Western Cape DestinationsCitrusdal, Cederberg
Citrusdal is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and lies nestled between the Koue Bokkeveld and Swartberg Mountains. Flowing through this fertile valley is the lifeblood of the farming community, the Olifants River. Citrusdal is synonymous with its superior citrus fruits and products, although local farmers also grow rooibos tea and vegetables, produce honey and keep cattle and sheep, and the Goue Vallei wines are produced from locally grown grapes.
The Cederberg, famous for its remarkable sandstone and shale rock formations deposited some 500 million years ago, is a vast region stretching from the Pakhuis Pass in the north to Grootrivier in the south. This rugged and mountainous terrain was originally the home of the San and Khoi peoples, who left behind them a legacy of rock art.
The Cederberg conservancy, essentially a voluntary agreement between private landowners to manage the environment in a sustainable way, exists today as a result of the complete exploitation of the Cederberg’s natural resources for over 70 years. Cedar wood, rooibos tea, buchu and rockwood bark were harvested while farmers used the mountains for grazing. Today the conservancy, along with the Biedouw conservancy and the Cederberg Wilderness Area, seeks to protect the natural heritage of the area and are custodians of the Clanwilliam Cedar tree and the rare Cape leopard.
Citrusdal and its surrounding area is very popular with hikers and mountaineers and the incredible grandeur of the Cederberg offers moments of solitude and contemplation as well as some unique and rugged hikes to suit all levels of fitness.
For mountaineering head off to the Wolfberg Arch and Cracks, the Maltese Cross, Tafelberg or Sneeuberg and for those not so fit there is Maalgat pool and the Stadsaal (city hall) caves.
Shorter walks include the Cederberg winery, which has been making wines since the late 1970s and offers some wonderful hikes. The Cederberg Observatory on the farm Dwarsrivier offers not only some amazing hiking opportunities, but is home to an observatory complete with a 16” telescope, a shed with a roll-off roof and unpolluted dark skies with magnificent mountain views.
And if you get a moment, try to visit the oldest orange tree in the country - over 250 years’ old and a national monument - which stands on the Hexrivier farm in the valley of Citrusdal.
For more info about Citrusdal see our articles on the SA Travel News Blog:
• Citrusdal - town of endless citrus orchards