Travel Guide to The Cederberg Mountains

Picturesque scene of Cederberg Mountain range and vegetation, Northern Cape, SA

The vast Cederberg wilderness area is surrounded by an oasis stretching through the Olifants River Valley to the spectacular Cederberg Mountains. Its dramatic rock formations, Craggy peaks, Caves, and clear Mountain streams make the Cederberg Mountains a destination that should be on any adventure traveller’s bucket list. Located a mere 5 km from Clanwilliam, and the travelling distance from Cape Town to Cederberg is only 300 km.

Things to Know Before Visiting the Cederberg Mountains

Located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, the Cederberg was once inhabited by San and Khoi people, leaving behind a rich legacy. Also known as Cedarberg or Sederberg, the Cederberg Wilderness area encompasses 71,000 hectares of craggy landscapes.

Most attractions in the Cederberg Mountain ranges require a permit unless you have a Wild card. Cederberg permits are available at Tourism offices, the Algeria Forest station, Cederberg Oasis, or Dwarsrivier. Permits for overnight Camping in the Cederberg are available at the Algeria office and online from CapeNature.

Main Stadsaal Caves Cederberg Mountains

Being one of the few untouched places in the world, expect an arid landscape with little rain and soaring temperatures in summer.

Wintertime brings cool days and the occasional cold front that replenishes the streams and sometimes turns the mountains into a snowy wonderland.

And at night, a clear starry sky with the Milky Way as you’ve never seen before. I wrote this article to help you plan an unforgettable time in the Cederberg.

The amazing Stadsaal Caves photo was taken by Kobus Peche (Getty Images).

13 Best Things to Do in The Cederberg Mountains

1. Meander the Cederberg Mountains

Discover the exceptional beauty of this unspoilt, rugged Wilderness in your own time. The region is filled with incredible Rock Art and eroded rock formations in amber, red, and burnt orange shades. A good idea is to pack some snacks in your daypack and sit somewhere to admire the beauty; you’ll be surprised about how much more you’ll see instead of just rushing through.

Revel in the species of animals such as the rare lynx, bat-eared foxes, honey badgers, dassies, Otters, aardvarks, porcupines, and even the elusive cape leopard. Besides that, antelope species and endemic reptiles, such as the armadillo lizard. Among the Cederberg bird species, look for the black eagle, rock kestrel and jackal buzzard as the most common raptors.

Klipspringer Cederberge - Photo by Willem van Zyl Getty Images
Klipspringer Willem van Zyl Getty Images
Mountain Zebras Cederberge
Mountain Zebras Cederberge

2. Admire the Stadsaal Caves & Khoisan Rock Art

Step back in time and visit the famous Stadsaal Caves, whose name is probably due to the many alleyways inside the capacious Caves. During the 19th Century, the Stadsaal Cave was used for community meetings. The Rock formations with ancient Cederberg Rock art of elephant herds roaming freely. Visitors to the Caves and Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve can obtain their Stadsaal Caves permit at any Tourism office in the Cederberg.

3. Hiking in The Cederberg Mountains

The Cederberg offers excellent hiking opportunities from easy to easy-moderate to challenging routes. Depending on the experience you want, the Cederberg Hikes vary from 1 to 8 hours and hikes from easy to moderate up to strenuous hikes. The duration of trials was indicated as a return trip. Choose a hike according to your level of fitness.

While hiking the Cederberg hiking Trails, look out for mammals, other fauna, and flora. Always carry a daypack containing enough water, a first aid kit, a hat, sunscreen, warm clothes and snacks. Remember your camera to capture the beautiful surroundings.

4. Experience the Hike to Lot’s Wife

The Intriguing Rock formation known as Lot’s Wife is a leisurely 1.6km stroll from the main road. Taking on the shape of a praying woman, the formation was named after a Biblical figure. The whole story of Lot’s wife, who turned into a salt pillar, is recounted in the Holy Bible in the book of Genesis.

 Two angels appeared to Lot, his wife and daughters, and asked them to flee the city of Sodom and Gomorrah before its imminent destruction by God. The angels command them not to look back while they run. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife disobeyed the angels’ command not to look back and turned into a salt-pillar. Sodom and Gomorrah.

5. Explore Truitjieskraal

The popular Truitjieskraal is a crag in the Cederberg amidst dramatic sandstone formations, with impressive Bushman paintings dating back 5000 years.

The name is believed to be derived from Gertruida, the name of a shepherd’s wife. There are sufficient directions along the trail that provide insights into the San and Khoe cultures.

Sodom and Gomorrah Pillar of salt Lots wife

Rock Climbing

Truitjieskraal is well known among extreme sports enthusiasts as one of the best Rock-climbing sites in South Africa. Permits for Rock climbing at Cederberg Mountain Range South Africa are available at the Kromrivier office. For more info and routes for Rock climbing the Crags at Truitjieskraal, see Climb Truitjieskraal.

Maltese Cross Cederberg

6. The Cederberg Maltese Cross

Located at the foothills of Sneeuberge, the Cederberg Maltese Cross rock formation rises to 30 meters, making it an impressive sight that cannot be missed. Historically, the area was known as Sneeuwbergen, meaning “snow mountains” due to the snow covering the hills. The Sneeuberg mountain range was previously called Sneeuwbergen for the same reason.

The Maltese Cross Cederberg hike is a 7-kilometer trail offering moderately challenging terrain and breathtaking views of the Cederberg Mountains. The Hike takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete.

Upon arrival at the Cross, you will notice a path all around the Cross that enables one to wander at the Cederberg Maltese cross and admire the burnt-orange masterpiece from all sides.

7. Experience The Wolfberg Cracks & Wolfberg Arch

Although hiking Cederberg to the Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch involves steep sections, this incredible hike is worth doing. The Wolfberg Arch hike via Wolfberg Cracks starts at the foot of the Wolfberg, about 1.2 km from Sanddrif. A map with directions for the route and narrow Cracks is available at Sandrivier.

Wolfberg Cracks Hike

If you’re planning to hike to Wolfberg Cracks, it’s advisable to start early in the morning. Although the trail is steep, the path is well-maintained. During the first leg of the hike, you’ll reach the most significant Crack. The hike continues further, and you’ll descend 30 meters into the depths of the Wolfberg before reaching the other unique Cracks.

Wolfberg Arch Hike

On the other hand, the Wolfberg Arch Hike is known as the ultimate hike in Cederberg Mountain. It’s worth all the effort to see the spectacular 15-meter-high Wolfberg Arch. However, I recommend you return on the same route after spending enough time at the Arch and its surroundings. Remember to carry enough water and the right Snacks to keep you energized.

8. Sevilla Rock Art Trail

Located on the farm Travellers Rest, The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is about 30 30-minute drive from Clanwilliam over the Pakhuis Pass.

This is one of the famous walks in the northern Cederberg due to a stunning series of Sevilla Rock Art in Cedarberg Mountains, Western Cape.

The trail consists of 9 rock art sites and will take about 2½ hours to complete. Expect some uneven terrain, although the route is pretty straightforward.

Should you travel during the Flower season, I suggest you combine the outing with a visit to the Biedouw Valley.

Sevilla Rock Art Trail #Bushman art in Cederberg

9. Middelberg Waterfall

Starting at the Algeria Campsite, the 6 km route will take you to the picturesque Middelberg Waterfall, an ideal place to enjoy a picnic. Duration: about 3 hours return (excluding time at the Waterfall). Remember to take enough water and Healthy snack food.

Cederberg Mountains Stargazing at Maltese Cross
Cederberg Mountains Stargazing at Maltese Cross

10. Stargazing in The Cederberg Mountains

Due to the clear sky, the Cederberg offers a star spectacle most of the year. One can also visit the Cederberg Observatory, 2 km outside Dwarsrivier. Weather permitting, there is a two-hour show every Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

11. Rocklands Highline Festival 

Once a year, over Easter, the circus comes to the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa. This is when a festive atmosphere reigns at De Pakhuys campsite. During this time, unicyclists, power-stilt walkers, and slacklines are strung between trees and tents.

12. Swimming and Cliff Jumping at Maalgat

The 2 km Maalgat walk or Hippo Pool Hike is relatively easy, and the scenery along the river’s edge is very rewarding. There are some paddle pools along the way where one can cool off before reaching the Waterfall that tumbles into a much larger pool.

13. Cederberg Cellars

Enjoy some wine-tasting at one of the highest Mountain ranges in South Africa. Cederberg Winery produces award-winning white- and red wines and is open from Mondays to Saturdays.

The Best Cederberg Accommodation and Campsites


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10 Comments

  1. So glad you’ve enjoyed the posts and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Dankie vir comment.Dit is beslis ‘n baie besonderse plek.

  3. The Cederberg Mountains sounds like a place one should definitely put on ones list of go to places. Lots of awesome things to do and places to see!

  4. Dit lyk fantasties!

  5. Thanks! Hope you enjoyed the article too.

  6. Johan your hubby . says:

    Cool beautiful pictures .

  7. Johan your hubby . says:

    Cool beautiful pictures

  8. Willemien Le Roux says:

    Awesomeness 💛