Cederberg Wilderness Area

Wild, rugged, captivating

The Cederberg Wilderness is only three hours outside Cape Town, but it feels like a different world. The Cederberg Mountains, burnt orange by iron oxide, dominate the landscape. Jagged sandstone rock formations, like the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch, and ancient San and Khoi rock art, make this area truly spectacular.

The Cederberg lies 200km north of Cape Town, stretching from the Middelberg Pass in Citrusdal to north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam. The wilderness area encompasses about 71 000 hectares of rugged, mountainous terrain, making it a top spot in the Western Cape for hiking and rock-climbing enthusiasts.

The Cederberg, which forms part of the Cape floral region, is a World Heritage Site, is covered in mountain fynbos, including the laurel protea, the red disa, rooibos, and the rare and endemic snow protea. Rare Clanwilliam cedars, the area’s namesake, dot the higher mountain cliffs.

The area is also rich in wildlife. Visitors with a keen eye may spot porcupines, honey badger, the Cape clawless otter and aardvark. The lucky few may even catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard. There are also smaller predators like the African wild cat, lynx, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and Cape fox. Other, more common animals include baboons, dassies, grey rhebok, klipspringers, duiker and grysbok.

To find out more, download the Cederberg Wilderness brochure.

Download: Cederberg species checklist.xls

Accommodation

Self-catering

  • Algeria - Cottages

    Six new cottages with electrical supply were added to our existing accommodation at Algeria in late 2015. The six cottages are called Waterfall, Wolfberg Arch, Maltese Cross, Cedar, Klipspringer and Grey Rhebok . These cottages are modern two-bedroom cottages with a double bed in the main bedroom, two single beds in the other room and a sleeper couch in the living area. These cottages can accommodate four adults and preferably two children under the age of 12. Each cottage has one bathroom with a shower and toilet together, a big stoep with beautiful views over the mountain with undercover braai facilities and inside fire places. The kitchens and living areas are modernly furnished with colourful pictures added to enhance the natural environment in which they are situated. Click here to see a basic layout of the cottages, in order to choose which cottage you would like to book. Electricity: Yes Bathrooms: Yes, with a shower and toilet Kitchen: Oven and stove with four plates, fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Closed combustion indoor fireplace and outside braai (with braai grid and tripod supplied Pets welcome: No  
  • Kliphuis - Cottages

    Kliphuis, situated on the flower route to the Biedouw valley and Wupperthal, offers three newly refurbished chalets. Set against the backdrop of the famous Rocklands bouldering site, it is the perfect spot for climbing enthusiasts. Rhino Boulder, Cedar Rouge and Leopard Cave are fully equipped, newly refurbished chalets. Each chalet has three bedrooms, sleeping between six and eight people. One room has a double bed, the other two rooms each have a double bunk and there is one double sleeper couch in the lounge area.   Electricity: Solar-powered lighting Bathroom: Hot-water bath and shower (gas geyser), flush toilet Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided and firewood is for sale Pets welcome: No
  • Uitkyk

    Uitkyk, the largest cottage, has majestic mountain views. It accommodates eight people in three separate rooms. The cottage has an indoor fireplace and outdoor braai facilities. Lights are solar powered, but there are no electrical plug points available. It is about 5km from the Algeria office. Electricity: Solar-powered lighting and a paraffin lamp – guests should bring extra candles Bathroom: Hot-water bath and shower, flush toilet (2 bathrooms) Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No  
  • Garskraal

    Garskraal is a large, fully equipped three-bedroomed cottage that can sleep six guests. One bedroom is equipped with a double bed. Electricity: Yes Bathroom: Hot-water bath and shower, flush toilet (2 bathrooms) Kitchen: Stove, fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No
  • Waenhuis

    This cottage offers magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. It accommodates four people, with one bedroom and two sleeping bunks in the living area. Waenhuis is about 5km from the Algeria office. Electricity: Solar-powered lighting and a paraffin lamp – guests should bring extra candles Bathroom: Hot-water shower (gas geyser), flush toilet Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No
  • Rietdak

    Rietdak is a charming stone cottage situated at Algeria. It has a fully equipped kitchen with electricity. Rietdak has two bedrooms for up to four guests. Electricity: Yes Bathroom: Hot-water bath and shower, flush toilet Kitchen: Stove, fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No
  • Prik se Werf

    Prik se Werf offers stunning views of the Bosherberge. This two-bedroomed cottage accommodates four people. It is located about 5km from the Algeria office, near Uikyk Pass. Electricity: Solar-powered lighting and a paraffin lamp – guests should bring extra candles Bathroom: Hot-water shower (gas geyser), flush toilet Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No
  • Sas se Werf

    Surrounded by mountains on the banks of the Rondegat River, Sas se Werf offers guests peace and tranquillity. It has two bedrooms, accommodating up to four guests. The cottage is located about 5km from the Algeria office at the Bosherberge, near Uikyk Pass. Electricity: Solar-powered lighting and a paraffin lamp – guests should bring extra candles Bathroom: Hot-water shower (gas geyser), flush toilet Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No
  • Peerboom

    Peerboom is a charming cottage right on the banks of the Rondegat River. It has two bedrooms, accommodating up to four guests. The cottage is located about 5km from the Algeria office at the Bosherberge, near Uikyk Pass. Electricity: Solar-powered lighting and a paraffin lamp – guests should bring extra candles Bathroom: Hot-water shower (gas geyser), flush toilet Kitchen: Gas stove and gas fridge, cutlery and crockery Bedding, linen and towels: Yes Fireplace: Yes, a braai grid is provided Pets welcome: No

Camping

  • Kliphuis - Camping

    Kliphuis, situated on the flower route to the Biedouw valley and Wupperthal, offers an upgraded campsite. Set against the backdrop of the famous Rocklands bouldering site, it is the perfect spot for climbing enthusiasts. The shady campsite lies in the northern section of the Cederberg reserve, in the Pakhuis Pass. The 14 sites lie on the Kliphuis River – an invitingly cool swimming spot in summer. Sites available: 14 (maximum 6 people and 2 cars per campsite) Shaded sites: Yes Power points: No Ablution facilities: Hot-water showers (gas), no toilet paper provided Swimming: Swimming hole in the river Shop on-site: No Firewood for sale: Yes Braai facilities: Yes Pets welcome: No Please note:
    • No music, radios or television allowed.
    • Please respect the people and nature around you – rowdy behaviour is not tolerated.
     
  • Algeria

    Algeria is a peaceful, grassy area on the Rondegat River. It has 13 self-catering cottages and 48 campsites for tents and caravans. Algeria offers a welcome shady break from the sun, with crystal clear pools to cool off in during the Cederberg’s hot, dry summers. Click here to see a basic layout of the campsites, in order to check which site you have booked, ahead of time. Camping Sites available: 48 (6 people and 2 cars per campsite) Shaded sites: Yes Power points: All sites Ablution facilities: Hot-water bath (women's ablution only) and showers, no toilet paper provided Swimming: Swimming hole in the river Firewood for sale: Yes Braai facilities: Yes Pets welcome: No Please note:
    • No music, radios or television allowed.
    • Please respect the people and nature around you – rowdy behaviour is not tolerated.

Activities

  • Rock Art

    Step back in time and visit some of the Cederberg’s remarkable examples of San and Khoi rock art. These paintings, found in rocky overhangs and caves, vary between 300 and 6 000 years old. They are an integral part of the wilderness area’s value. More than 2 500 sites have been found, and many of them are easily accessible. The two most popular sites are located on Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Cederberg Wilderness Area. Please click here to find out more about accessing these areas. Truitjieskraal-launch-2
  • Hiking and Walking

    Walking/hiking The Cederberg has a range of hiking trails that vary in intensity, including routes to fascinating rock formations, like the Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch, or refreshing  waterfalls. Hiking trails This Cederberg wilderness is divided into utilisation zones, which helps limit the impact of visitors. There are three blocks of about 24 000 hectares each and numbers are limited to 50 people per block per day. Groups are limited to a minimum of three and a maximum of 12  people per day. Please book well in advance to avoid disappointment. The wilderness area is for the more independent hiker. A 1:50 000 topographical map from the Algeria office is indispensable in planning your hike. Always check the weather forecast before departing. Fires are forbidden, so take a gas stove. Trails may be closed at certain times of the year depending on the weather conditions. Consider the services of one of our reserve guides, who have a wealth of information on the  reserve, the region and its people. Huts Huts are shelters only – they have no beds. Accommodation and campsites are available at Algeria and Kliphuis. Help us protect nature No pets/no firearms/no fires/no picking of flowers or collecting of seeds/no rubbish bins – all  refuse must be carried out of the wilderness area/no toilets – all waste and toilet paper must  be buried with a spade or trowel. Permits Various day hikes are available. Permits may be purchased at the reserve office or bookings can be made through CapeNature Central Reservations. Day hiking permits for the Wolfberg Arch are available from Sanddrif, Driehok and Keurbosfontein. Day permits to visit the Stadsaal Caves are available at Algeria, Driehok, Sanddrif, Kromrivier, Nuwerus and Oasis. Permits for Pakhuisberg and rock climbing are available at the information centre in Clanwilliam. Overnight hiking permits can be purchased through CapeNature Central Reservations or the Algeria reserve office. Trail preparation
    •  Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat.
    • Do not hike alone.
    • Carry enough food and water with you.
    • Make sure you know what the weather conditions are before you depart.
    • Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter.
    • Make sure you have a relevant map of the area.
    • Take a field medical kit with you for emergencies.
    • Obey all signage.
    • Stay in a group and on the trails.
    For more information on these trails, please contact the Algeria campsite main office. Uitkyk Trail    Estimated time: 3 hours A short, steep trail that offers fantastic views of the Cederberg Mountains and the Algeria valley. Waterfall Trail Estimated time: 3 hours This is a moderately steep trail that leads from Algeria Forest Station up to the Middelberg Waterfall. The route is clearly signposted. It is possible to swim in the small pool at the waterfalls. This is also a fantastic picnic spot. Maltese Cross Estimated time: 5 hours A well-marked trail that begins with a mild uphill walk heading towards the imposing Maltese Cross. Hikers return along the same route, with fantastic mountain views along the way. Make sure you have a valid hiking permit from Sanddrif (tel: +27 (0)27 482 2825). Wolfberg Arch          Estimated time: 8 hours This begins as a strenuous walk that eases as you approach the arch via the Wolfberg Cracks. This route is not for beginners or the unfit, but it does reward with fantastic views of the Cederberg Mountains along the way. Hikers need to ensure they have a valid permit from Sanddrif. Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2825 Cederberg Heritage Route The Cederberg Heritage Route offers four multi-day “slack-packing” hiking trails for groups of two or more people. The trails wind through the Cederberg wilderness, into the area’s mountains and villages. The heritage route has something for everyone: hiking, plants and animals, interesting rock formations, ancient rock art, history, culture, heritage and archaeology. You will see the rare and endangered Clanwilliam cedar, pristine fynbos and perhaps the footprint of the shy Cape mountain leopard. The Cederberg Heritage Route offers four community-based trails in the Cederberg Mountains, ranging between three and five nights in length. They all start and finish in Clanwilliam. The trails include accommodation, meals, transport (people and luggage) and park entrance fees. This is slack-packing at its finest, allowing you to enjoy your surroundings without having to worry about lugging heavy backpacks around. Every day your overnight luggage is taken to that night's guesthouse, so you only have to carry a day-pack. Hikers end each day in a comfortable guesthouse in one of the picturesque Moravian Mission Church villages of Heuningvlei, Brugkraal and Wupperthal. Knowledgeable locals will escort you on the trails. Reservations For Cederberg Heritage Route reservations, contact Cedarberg African Travel: Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2444 Email: michelle@cedarberg.co.za Visit www.cedheroute.co.za for more information.
  • Rock climbing and bouldering

    The Cederberg’s craggy mountains and incredible rock formations make this region a  climber’s paradise. The Cederberg is home to Rocklands, a well-known site for bouldering.  Traditional climbing is done at Wolfberg, Tafelberg and Truitjieskraal. Routes range from beginner to difficult.
  • Multi-day hiking

    The Cederberg Wilderness Area is one of the most undisturbed parts of South Africa. The hiking trails of the Cederberg Heritage Route have made this beautiful area more accessible  to hikers, from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. The heritage route, one of the Cape’s  top 12 hiking trails, offers four overnight guided walking trails.
  • Donkey Cart Adventures

    Explore the rugged, wild beauty of the Cederberg on a donkey cart adventure trail. Donkey carts are the traditional way to travel in the Cederberg – locals used to use donkeys to carry their produce to Clanwilliam. The route begins at the top of Pakhuis Pass, where you can leave your car. The  two-and-a-half-hour trail ends in the charming Heuningvlei village, one of the 14 Moravian Mission Church outposts. The small local community is known for its production of traditional dried fruit and organic rooibos tea. Hikers can choose to spend a night or two here before making the return trip to Pakhuis  Pass. Mrs Solomon’s guesthouse can accommodate up to six people, and larger parties can stay in the Community Guest Lodge. There is plenty to do in this historic area. Go on a  two-hour hike to cedar plantations, explore local rock art sites, or visit an organic rooibos tea farm. Reservations For hiking trail and donkey cart reservations, contact Cedarberg African Travel: Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2444 Email: michelle@cedarberg.co.za Visit www.cedheroute.co.za for more information.

Location

Algeria

From Cape Town: Take the N7 highway north from Cape Town. Stay on the N7 past Citrusdal, after 28km take the Cederberg/Algeria turn-off to the right. Follow this main gravel road for 17km you will see the office complex and accommodation and campsite access road on your left. This is a 250km drive, which should take about three hours.

Office hours: 07:30–16:00 Monday to Friday

If you arrive after hours please report to the gate office.

Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2403
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190

Kliphuis

From Cape Town: Take the N7 highway north from Cape Town. Stay on the N7 until you get to Clanwilliam and follow the R364 for about 17km until you reach the Kliphuis campsite. Please report to the office on arrival before entering the camp or cottages. This is a 280km drive, which should take about three hours.

Office hours: 07:30–16:00 Monday to Friday

If you arrive after hours please report to manager’s accommodation across the road.

Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2403/4
Accommodation and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190

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Conservation

Cederberg Wilderness Conservation

The Cederberg was proclaimed a wilderness area in 1973. A reserve of about 5 250 hectares was established in 1987 to prevent the extinction of the area’s namesake: the Clanwilliam cedar tree. Over several centuries, these trees were felled for construction activities and telephone poles. Frequent fires also ravaged the species to the point of near extinction. CapeNature works with partners and volunteers to plant cedar seedlings in the mountains. Each year, volunteers help plant about 8 000 nursery-grown young trees in the reserve. In 1988, the Cederberg Wilderness Area was established as the centre of a leopard management area to protect leopards by minimising conflict between stock farming and  nature conservation. To protect the Cederberg’s rich heritage and extraordinary biodiversity, CapeNature and  local landowners set up the Cederberg and Biedouw conservancies on the border of the wilderness area, covering about 312 000 hectares of private and state land.

Filming

Cederberg Wilderness Area Filming

The Cederberg is renowned for its spectacular landscapes and the sense of solitude they inspire. Sandstone caves and rocky overhangs shelter some of the region’s finest examples of ancient San rock art. At Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve the eerie Stadsaal rock formations are found, where the presence of people long gone is still palpable. It is here, too, not far from the Stasaal Caves that the evocative elephant rock painting is found. See the videos below for Cederberg’s filming options at Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve.

5 Reviews

Algeria Self-Catering Cottages

Michael Duddy, Apr 28, 2016 - Cederberg Wilderness Area

We recently stayed in two of the newly built self-catering cottages at Algeria, Grey Rhebok & Wolfberg Arch. We found the build quality of the cottages to be of a very high standard, the design to be well conceived and the space availability to be very good. The setting and views from the cottages are really amazing.

The equipment and facilities provided in the cottages are really good making our stay comfortable and enjoyable.
We had an incredible stay and will definitely return and also recommend it to others.

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Cannot beat this place

Razaan Abrahamse, Apr 12, 2016 - Cederberg Wilderness Area

i am very fortunate to say that Algeria campsite introduced me to camping. !
And i have been back every year since 2003. Extending my period of staying there to the point where we go there for 21 days at a time.
There is a few things that actually give this place the perfect ambiance. The clear river, The mountains that reflect the son and change colour as the day goes by. The big shady trees that give you lovely shade when the day gets hot.
Its a paradise for kids. They reconnect with nature, and keep themselves busy, building rock pools, looking for tadpoles, Freely running around the campsite (its not to big)
What is a plus for me, is that the campsites are big. So you do not feel that your fellow camper is crowding your style. I like strict rules. Lights out by 22.00 and no drinking and smoking at the swimming hole. If you want to listen to music, plug in your earphones and go for a hike. Some of the best cycling terrain around. its a win win situation.

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Algeria

Ayesha Ryklief, Jan 10, 2016 - Cederberg Wilderness Area

Lovely!

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Awesome

Dylan Osborne, Nov 4, 2015 - Cederberg Wilderness Area

Abeseloutely awesome, best place I have been to.

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The hills are alive, Sep 18, 2014 - Cederberg Wilderness Area

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