The Cederberg is the place of rooibos and buchu tea, blue and cloudless skies, intensely hot summers, little towns and fertile valleys that summon holiday makers all year round.
For Capetonians, it is a playground and long weekend hiking paradise, whilst hikers, rock-climbers, cyclists and nature lovers treat it as a refuge.
Dominated by burnt orange mountains and jagged sandstone rock formations, like the Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross, and ancient !Xam rock art, it is a 70 000 hectare mountainous wilderness ripe for outdoor adventure. It gets its name from the Clanwilliam Cedar, an endemic and protected tree in this undeveloped, and largely isolated part of the Western Cape.
Choosing a list of things to do from the myriad attractions of the area is a task, but we rose to the occasion and selected a line-up for 4 day trips to the Cederberg, jam-packed with things to do…
Tip: Just off the N7 between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam, find the ‘Kom Proe’ Farm Stall (it isn’t actually called that, but look out for the brightly painted walls and constant hum of activity), where you can stock up on the juiciest citrus fruit in season.
DAY TRIP ONE :
No journey to the Cederberg is complete without a glimpse of the incredible rock art of the area. This self-guided tour includes nine different rock art sites, starting on Traveller’s Rest Farm, 36 km outside of Clanwilliam. It is 4 km, takes roughly 3 hours, and you can pick up a guide booklet at the farm or from the tourist information office in Clanwilliam.
The Khoisan Kitchen is on the banks of the Brandewyn River, and is described as ‘well run and unpretentious’. Also on Traveller’s Rest Farm it is open by arrangement so book ahead. The restaurant specialises in traditional, wholesome, West coast-influenced fare like stews and bredies made from waterblommetjies, mutton and lamb.
To end your day drop into Velskoendraai, at the entrance to one of the citrus farms in the area. They’re famous for their freshly baked farm bread and stock a range of products such as rooibos, rusks, jams, preserves, fruit and oranges (in season).
Find accommodation on guest farms in the Cederberg
DAY TRIP TWO:
The Wolfberg Arch is one of the most spectacular rock formations in the Cederberg. The hike is challenging and takes about 7 hours to complete, if you are fit, otherwise you could do it as an overnight hike. It starts and ends on Sandrif Farm, or Dwarsrivier Farm, along a good, but steep path. Try to avoid the heat of the day. The hike follows one of two routes to the base of the rocky cliffs of the Wolfberg crack, after which it continues to the arch.
After a day’s hike you want little other than a good restaurant at which to eat, followed by a good night’s sleep. Potbelly is on Voortrekker Street in Citrusdal, a bit of a drive, but if your accommodation is in Citrusdal, not out of your way. It’s a village pub atmosphere and you can expect great steak, burgers and pub grub.
DAY TRIP THREE (make it a Saturday):
This 26 km trail is suitable for all riders, but holds enough challenge for the more experienced rider. It heads along the Ceres Mountain pass and onto a single track via fynbos, up steep hills, and through the Boschkloof homestead, crossing a river before heading back on tar.
A local community goods market runs out of the Sandveldhuisie Museum in Citrusdal, find organic vegetables, home-bakes, preserves, fresh proteas, sausages, cheese, real lemonade, ginger beer and homemade yoghurt. The Sandveldhuisie is a country shop and deli, a charming space in which to enjoy tea, light lunches, and home-baked treats.
Find the observatory on the Dwarsrivier farm (19 deg 15′ E 32 deg 30′ S). It boasts a 16 inch Meade Newtonian telescope housed in a dome, a 300 mm Meade Schmidt Cassegrain in a slide-off roof observatory, and a 12 inch Cassegrain. Best visited at night, over weekends (except at full moon) but phone ahead.
DAY TRIP FOUR:
This hike starts and ends at the Kliphuis campsite, and follows one of the routes on the new Peter Slingsby Hike the Cederberg map (northern section). The circular walk heads into the rugged, slate grey and gnarled Pakhuisberge. In the final stretch of the hike is a plunge pool quite close to the path (depending on rainfall); a good place to cool off.
The Rooibos factory in Clanwilliam may have started as a cottage industry, but it has grown to supply rooibos tea globally. The Aspalathus linearis plant produces needle-like leaves that, when harvested, bruised and fermented, make not only a tasty tea, but one very high in antioxidant properties, recommended for all sorts of ailments. Visit to find out more.
This wine route runs from Citrusdal along the Olifants River all the way to the town of Lutzville, with some of the country’s most westerly vineyards. Not only is the route beautiful to drive, but there are 11 estates, many of which offer tasting and restaurants (not all). Phone ahead to avoid disappointment, as some estates close on Sundays.