Cederberg Weekend Guide ~ There are a myriad things to do and places to visit in the Cederberg, one of the most popular weekend getaways in the Western Cape.
It’s popular because it’s so close to Cape Town, it’s a hiking mecca, and is known for its iconic sandstone rock formations – like the Wolfberg Arch – citrus farms and hidden villages like Wupperthal, where traditional veldskoene are still handmade.
But most of all the Cederberg is a wilderness area, a fynbos-infused, scenery-rich countryside of craggy mountains, lone cedars, corrugated dirt roads, hiking paths and winding streams.
It is the place of leopards, Cape foxes and honey badgers, wild flowers that emerge but once a year and caves and overhangs filled with San rock art that speaks of a history about which we know so little.
Here is our Cederberg weekend guide ~ places to visit in the Cederberg
Where better to start than a hiking trail to the Cederberg’s most famous sandstone formation. You’ll need to head to Dwarsrivier farm or Sandrif holiday resort (both have trails to the arch) and whilst the path is steep, it is on a good solid path.
Tip: watch out for the heat of the day during summer; leave early.
Of all the places to visit in the Cederberg, this is one for everyone’s list. It is well sign-posted on the road from Clanwilliam through the Cederberg Wilderness, and takes you to nine different rock art sites.
Tip: You can pick up a map or guide booklet from Traveller’s Rest farm, on which you’ll find the route, or buy a copy of Peter Slingsby’s Rock art of the Western Cape, which has a detailed account of the trail.
A brilliant, short trail that is also great for children, you’ll find this one in the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve on the other side of the Cederberg from the Sevilla Rock Art Trail. Truitjieskraal follows the footsteps of ancient hunter gatherers, taking you to 2500 San rock paintings through a World Heritage Site. Information boards along the route give an informative account.
Tip: The route is not far from Stadsaal Cave.
Clanwilliam’s Rooibos tea factory gives you an informative account of the rise of rooibos tea and how what started merely as a cottage industry production has grown to supply almost 50% of the international market. These needle-like red-bush leaves have grown exclusively in South Africa for generations.
Of interest: South Africa had to fight to retain the right to the name ‘rooibos tea’ after a French trademark bid.
Believe it or not, but the Cederberg is not only a rooibos production area. It’s also an intensive citrus farming area, and a high-altitude wine-producing region – right on the edge of the Succulent Karoo biome.
Tierhoek dates back to 1886, its grapes flourishing because of the cold, wet winters and the cooling Atlantic breezes during the incredibly hot summers.
This quaint, thatched, white-walled historical building is a must-visit on Citrusdal’s main road through town.
Between it and the museum is a stretch of lawn that regularly hosts markets, and if you step inside you’ll be able to order yourself a mug of coffee and browse the wonderful crafty shop items, clothing and jewellery produced by the Sandveld’s artistically inclined.
Overnight: Stay in Citrusdal
If you’re in the Cederberg over a weekend, you can visit this little observatory on the farm Dwarsrivier out in the middle of the wilderness area. It hosts ‘shows’ on Saturday nights and is great for children and adults alike.
Tip: not on full-moon weekends.
Just south of the Cederberg, but still north of Ceres, you’ll find the Koue Bokkeveld (cold buck shrubland) right up in the mountains to the east of the Grootwinterhoek Wilderness Area.
Also known as the ‘alternative route to Citrusdal from Ceres’, the Koue Bokkeveld is a series of fruit farms in one of the coldest climates of the Cape, up on a fertile plateau where summers are at once brief and intensely hot.
It’s a beautiful drive along here.
The Biedouw Valley is a secret valley beyond the Cederberg Wilderness, on the other side of the Pakhuis Pass, and one of the best places to see the early spring flowers in the Cape.
It’s beautiful, tranquil and a wonderful space to spend a weekend.
Overnight: Stay in the Biedouw Valley
Louis Leipoldt’s Grave is one of two on the Pakhuis Pass.
The other, the Englishman’s Grave lies just beyond the pass in the valley behind the Pakhuis Mountains, erected in memory by his mother.
Louis Leipoldt’s lies within the Cederberg Wilderness Area and isn’t difficult to find.