The Cederberg Region, Western Cape

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.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Cederberg accommodation, explore the destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you visit the 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.

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.

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.

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Destinations in the Cederberg Region

Biedouw Valley

Overnight? Biedouw Valley accommodation
The beautiful, fertile Biedouw Valley lies hemmed in by the Biedouw Mountains to the north, and to the south by the Tra-Tra Mountains, just 32 kilometres from Clanwilliam in the Cederberg. The essence of the Biedouw Valley is captured just after the r...

Citrusdal

Overnight? Citrusdal accommodation
Home to a variety of beautiful guest farms and budget-friendly accommodation, Citrusdal is just two hours from Cape Town at the gateway to the Cederberg. Citrusdal is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and lies nestled between the Koue Bokkeveld and Swart...

Clanwilliam

Overnight? Clanwilliam accommodation
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 for its locally ma...

Graafwater

Halfway between Clanwilliam and Lamberts Bay, and 300 km from Cape Town, lies the little town of Graafwater. It lies in the northerly reaches of the Sandveld – a huge, sparsely populated area sandwiched between the West Coast and the Swartland, and adj...

Porterville

Overnight? Porterville accommodation
Porterville is a quaint town nestled on the slopes of the Olifant's River Mountains. Situated 140 kilometres from Cape Town, Porterville is a friendly, welcoming town which is well known amongst locals as the paragliding and hang gliding capital of the We...

Wuppertal

Overnight? Wuppertal accommodation
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’s mind back...

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