The Trails

For slack packers and trail runners we have two marked routes (the Red route (19km) and Yellow route (14km)) and a number of shorter options which start and finish at the Woodcliffe farmhouse.

Our routes offer scenic vantage points and excellent swimming spots along the rivers. The routes vary in distance and difficulty. The safety of our guests is important to us and we encourage our guests to discuss their planned routes with us, so that we may provide input and are kept up to date.


San paintings abound in the foothills of the southern Drakensberg and Woodcliffe is no exception. A listed collection of local San artifacts is on display at the farmhouse. We have been fortunate to host archaeologists and academics studying San culture and art in preparation for publication. A highlight was the 2001 lead article “Paintings of the Spirit” in National Geographic magazine.

"For the rock was not simply a canvas but also a veil between the material and spirit worlds and paintings helped pierce that veil" - (National Geographic volume 199, no. 2, February 2001, page 121).

Prior arrangement is necessary for viewing of all San paintings and a guide is required. Rock art tours are bespoke depending on interest and level of fitness. Most San painting sites are in remote locations and require a combination of 4x4 and hiking to reach the site.

For visits to the surrounding areas of Tsitsana and Mount Fletcher please contact Tshaka, a local guide (,


At Woodcliffe trout fishing can be enjoyed on 10km of the Little Pot River and Redcliffe Stream. The flyfishing on Little Pot River is mentioned in many publications, even the classic Rapture of the Rivers by Sydney Hey (1957).

The river has a self-sustaining rainbow trout population, that enjoy the gin clear water that cuts through the sandstone landscape. The upper reaches of the Little Pot on Woodcliffe boast cascades whilst the lower sections ease into deeper pools lined with pebbles and gravel. For the novice fisherman the section below the weir is a wonderful school where the water is well oxygenated, and the fish congregate.

Guests are to bring their own rods and there is a daily rod fee for fishing on Woodcliffe. Please enquire at reception for advice on the best sections of river to fish on the day.

For guests wishing to extend their fishing experience beyond the Woodcliffe waters, day permits for the rivers and dams in the area are available at the Bean and Bun (+27 64 653 7270) coffee shop in Maclear (Nqanqarhu).

View the 2014 flyfishing report.
View the 2021 flyfishing report.

Fishing guides available:
Contact Richard Viedge (+27 82 657 1728)


Wild flowers are a special interest for Phyll, who makes regular contributions to iNaturalist of sightings on Woodcliffe and the surrounds.

High-altitude orchids and proteas proliferate in the November to February months, with the flush occurring at the end of summer. Disa crassicornis, Disa nivea, Huttonaea grandiflora and Pterygodium leucanthum are among the 70 confirmed species of high-altitude orchid that occur on the mountain sides and in the indigenous forests in the area.

Woodcliffe and the surrounds are home to five species of protea; caffra, dracomontana, simplex, roupelliae and subvestita. Proteas scatter the upper reaches of the grassy slopes forming a savanna.

Should you require the services of a guide to take you to the wild flowers, please let us know well in advance.

Roads less travelled

The north Eastern Cape highlands is well known for spectacular and rugged scenery, enjoyed from a 4x4 over mountain passes. Woodcliffe is situated 22km from Maclear (Nqanqarhu), 98km from Rhodes between Naude’s Nek (60km) and Bastervoetpad (60km); a good stop-over point for offroad enthusiasts trying the 12 pass challenge.


Woodcliffe is part of the Grassland biome with three different vegetation types: East Griqualand Grassland, Southern Drakensberg Highland Grassland, and the Southern Mistbelt forests. Woodcliffe has an impressive bird list which encompasses the birds of the three different types of vegetation. Joelshoek valley is home to a large flock of Crowned Cranes and is regularly visited by Blue and Wattled Cranes. Jackal buzzards and Long Crested eagles patrol the grasslands whilst the elusive Bush Blackcap and magnificent Paradise Flycatcher flit in and out of the indigenous forests. Long, mournful calls of the Buff Spotted Flufftail usher in the close of day, as Cape vultures take up their overnight roosts in the sandstone cliffs. Take a moment when you drive up the valley on your approach to Woodcliffe, as it will be a birding feast!

Mountain biking

The foothills of the Drakensberg are worth exploring on a mountain bike. The district gravel roads take you to far flung secret places. A reasonable level of fitness is required for the longer cycles. Pack a backpack with a picnic lunch and there may even be a chance to swim in a crystal-clear stream along the way. There are two possibilities to cycle along the foothill plateaus up to the final climb of the high Drakensberg. Your cycle may involve crossing streams and on occasions you may have to carry your bicycle across the deeper river crossings. Whatever happens, you will be assured of an unforgettable adventure. Guests are encouraged to bring their own bicycles and a few spares for running bike repairs.

Farm life

Woodcliffe’s farming is focused on a commercial herd of Bonsmara cattle, although sheep, donkeys, chickens and horses are part of the landscape of our valley. Each season requires preparation for the next; planting pastures in spring for winter grazing; burning of the veld in spring to ensure fresh summer growth and managing calving and mating to ensure success in the coming year.

We aim to become more self-sufficient by reducing reliance on the national electricity grid, developing sustainable water systems and establishing an eating garden for ourselves and our staff. After cattle farming; propagating, planting and tending vegetables, herbs, fruit and nut trees is an important farm chore.

Through balancing farming methods with environmental practices and embracing new technologies we hope to leave Woodcliffe in a better state for future generations.

Kind Words

from our Visitors Book