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Cederberg

Just above Cape Town is the rugged landscape of the Cederberg, a somewhat less known (less touristy) nature reserve with excellent lodges. The Cederberg is well known for its sandstone formations carved by the rain and have assumed bizarre forms. This red orange, dry landscape will surprise you with vast open plains, deep gorges and spectacular waterfalls which reveal themselves to you during the various walks and nature drives that you can take here. It is an area where you will completely unwind.

This is the land of the San and the Khoi, the cedar trees, rooibos tea, Buchu and rock paintings. Cederberg has world heritage status and you will agree after visiting it because it has earned this status. Cedar Mountains are characterized by overhanging rocks and caves where there are good examples in several places of rotschild rings made by the original inhabitants of this area. The best known are the elephant paintings at the City Saal caves at Matjiesrivier (single visit with a permit, available at the reception of Cederberg winery). These paintings range between 300 and 6000 years in age. The vegetation in the Cederberg is essentially mountain Fynbos. But proteas, silky hear shrubs, sand olive trees and the Clanwilliam daisy you can also discover here. And on rocky areas, you can find wild olives and mountain maytenus.

The Waboom grass plains and striking purplish-blue delphinium, rooibos tea and Buchu grow at the lower rocks, while higher Fynbos reed and the red Disa can be seen along Mountain Rivers. The Clanwilliam cedar grows in rocky areas at altitudes of over 1000 meters above sea level. In the wetter ravines, are the red and white alder, yellow wood, hard-peer and Cape beech. The snow protea prefers the higher peaks of the Cederberg. Typically, these proteas are similar to the King Protea but with the difference that the outer leaves of the flower are white instead of red. The animals you might encounter here include baboons, dassies, grey reebok, klipspringers, duiker and grysbok. The porcupine, the honey badger, claw-free Cape otter and the aardvark are here, but are rarely seen. The leopard is the largest predator found in the Cederberg, but the animal is not often spotted because of his shyness.

Smaller mammals include the African wild cat, lynx; fox, Orige bat, aardwolf and the Cape Fox. The small grey mongoose and striped polecat are often seen as well. There will also be several interesting rodents like the spectacled dormouse. Bird lovers can discover more than 100 species of birds. Some examples are: the black eagle, rock kestrel and buzzard jackal. About 16 snake species also come here like the mountain viper, puff adder and the Cape cobra; the latter three are among the most dangerous and most deadly snakes. The armadillo lizard is one of the native reptiles observed here.

The Cederberg also forms an important area for managing the Olifants River. It includes the richest variety of native species south of the Zambezi. These fish are found nowhere else except in the Olifants- and Doorn River. Eight of these species are threatened with extinction. These include, among others, the Clanwilliam yellow fish, three of the red fin whitefish and two of the mountain catlets. Unfortunately it is also the river system that is under threat from human activities and at the hands of alien flora and fauna species that affect the quality of the water.

If you are you planning hefty hike or to take hiking tours then take into account the weather ... Ask in advance the weather forecasts. Winters in the Cederberg can be cold and wet, while the summers are hot and dry. Always make sure you have enough water with you. Autumn is the best time to visit the Cederberg. If you go walking be sure of good footwear, high socks and protection against sun and dehydration. Maps can be purchased through the park board or at the winery.