Wilderness trails of the Cederberg
Journeying in the Cederberg is a trip into remote tranquillity.
Vast, wild, ravished by time, it seems made for hardcore hiking, purposeful exploration, or soulful meanders.
- three hours drive from Cape Town
- set in the Cape Floral Kingdom
- ranges 50 kilometers from north to south / 20km from east to west
The Cederberg Wilderness Area, with about 274km of unmarked hiking trails, is at the heart of the range. It has World Heritage status, and is mostly administered by Cape Nature.
It’s a vegetative blend of classic fynbos and succulent Karoo. There are nearly two thousand species, including some of the rarest flowers around.
As for it's name? The vast cedar forests are now just a part of the colonial legacy of plunder. A few trees still hold out as skeletons, or eke out an existence in high crags, while conservationists still try for regrowth.
If they succeed, though, it's unlikely our generation will experience the vast forest. In the mean time there are one or two remnants and regrowth projects to hike through.
Walks, easy rambles, and multi-day hikes.
- Hoist a pack on your back & travel into another age.
Deep on remote trails traversing rugged terrain, human encounters are rare.
There's an almost Jurassic atmosphere.
Hike hard, or spend leisurely days out, and return to camp or cottages based at Cape Nature facilities or private farm-resorts.
Overnight trail options.
Pack carefully and equip yourselves well. The climate here can be harsh. Be prepared for long treks. Sleep overnight in huts; or in tents, or in the open. Shops and emergency help, depending on where you are and how you're travelling, can be days away. Preparation is key. Especially if all you have to protect yourself from the elements is on your back.
- On multi-day hikes one needs to be entirely self-sufficient.
- In summer water can be scarce.
- Cederberg has wet winters. Temperatures dip near zero. Be suitably equipped. Prepare for all conditions.
From five star bush spas to just what you can carry in your backpack ...
Cottages and camp-grounds run by Cape Nature and private landowners are close to various trail-heads.
On trail it gets more rustic
Sleep in basic huts. Or pitch a tent.
Encounters with non-humans - like antelope, baboons, dassies and genets (above) - are occasional.
On-trail: signs of stealthier predators.
There are snakes. Though in winter and even spring it's unlikely. Creepy-crawlies scurry around huts. Should weather conditions dictate you sleep in a hut, it's not a bad idea to pitch your tent inside it and zip up.
Activities besides hiking and camping
- Visit the highest local wine farm
- Tour rock art sites.
- Take a tour of the sky. Forget human-set boundaries ... Check out an older, bigger picture. Explore the stars at the local observatory.
Experts guide you through the night sky. (Weekends when no full moon.)
Best Time to go?
Spring brings on a wildflower bonanza.
For more information about tailor-made hikes in the Cederberg, please contact me.