When you start looking for places to stay in the Cederberg, all the options can be overwhelming. The same goes for hiking trails, mountain pools, rock paintings and other attractions. We’ve cut through the clutter to bring you the best of the best.
Your guide to places to stay, hiking trails, mountain pools, rock paintings and other attractions.
The Cederberg has a dual appeal. Obviously the mountains are incredibly scenic, and it’s a pleasure to escape into them on foot, but the place also makes you think. The landscape has an ancient sort of gravitas and that timeless feeling is heightened when you come across a rock painting in a wind-sculpted cave, or when you crumble some rooibos leaves between your fingers. Large parts of the southern Cederberg were ravaged by a fire in 2016, including landmarks like the Wolfberg Cracks, Wolfberg Arch, Tafelberg and Welbedacht (see page 34). But don’t delay your trip – there are still lots of awesome places to visit. If you’re not in a 4x4 or on an adventure bike, there are only a few access roads into the wilderness area: via Op-die-Berg near Ceres if you’re coming from the south and via Clanwilliam or the Nieuwoudt Pass if you’re approaching from the north. We drove the Cederberg from top to tail and compiled this guide to all the best accommodation options, hiking trails and other attractions to help you plan your adventure. Enjoy!
OUR PICK! The moment you leave this Cape Nature rest camp, you’ll start planning a return visit. It’s a classic destination at the foot of a mountain called Middelberg, with a spacious, shaded campsite and views in every direction. There are lots of trees and the Rondegat River brings relief on a hot day. Sometimes grey rhebok graze on the lawns. Baboons also love Algeria. There is a daily baboon patrol, but be vigilant and keep your food supplies locked away. Algeria was first and foremost a forestry station and it was given its intriguing name by a Frenchman called Médéric de Vasselot de Régné, who was in charge of state forests in the Cape colony during the late 1800s. Apparently that part of the Cederberg reminded him of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. Besides the campsite, Algeria also has six modern self-catering cottages that were built in 2015 to maximise the views. The main bedroom in each cottage has a big window with a built-in daybed where you can nap in the afternoon sun. The stoep and braai area share the views. Algeria is a year-round destination: swim and hike in summer; read in front of the fireplace and stare out at Daggavleikop in winter. There are also five older self-catering units further away from the hubbub. If you’re after a quieter weekend away, stay in the UITKYK area , which is about 4 km from the camp. The Prik se Werf, Uitkyk and Waenhuis units offer views of the valley; Sas se Werf and Peerboom are next to the Rondegat River. Rates: Camping from R180 per night for two people, plus R40 per extra person (max six people per stand). Self-catering accommodation in the new units from R990 per night for two people, plus R200 per extra person (max six people; two rooms and a sleeper couch). Older self-catering cottages from R580 per night for two people, plus R180 per extra person. Waenhuis sleeps four people, Uitkyk sleeps eight people, the other units sleep six people each. Day visitors R60 per adult; R35 per child under 12. Cape Nature is offering a 40 % discount on all accommodation until 31 August. Rates will go up in September.
3 MIDDELBERG WATERFALL TRAIL
This moderately steep trail leads from Algeria up to the Middelberg Waterfall. You can walk to the trailhead from the campsite; day visitors can park just below the Algeria reception office. Follow the paved road through the campsite until you get to stand 23, where the trail starts. You’ll soon cross a little wooden bridge on your right, which is followed by a rocky gravel road up a gentle incline. The path zigzags through fields of fynbos and proteas, but there’s not much shade. The Cederberg can get very hot so set off early if you’re hiking in summer. After about 1,5 km you’ll get to a junction. Carry on straight. By now you’ll start to feel your legs as the incline gets steeper and the path gets rockier. When you’re almost at the top, you’ll come to another fork. This time, turn left. (Both junctions are signposted.) You’ll know you’re nearly at the waterfall when you reach a couple of big boulders. Take a deep breath and scramble up and over – your reward is waiting on the other side. Even though the Western Cape was in the grips of a severe drought, the waterfall was flowing strongly when we visited. You’re not allowed to swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, but you can picnic on the flat rock ledges surrounding it. Fill up your water bottle from the clear, cold stream. Follow the same route to get back down. The hike takes about three hours in total. Rates: Permit R60 per adult; R35 per child at the Cape Nature office.
OUR 4 DRIEHOEK PICK! GUEST FARM
Driehoek is a kids’ paradise. There are lots of fun things to do, like feeding the resident goats, rabbits and chickens, and floating down the Driehoek River on inner tubes. If the main river pool is too crowded during peak season, there’s a quieter pool about five minutes’ walk upstream. There are also some horses and a pony for fun rides (R35 per ride – make arrangements at the office). The campsite is comparatively small, with only 25 stands. Stand #15 is more private, tucked away in the bush with nice views. The ablution facilities are neat and clean. In the evening, a friendly staff member will come around with fresh loaves of bread; in summer you can buy ice cream. Driehoek also has two self-catering chalets: Kothuis sleeps six and Groothuis sleeps 12 (bring your own bedding). The six basic cabins in the campsite are also an affordable option – some have private bathrooms, others share the campsite ablution facilities. Rates: Camping from R320 per night for four people, plus R90 per extra person (max six people per stand). Self-catering chalets from R800 for two people, to R2 200 for 12 people. Cabins from R470 for two people with shared ablutions; from R610 with a private bathroom.
5 HIKE TO THE SNEEUBERG HUT
Several hiking trails begin at Driehoek – the nearest rock paintings are only a 20-minute walk away. The trail to the Sneeuberg Hut and back should take about 2½ hours to complete. Another scenic option is the trail to Welbedacht Cave – about 1½ hours in total. See the website for a topographical map of the trails (address below).
6 SANDDRIF HOLIDAY RESORT, DWARSRIVIER
This popular place is often booked up over long weekends and school holidays. If you want to visit at a peak time, call long in advance. There are 16 self-catering chalets (some sleep four; some sleep up to eight) and a great campsite on the banks of the Dwars River. Kids can ride their bikes, play cricket on the lawns and look for crabs in the stream. If the main campsite sounds too busy, book one of the 10 stands in the quieter KLIPHUIS CAMPSITE 7 about a 10-minute drive from the main campsite. There’s a river pool to swim in and there’s peace and quiet in abundance. Another reason why Sanddrif is so popular is because of its location – it’s the closest place to stay if you want to do one of the most scenic hikes in the Cederberg: the trail through the Wolfberg Cracks to the Wolfberg Arch. That trail might be closed at the moment due to the 2016 fire, but all the cycling routes in the vicinity are open and you can do some rock climbing at the Sanddrif Crag. Get directions and permits at the reception office. Or make plans to visit when the Wolfberg trail reopens. The farm shop sells essentials, cooldrinks and snacks. You can also order fresh bread over Easter weekend or during the December holidays. There’s no cellphone reception, but there is Wi-Fi available at the Dwarsrivier office. Make sure the doors and windows of your chalet or tent are closed when you go for a drive or a hike – the baboons won’t hesitate to steal your food supplies. Rates: Camping R280 per night for four people, plus R70 per extra person (max eight people per stand). Each stand has its own braai (bring your own grid) and communal power points. There are two ablution blocks at the main campsite and one at Kliphuis. Self-catering R1 200 per night for four people, plus R300 per extra adult and R200 per extra child aged 2 – 10.
8 MALTESE CROSS TRAIL
Get an early start to escape the heat – and the other hiking groups! The hike takes about four hours in total (it’s about 13 km long) and there are level sections between the slopes where you can catch your breath. It’s tradition to have a picnic at the base of the Maltese Cross rock formation before you head back. If you’re fit and experienced, push on to Sneeuberg Peak.
9 LOT’S WIFE TRAIL
You don’t need a permit to do this walk and it’s a nice alternative to the Maltese Cross Trail if the latter seems too taxing. Lot’s Wife is an easy stroll of about an hour and a half to the majestic Window Rocks. In addition to Lot’s Wife herself at the start of the trail – a small rock formation that looks like a stone woman – you’ll see lots of other unusual rock formations along the way. (See if you can spot the seahorse and the eagle in flight…)
10 CEDERBERG PRIVATE CELLAR, DWARSRIVIER
The tasting room is next to the farm shop and the reception office on Dwarsrivier farm. Dwarsrivier is the highest wine farm above sea level in the Western Cape and experienced wine tasters will recognise how the unique terroir has influenced their range of delicious wines. David Nieuwoudt is a third-generation wine farmer and he and his team have won an impressive list of awards. If you’re lucky, David might be around to host the tasting himself. Along with the shiraz, sauvignon blanc and bukettraube made from locally harvested grapes, Cederberg also has a range called Ghost Corner (made with grapes from the Cape Agulhas area) and a range called Longaví, which is made in Chile! There’s even something for beer lovers: The Cederberg Brewery is next door to the wine tasting room. You can’t do a tasting on the beer side, but you can buy something to sip back in the campsite, like Boggom & Voertsek or Cederberg Original Lager. How much? Wine tasting R40 per person. Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 9 am to noon and from 2 pm to 4.30 pm; public holidays from 9 am to 11.30 am and from 4 pm to 5.30 pm; closed on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
11 KROMRIVIER CEDERBERG PARK
This farm has been in the Nieuwoudt family for seven generations and is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the area. Make sure to bring your mountain bike and your hiking boots. Camp on the banks of the Krom River – each stand has a power point and a private bathroom – or stay in a basic or a luxury self-catering chalet (some sleep four; some sleep up to six). Each chalet has a braai and a basic kitchen with an oven, a two-plate stove and a fridge. There is a new reception area and a restaurant – pop in for a milkshake or a light meal like a toasted sandwich. (Book in advance if you want dinner.) They also make fresh farm bread to order. Each chalet has a fireplace – buy wood at the reception office – and the shop sells basics like milk, jam, honey and butter, plus a craft beer range called Nieuw Brew, which is brewed on the farm. Rates: Camping from R250 per night for two people, plus R125 per extra person (max eight people per stand). Older self-catering chalets from R660 per night for two people – or R900 for three to four people – plus R100 per extra person (max six people per chalet). New units from R1 800 per night for two people.
12 DISA POOL HIKING TRAIL
This fun hike is doable with kids and your reward is a dip in a pool at the end. Bonus: you can see the red Disa uniflora in bloom from December to February. This hike starts 4 km from the Kromrivier Cederberg Park reception area (you can walk from your chalet) and follows the course of the Krom River – first over soft sand and later over stones. There’s a waterfall at Disa Pool itself, which is clear and wide. Lay out your picnic blanket and rest for a while.
13 STADSAAL CAVES
The Stadsaal Caves are an assortment of rocky caverns warped by wind and rain over millennia. Find a quiet spot and take it all in. Lean against a rough rock wall and smell the dust. Bushmen painted scenes on rocks in the vicinity as long as a thousand years ago (check out the famous Elephant Rock Painting next to the jeep track on the way in), but the landscape is much older than that. You can feel it. The big cave – the stadsaal, which means town hall – is a short walk from the car park. The cave once provided shelter for groups of nomadic Bushmen, but in more recent years it’s been used as a meeting place for farmers in the area and even as a political rallying point. The names of some apartheid-era ministers are clearly visible on the wall inside. It’s worth spending a couple of hours exploring this magical site. Squeeze through the tunnels, climb to the top of the boulders… It’s like a giant, all-natural play park.
In the old days, cattle farmers would move their animals between grazing sites and they’d pass this spot along the way. Apparently “truitjie” is derived from Gertruida, the name of one of the cattle farmers’ wives or girlfriends. The rocks at Truitjieskraal are even more otherworldly than those at the Stadsaal Caves. They stand in columns, almost like the ancient ruins of a city. There are a few different parking areas and an easy 1,4 km hiking trail with information boards to tell you more about the biodiversity and geology of the area. It’s a rock-climber’s dream and there are a number of world-famous routes, but it’s also a great place to simply walk around. You might even spot an eland.
15 NUWERUST GUEST FARM
Nuwerust is a jovial spot – there’s a playground for the kids, a quiet gravel road where they can ride their bikes, a koppie to climb and a stretch of river to explore. It’s a farm stay, rather than camping deep in the mountains. The campsite is separated into two sections: the first is near the entrance with green grass and mountain views, but has only a few young trees. Except for the popular Grootklip stand, which is shaded by two oak trees. The second section is sandy with oak trees for shade, but the trees obscure the view in places. Stand #32 is nice and private and it has a view; #23 also has a good view. There’s a lawn between stand #19 and the ablution block – a good spot to base yourself if you’re a group of friends with young children. All the stands have power. Three of the self-catering cottages – Lemoenkloof, Kommaweer and Vergenoeg – are fairly private; Oom Willem se Huis and Rietdak are close together. The shop sells the basics and on weekends you can watch sport on the TV in the lapa. Rates: Camping from R300 per night for four people, plus R50 per extra person (max five per stand). Self-catering from R600 for four people, plus R150 per extra person (some units sleep four; some sleep up to eight). Bedding R50 per person extra. One-off conservation fee R25 per vehicle.
16 WATERFALL ROUTE
This 6 km trail is an old favourite at Nuwerust, but don’t expect Vic Falls. There’s usually only a thin stream of water after good rain. Still, it’s a scenic hike in the Kokersrivierkloof. The trail criss- crosses the dry riverbed and there are aloes all around. Sunbirds chatter and there’s some shade at the waterfall where you can rest.
17 MOUNT CEDER
Whether you arrive via the Grootrivier Pass from the north or over the Blinkberg Pass from the south, Mount Ceder is a welcome oasis at the bottom of the Grootrivier Valley (with olive trees instead of palms). The lunch menu at the Old Millhouse restaurant is good (sandwiches, lasagne, quiche…) and the beer on tap is cold. Horses graze just outside. Book beforehand if you want dinner (R200 per person for a three-course meal) or breakfast (R95 per person). Remember, they’re far from the shops and you’re paying for the convenience of a delicious, hot meal. There are olive products in the reception area – a two-litre bottle of olive oil costs R200. The self-catering units at Mount Ceder are on the more luxurious side, but they’re private with lovely views. Some even have Jacuzzis. The campsite also has private stands, which is rare in the Cederberg. The three stands are set far apart from each other; each has its own bathroom, an awning and a view of the Groot River. See if you can spot an otter. Rates: Camping from R350 per night for four people, plus R75 per extra person (max six per stand). Self-catering from R850 per night for two people in one of the standard units, to R4 420 for six people in a house with a Jacuzzi and heated towel rails. Contact: 023 317 0848; mountceder.co.za
18 ALPHA EXCELSIOR
Owners Lizzie and Connie du Toit, and their dogs and chickens, will make you feel at home the moment you arrive. The Du Toits bought the farm in 2003 and worked with their daughter Becky and her husband James to turn it into a comfortable place to stay. It’s popular with rock climbers and anyone else who likes to go free-range. There are two camping stands with a shared ablution block and a communal lapa with a kitchen. There are also two farmhouses that each sleeps nine, and two cottages that sleep three or four people. Even better, however, are their seven retro caravans. Each has a kitchenette inside (with a fridge) and a table and chairs outside where you can sip your morning coffee and look at the mountains. Each caravan has a double bed and the seating area can be converted into beds for small kids. The farm has several hiking trails and a big dam to swim in when the summer heat gets too much. Rates: Camping R100 per person. Caravan R350 per night for two people. Farmhouse accommodation R800 – R1 800 per night depending on the number of people. Cottage accommodation from R700 per night.
19 THE HEN HOUSE
This cosy coffee shop at Alpha Excelsior offers breakfast, cake and Wi-Fi during the rockclimbing season from mid-May to early October. And Sunday night is pizza night! (Pizzas R80 – R130; book beforehand). They also produce three red wines – a pinotage, a shiraz and a cabernet sauvignon (about R70 per bottle) – and they have an olive grove. Buy a bottle of olive oil (R70) or a jar of preserved olives (R30).
20 DONKEY CART RIDES
A fun way to explore the Agter-Pakhuis area is to take a tour on a donkey cart with a driver from the Heuningvlei missionary community. The main route to tiny Heuningvlei is via a bumpy gravel road from Wupperthal, but the donkey route follows a jeep track from the top of the Pakhuis Pass that dates back to the time of Thomas Bain. The road winds through a beautiful landscape where few people set foot. You might hear rock climbers up on the cliffs; the rest of the time the silence is only broken by driver Dawid Swartz as he spurs on Bedford, Gaddafi, De Wet, Senter, Procter and Stanford. But a donkey is a stubborn animal – the abrupt stops and sporadic accelerations are all part of the fun. You don’t go all the way to Heuningvlei on the cart, but take note of this place for your next visit. The village has a backpacker lodge where you can relax far from everyone and everything. Self-catering accommodation costs R140 per person and you can book meals beforehand (from R70). Rates: Donkey outing R170 per person for about two hours. Contact: 027 492 3070 (Daleen or Hennie van der Westhuizen)
21 TRAVELLER’S REST
Traveller’s Rest on the Brandewyn River is an institution in the Agter-Pakhuis area. It’s the place where the greatgrandfather of current owner Jas Strauss – Pieter le Fras Nortier – figured out how to grow rooibos tea. Ask Jas’s mother Haffie – she’ll tell you how he discovered the secret to its temperamental seed. The self-catering accommodation is mostly in renovated worker’s cottages. The four most popular units are in a quiet kloof away from the road and set far apart, each with a private stoep and braai area. The units range in size in terms of the number of bedrooms and shared or en suite bathrooms. Each has eclectic decor and a fully equipped kitchen, plus a living room with a big fireplace. Rates: R550 – R1 200 per night depending on the number of people.
22 TRAVELLER’S REST FARM STALL
OUR PICK! The farm stall and restaurant at Traveller’s Rest is a popular pit stop. Owner Jas Strauss’s sister, Charité van Rijswijk and her husband Edu are in charge. The farm stall bursts at the seams with gifts and home-made goodies. At lunch time, staff members bustle between the kitchen and the stoep. The menu has delicious dishes like eland burger with blue cheese (R90), pancakes (R15) and Amarula cake (R20). It’s the kind of place where you want to hang out and make friends. ( They also have Wi-Fi and a big river pool to swim in.) Opening times: The farm stall is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm. You can book dinner beforehand if you’re a group of 10 or more.
23 SEVILLA ROCK ART TRAIL
The nine sites on the Sevilla rock art trail are all found along a 1,5 km stretch and they’re all within walking distance of the Traveller’s Rest farm stall. Let your mind wander to a time when Bushmen sought shelter under the rocky cliffs, looked for game in the veld and drank from the river nearby. You’ll see paintings of shamans, quaggas and delicate stick figures. Men carrying bows and arrows run to the hunting grounds while women dance in a line with their hands in the air. See if you can spot the little foal (pictured on the right) – it’s all nose and knees! How much? R40 per adult, R20 per child. Pay at the Traveller’s Rest farm stall.
24 SALMANSLAAGTE ROCK ART TRAIL
The Salmanslaagte kloof feels like sacred ground. It feels different, more mysterious than Sevilla. The kloof doesn’t have a clear footpath – you have to clamber over rocks while you scan the walls for art. Just when you think you must have missed it, you’ll see the enormous painting of three women. Its sheer size is probably the reason you missed it in the first place. There are more paintings to the left, about a dozen of them. What’s that yellow shape behind the women? Take a step back and you’ll realise that it’s an elephant. No, three elephants – each about a metre wide. Crouch down and look around: There are more figures, some dancing, some with crescent shapes over their heads. What does it all mean? And the paintings that look like ships? Are they really ships or are the experts correct when they say it’s a depiction of a trance? This is how Salmanslaagte charms you. And you’ve only seen one of the three panels in the kloof so far… How much? R40 per adult, R20 per child. Pay at the Traveller’s Rest farm stall. You need a guide so make prior arrangements.
Reverend Johann Gottlieb Leipoldt, grandfather of C Louis Leipoldt, along with his colleague Theobald von Wurmb, bought the farm Rietmond in 1830 to establish a Rhenish mission station. The station was named after a river in Elberfeld, Germany, where the head office of their missionary society was based. For indigenous people who had just been released as slaves, the mission station offered a source of income – even though they had to adhere to strict rules and adopt a foreign religion. When German shoemaker Christian Häfele arrived four years later, he started a small shoe factory. The community grew, more people were trained and the station prospered until the Rhenish Missionary Society withdrew from South Africa in 1965. Wupperthal was then incorporated into the Moravian Missionary Society and the community has since survived on subsistence farming, the local rooibos soap factory, community projects, tourism and the velskoen factory – now much smaller since the original factory was moved to Clanwilliam in the 1950s under the Strassberger brand.
WORTH IT! The Maltese Cross in the southern Cederberg towers over the landscape. It’s a steep climb to the base of this rock formation, but the view from there is wonderful and it’s the perfect spot for a picnic.
MIDDELBERG WATERFALL TRAIL
DRIEHOEK GUEST FARM
LOT’S WIFE TRAIL
DISA POOL HIKING TRAIL
NEAR THE ELEPHANT ROCK PAINTING
THE HEN HOUSE
ALPHA EXCELSIOR WINE
TRAVELLER’S REST FARM STALL
SEVILLA ROCK ART TRAIL
SALMANSLAAGTE ROCK ART TRAIL
CHURCH AT WUPPERTHAL
RED CEDAR SOAP