The Cederberg Mountains are three hours north of Cape Town. Whether going for a weekend or one week, the beauty of the area makes it a place difficult to leave. The Cederberg range is known for bouldering, hiking, and ancient rock art. There is a microbrewery and winery in the valley if you want to relax inside after a few days spent exploring the mountains.
In late March, the Rocklands Highline Festival takes place and is one of our personal highlights from South Africa. If you visit during this time, it’s a must-do activity!
Keep reading to find out all about how to plan a visit to the Cederberg Mountains!
Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon.
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Complete Guide to The Cederberg Mountains
How to Get There
Clanwilliam is the major town in the northern part of the range. Citrusdal is the town on the southern end of the mountain range. Both are easily accessible right off the N7. The Cederberg Mountains are a three-hour drive north of Cape Town.
Highlights of The Cederberg Mountains
1. De Pakhuys
Starting in the north from Clanwilliam, take R364 over the pass towards De Pakhuys. The first stop is Alpha Excelsior guest farm and winery for a wine tasting.
From there, continue to the neighboring De Pakhuys farm. Buy some of their olives (amazing!) and go on a short hike to the waterfalls. This is a great place to hang out for a couple of hours and enjoy a packed lunch. De Pakhuys also has great campsites and hiking opportunities.
2. Highline Festival
The Rocklands Highline Festival occurs over Easter weekend and is only a few years in existence and still growing. It is like a circus for adults!
Slacklines are set up between mountains during the day, as well as juggling, acro yoga, bouldering, and fire dancing. Best of all, are the people. We met so many incredible people who became our close friends and made South Africa special to us.
The festival is held at De Pakhuys and caters to people from around the world.
3. The Wolfsburg Crack Hike
The hiking is excellent in the Sandrift area, which is famous for the Wolfsburg Crack, the Arch, and the Maltese Cross.
The Crack and Arch can be joined for a one-day hike, which takes roughly 6 or 7 hours to complete. It is a difficult hike, with a steep incline from the parking area up to the cracks. There are three visible cracks. The second crack is the easy route up and has a clear path.
For the adventurous, go to the third crack, which truly makes this hike. Follow the second crack to where the trail continues on a ledge along a cliff. Immediately after the cliff, turn left up into the third crack. Boulder over rocks and slide underneath a small area on your back. Once past this section, the crack narrows and is an easy walk to the top. From the top, there are panoramic views of the Cederberg.
4. Go on The Arch Hike
The Arch is a continuation of the Wolfsburg Cracks hike. Once you are on the top plateau of the cracks, the Arch is roughly an hour and a half further. The trail gets a little difficult to follow but there are many cairns along the way.
Eventually, the Arch is visible from a distance and the trail becomes clear again. This was one of our favorite hikes in all of South Africa!
5. Stadsaal Caves
To see some ancient rock art from the bushmen who thrived in the area for centuries, the Stadsaal Caves is a great stop. This is an easy 30-minute hike from the parking area.
The permits for the Wolfsburg Cracks, the Arch, and Maltese Cross can all be obtained from the Cederberg Winery office. Permits for the Stadsaal Caves can be obtained at Oasis Backpackers.
Wine Tasting and Microbrews
Cedarburg Winery is a great place to stop for wine tasting, especially after the hike to the cracks. The cost for a tasting of 7 wines is totally reasonable. A good place to stop for lunch and a beer in Kromriver is Cedarbrew.
Where to Stay
- De Pakhuys charges per person for camping. It is roughly a 30 minute drive from Clanwilliam in the heart of the Rocklands. Their property is enormous, with bouldering, hikes, and a large pond for swimming.
- Oasis Backpackers is a great choice closer to the Sandrift area, and charges per campsite. It is a 30 minute drive from Sandrift and Cederberg Winery.
That’s it – have a wonderful time exploring the Cederberg Mountains!
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