great when the the top magazines call and ask to pay us a visit. Not only is it good exposure for our project, but most of the time it is good solid outdoorsy type people. Justin was a good example, willing to traipse along as we checked cameras and hiked to the Cedar Falls. What we appreciate most about this write up is that he gets our mission – to provide the base camp from which people can explore the true magnificence of the Baviaanskloof from OUTSIDE of their vehicle. Most people visiting the area stay firmly inside their 4×4’s. The true magic however is what you find when you go for a hike, jump on your MTB or get your trail running shoes on.
As this hiking guide is still on sale, we can’t give away too much. You can buy it here: https://winkel.weg.co.za/produk/go-hiking-guide-2020/
In the article author Leentjie Du Preez gives a personal account and guide to hiking the Leopard Trail.
We had an awesome stay and will be back. What an experience, we took photos but will never capture the mountains and the experience we had. We enjoyed our stay and Willem went out of his way to assist.