Totem Poles hike

This walk takes you up an easy-to-follow trail from Beaverlac up the Ratel River ravine. There are numerous beautiful pools and waterfalls along the way, and the surroundings include dramatic rock formations which characterize the Cederberg area.

Getting there: Start from the gate that leads to the Main Pool at Beaverlac.
Difficulty: easy to follow trail

Totem Poles
Totem Poles

The kind people of Beaverlac will have supplied you with a map of the area: this trail is referred to as the Leopard Trail. The sketched map and the route descriptions are accurate and easy to follow. I downloaded a more detailed map of the area from the The Maps website (the companion site to the Slingsby range of maps) as well.

As per the directions, leave the campsite through the gate leading to the Main Pool. After about 20 metres, take the path that leads off to the right, up the valley. From here the path leads up the valley — the river is on your left. At intervals there are paths leading to the left taking you down to the river. Follow the cairns up the main path. Only once, up near the end of the trail, does the path lead you to the right — away from the ravine: it goes up around Castle Rock before heading back into the ravine at Totem Poles.

There is a series of beautiful pools to swim in which are far less crowded than the Main Pool. I would recommend packing a lunch and spending some time up here, and maybe stopping in at the other pools in a leisurely manner on the way down.

You can continue past this area if you are in search of your own secluded pool…

Warning: please do not jump off the waterfall into this pool — there is a submerged rock.

This is one for: lots of water, swimming costume (or not!).

Cederberg map


Outdoor adventure enthusiast living on the Garden Route.

One thought on “Totem Poles hike

  • 22 March 2010 at 12:03

    Firstly, thanks for all your info on Beaverlac. We used your site prior to going to Beaverlac.
    We also went to the Totem Poles Pool and agree that it is worth it!
    I would like to emphasise on the bloggers point about following the cairns. If you don’t, you’ll end up on other small paths that eventually means you will have to go bush. We heard of one couple who left at 10am, never actually found the Totem Poles Pool and didn’t arrive back at the camp until 7pm! If anyone is interested in more info or photos, you can see our post about Beaverlac here:

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