The Cederberg Wilderness Area Hot
Comments (0)

The smell of buchu and fynbos, the heady buzz of cicadas, dramatic sandstone rock formations, and the seemingly endless night skies. The Cederberg mountains are truly a magical mountain wilderness area.

Located approximately 300km’s from Cape Town up the N7, the the Cederberg mountains are named after the endemic Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cederbergensis).

The sandstone rock, belonging to the Table Mountain group, glows with intense shades of red, orange and yellows in the early morning and late evening sunshine.

IMG 3239
1. Natures canvas - Sandstone

Sneeuberg (2026m) and Tafelberg (1969m) peaks stand as bastions over-looking the valleys below.

Cederberg Wilderness | Sneeuberg and Cedar Tree
2. A Cedar tree frames Sneeuberg Peak

AbP 20100605 00133-212
3. Snow Protea (Protea cryophila) on Sneeuberg with Lamberts Bay out in the distance to the West.

Sheltering on their higher slopes is the endemic Snow Protea (Protea cryophila).

The changing of the seasons is reflected in the colours of the vegetation, Mountain Fynbos, and the sharply contrasting summer and winter temperatures. Summers are intensely hot and winters can be finger numbingly cold, with regular frosts and snow on the higher peaks.

20120505-IMG 5060
4. Kromrivier Valley in late Autumn

20120505-IMG 5239
5. Regular frosts occur in winter.

20120505-IMG 5147
6. Changing Autumn colours.

The wildlife in the Cederberg impacted by many years of human habitation, is starting to come back. The area is managed as a wilderness area by CapeNature and recent studies of the leopard population has shown a very healthy population of Cape Mountain leopards (Panthera pardus).

IMG 3537
7. Old Leopard Trap

Together with the help of landowners many other species including Klipspringer and Black Eagle are re-establishing themselves.

IMG 3620-Edit
8. A Grey-backed Cisticola darts between the leaves of a "Waboom" (Protea nitida).

There are many species of bird, fish, reptiles and insects recorded. Take the time if you have an interest and pay attention to the smaller critters.

IMG 2640
9. Cape River Frog.

IMG 2685
10. Rock Agama's.

IMG 2882
11. Dragonfly.

IMG 292112. Locust.

The Cederberg is also famous for its San rock art, with many cave shelters and rock paintings recorded. The famous Stadsaal and the nearby Elephant Shelter are National Heritage Sites and contain both San rock art and more recent turn of the century “graffiti”.

20120506-IMG 544413. Elephant Shelter

20120506-IMG 5441
14. The famous elephant paintings

IMG 0817
15. Rock shelter

Pano 2
16. San rock art panorama

20120506-IMG 5488
17. Stadsaal caves

20120506-IMG 5479
18. Stadsaal "Graffiti"

Undoubtedly the best way to experience the Cederberg is on foot. Hiking in the wilderness area gives one a sense of freedom that is not easily enjoyed these days.

AbP 20100605 00133-38
19. Sneeuberg Hut, a "true" mountain hut

There are a few mountain huts dispersed throughout the area, or you can simply sleep out in the open. The paths are well trodden and make for relatively comfortable walking.

IMG 2748
20. Starting out from Algeria up to the Middleberg Hut.

IMG 2864
21. Sandstone rock "sculptures"

The famous landmarks are conveniently dispersed and you are able to link them up over several days hiking. Crystal Pools, Disa Pools, Tafelberg and Spout Cave, The Wolfberg Arch and Cracks, the Maltese Cross and the highest peak Sneeuberg to name just a few.

IMG 2699
22. Disa Pools near Kromrivier

20120505-IMG 5339
23. The Maltese Cross

IMG 3094
24. The "Pillar Box" on Tafelberg.

IMG 3327
25. The Wolfberg Arch

IMG 3376
26. The Wolfberg Arch

For the more leisurely travelers there are a few farms (Driehoek, Dwarsrivier and Kromrivier) offering campsites and more comfortable cabins and bungalows. Local vineyards provide some of the best wines the Cape has to offer, with perfect terroir and wine growing temperatures.

20120505-IMG 5393
27. Dwarsrivier vineyards with the Wolfberg Cracks in the background.

20090502 5504
28. Driehoek campsite and bungalows

My first visit to this weathered sandstone wilderness was when I was a mere six months old, I have visited regularly ever since. I have experienced extreme heat, extreme cold and everything in between. I have hiked, biked, bushwhacked, 4x4’ed, swum, fished, climbed, wine tasted, worked and grown up along the way.

IMG 2948
29. The Cederberg

IMG 2984
30. Cedars in the mist

It is a place I will always keep coming back to.

IMG 3208
31. Room with a view

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.

Please enter the security code.
Arne Purves
Author: Arne PurvesWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Arne's passion for the environment, wildlife and conservation was instilled from an early age, leading to a career in nature conservation, first as a game ranger in the Natal Parks Board, a conservation officer with CapeNature and today in the City of Cape Town's Environmental Compliance Department. Photography is his creative medium of choice.