Cederberg

The Cederberg is named for the forests of Clanwilliam cedar trees that were all but exterminated two centuries ago for their fine timber. Today the range is known among mountaineers for its remoteness and grand scale, and for its many fantastical rock formations, sculpted by extreme weather and mechanical erosion.

©Jacques Marais
Cederberg rock arch formation, Western Cape, South Africa.

Inland, across the wheatlands of the Swartland, the land sweeps up in impressive parabolic curves to the Groot Winterhoek and Cederberg mountain ranges. During the summer, these mountains blister in the dry Mediterranean heat, while in winter they are lashed by rain and covered with rock-shattering snow and ice.

These rugged ridges, peaceful valleys, remote plateaux and isolated peaks of the Cederberg, encapsulate a wilderness to rival the Drakensberg's grandeur and the floral wonders of the Hottentots-Holland mountains. The 20-metre-high Maltese Cross stands on a clinkered plain below Sneeukop, the highest peak in the Cederberg; Tafelberg and The Spout rise from the elevated, natural walkway of Die Trap. South of here stands the Stadsaal, which looks as if it came from the pages of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales.

The Wolfberg Cracks tower over the settlement of Dwarsrivier, while the spectacular Wolfberg Arch beyond looks down onto the parched scrubland of the Tanqua Karoo. On the highest and most exposed peaks grows the lovely, white puff-ball snow protea. Tucked into the valley of the Tra-tra River, almost out of sight.

By David Bristow

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is nestled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains and boasts with a magical wilderness of open plains, sandstone formations and a rich Bushmen history....more

Cederberg a Climbers Paradise

The Cederberg is a climber's paradise, combining great beauty, easy access, good rock and largely unexplored crags. The first climbers to visit Cederberg were Gother Mann...more

Cederberg a Delight to Naturalists and Botanists

Today, the Cederberg is one of the country’s principal catchment areas and one of its finest wilderness regions. Apart from the Clanwilliam cedars, the mountains are a delight to naturalists...more

Cederberg Accommodation

With a vast striking beauty stretching throughout the mountainous region, it's hard not to be transfixed by the sheer geographical majesty that is the Cederberg region....more

Cederberg Fantastical Rock Formations

The Cederberg is perhaps best known for its fantastical rock formations. These have been caused by eons of rain and snow eating into the quartzitic sandstone boulders and cliffs...more

Cederberg Hiking

The Destination: Dwarsrivier Farm and the Sand River Camp Site, hidden within the heart of the Cederberg Conservancy and surrounded by dramatic landmarks such as Tafelberg...more

Flowers and Trees of the Cederberg

The northernmost extension of the Cape Fold mountains is the Cederberg, which shelters some of the rarest endemic fynbos flowers. On the highest peaks of this range the snow protea...more

Navigating the Cederberg

From Nieuwoudtville, you will leave the Northern Cape and Namaqualand to enter the province of the Western Cape. Here, the displays of flowering succulents and annuals are supplemented...more

Nuwerust Mountain Bike Route

Nuwerust Rest Camp holds the recipe for riding fun: dramatic landscape + hectic topography + single-track + seemingly endless riding options = Mountain bike orgasm. Or something like that...more

What is The Cederberg?

A couple hours journey inland from the West Coast and within easy driving distance of Cape Town, the ‘Rock Garden of the Gods’ await. This is the Cederberg, a place of bizarre sandstone...more

What to do in Cederberg

The Cederberg offers exceptional hiking and climbing. You'll need a permit to walk and use the huts in the wilderness area, which has been divided into three zones, stretching from the Pakhuis Pass to the Maltese Cross....more