Attractions of hiking in the Cederberg
The Cederberg region, 2½ hours drive from Cape Town, has a spectacular mountain landscape, is a treasure house of pre-colonial rock art and has a rich botanical diversity, being part of the Cape Floral Kingdom of South Africa. A major portion is a proclaimed Wilderness Area that recently obtained World Heritage status. The Cederberg region contains a unique combination of attractions, including:
- Over 2000 sites of an impressive variety of San (Bushmen) rock art, produced by pre-colonial hunters and gatherers.
- Amazing red sandstone cliffs and rock formations, sculpted and weathered by nature.
- A fascinating variety of flora, including the endemic Clanwilliam cedar tree Widdringtonia cedarbergensis, an endangered Red Data species.
- Abundant bird life and a wide variety of fauna, including the rare Cape Mountain Leopard.
- Communities of farmers & rooibos tea growers, established by early 19th C. Moravian missionaries from Bohemia, living in picturesque mountain villages.
A four-minute video featuring the Cederberg Wilderness Area, a CapeNature conservation zone which protects some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in South Africa. Situated about three hours north-east of Cape Town, this 71 000-hectare reserve is a true wilderness area, where it’s possible to hike for several days without seeing anyone else.
Double click video for full screen.
“The Cederberg mountains are famous for their fantastic rock formations like the Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch, while in the numerous caves and overhangs you may see some of the finest – and oldest – examples of rock art in Africa. Then there are several thousand species of plants and animals, including rare examples of mountain fynbos like the snow protea, and the beautiful yet endangered Ceder tree.
The diminutive Cape leopard still thrives in these mountains, but don’t expect to see one of these secretive predators anytime soon. More likely you will see black eagles soaring overhead – the Cederberg hosts one of the biggest and healthiest populations of these imperious raptors. The river systems are special too: there exists in these mountains the greatest diversity of endemic fish, south of the Zambezi River. There are at least eight species of fish in the Cederberg’s catchment which are found nowhere else on earth. Yet most of these are under threat of extinction, because of alien fish like small-mouth bass, and invasive, non-indigenous trees which deplete water supplies. Fortunately, CapeNature and their partners are making great strides to rectify the situation.” Scott Ramsay
Why Ceder and not Cedar
Maybe we can give you some clearity on the words “cedar” and “ceder”. In English you get the word “cedar” for the cedar trees and the Cederberg Mountains are named after the cedar trees. And then, on the other side, you get “seder” – the Afrikaans for “cedar”. When they decided to name the Cederberg Mountains, they decided to combine the two different languages’ (English and Afrikaans) spelling of “cedar”.