The Cederberg is a wonderfully rugged mountain range about 200km north of Cape Town.
The Cederberg Wilderness Area, managed by Cape Nature Conservation, is a wonderfully rugged mountain range about 200km north of Cape Town. Largely unspoiled, this designated wilderness area is characterised by high altitude fynbos and, not surprisingly, considering the name, sizeable cedar trees.
Well, actually, it was characterised by cedar trees, but unfortunately, they were mercilessly chopped down for furniture and construction. There are still a few left in the high places but they are virtually on the brink of extinction.
Nevertheless, the area is known for its gorgeous landscape, lovely streams, pools and waterfalls and for the extensive, well preserved, rock art. The major activities in the area include hiking and flower appreciation. Although far from the classic game watching areas, there is one excellent game lodge in the Cederberg.
More than 100 bird species occur here, with Black Eagle, Rock Kestrel and Jackal Buzzard the most common raptors. The Armadillo Lizard is one of the endemic reptiles occurring in the Cederberg. About 16 snake species are found here, the most common being Berg adder, Puff adder and Black spitting cobra.
The Clanwilliam yellow fish, Clanwilliam red fin minnow and fiery red fin minnow are but some of the threatened fish species endemic to the Olifants River, which may be found in the larger rivers and streams of the wilderness area.
Cape Nature Conservation manages various campsites and accommodation facilities at Algeria and Kliphuis. The adventurous can try their skills at survival camping in the wilderness, without leaving a trace of their presence behind.
Activities such as hiking and rock climbing, are encouraged. Various hiking routes crisscross the wilderness area. These routes provide access to the wilderness, and hikers may explore the area at will. Rock climbing is popular and is permitted throughout the area, provided that rock surfaces do not become damaged.
The cliffs of the Krakadouw and Table Mountain peaks are the most popular climbing sites. There are hundreds of rocky overhangs and caves with fine examples of rock art. These paintings may be anything from 300 to 6 000 years old, and are very sensitive to damage. They are an integral part of the wilderness area's fascination and visitors should discover them for themselves.
Winters in the Cederberg are cold and wet, while summers are warm and dry. The most rain falls between May and September, and it often snows in the higher parts. In the winter, night temperatures drop sharply and heavy frost may occur.
In summer temperatures may reach as high as 40 degrees. Lightning is the most common cause of periodic veld fires. South-easterly winds predominate in the summer and also contribute to the high veld fire risk.