The Cederberg, named after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar - a tree endemic to the area - is virtually synonymous with a series of impressive rock formations

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Cederberg

The beautiful Cederberg, a wilderness area dominated by a craggy mountain range and a nature reserve that stretches from the Middelberg Pass at Citrusdal to just north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam - over 70 000 hectares of spectacular, rugged terrain - lies roughly two to three hours’ drive, depending on how leisurely the pace, from Cape Town.

Where? Cederberg, Olifants River Valley, Western Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Cederberg accommodation, in Western Cape

The Cederberg, named after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar - a tree endemic to the area - is virtually synonymous with a series of impressive rock formations that emerged as a result of a combination of factors, including the chemical composition of rocks in the area, climatic conditions and the general flat-lying nature of the geology in the Cederberg.

This largely isolated and undeveloped part of the world is renowned for its hot, dry summers with typically cloudless skies, winter rains and incredible natural beauty. A period of severe exploitation of the environment, during which large amounts of cedar wood, rooibos tea, buchu and rockwood bark were unsustainably harvested, came to a halt in 1973 after the cedar was brought to the edge of extinction by constant felling to meet the growing demand for construction wood.

A conservation project now actively supports the Clanwilliam Cedar Tree - run by the Botanical Society, Western Cape Nature Conservation and individual reserves in the area in an effort to save this light, honey-coloured and highly aromatic wood from the endangered list.

The Cederberg is without doubt one of the most beautiful and finest areas in which to hike. Wolfberg Arch and Cracks (the arch is a long way from the cracks, but worth the effort), Maltese Cross, Tafelberg, Sneeuberg, Sneeukop and Krakadouw peak make for real mountaineering attractions, whilst the not-as-fit still gain a lot of pleasure from Maalgat pool and Stadsaal Caves.

There are fine examples of San rock art in caves and overhangs throughout the area. Farming villages in the area make for leisurely days of exploration, particularly the Moravian mission station at Wupperthal.

Cederberg is now the generally accepted spelling for the area, which combines the English (Cedarberg) and Afrikaans (Sederberg) variants.

Popular Towns in the Cederberg

Biedouw Valley

Stay? Accommodation in Biedouw Valley
The essence of the Biedouw Valley is captured just after the rains, when it becomes endowed with an array of spring flowers that capture the imagination of many a visitor here. Local farmers restrict their herds from grazing in the valley...

More info and photographs: Biedouw Valley Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Citrusdal
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...

More info and photographs: Citrusdal Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Clanwilliam
Resting at the foot of the Cederberg Mountain range, a little over two hours’ drive from Cape Town, lies the little hamlet of Clanwilliam. Regarded as the only town in the world where rooibos is planted and cultivated, it is also famous...

More info and photographs: Clanwilliam Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Graafwater
Other than Leipoldtville, and Klawer further north, Graafwater is the only village for miles around – this is typical of the region where towns are spread far and wide, each surrounded by huge expanses of veld filled with spectacular fynbos...

More info and photographs: Graafwater Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Wuppertal
Wuppertal is something close to a breath of fresh air in the craggy wilderness of the Cederberg. In a sense the little whitewashed, thatched cottages of the Moravian mission station appear to have been lost in time. One can easily cast one...

More info and photographs: Wuppertal Information

Did you know?

The Cederberg is beautiful and easily accessible from the Mother City, yet allows a complete escape into wilderness, up mountains and passes and through little towns that allow one to play at country living for a few days.

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