Cederberg

The rugged landscape of the Cedar Mountains is about a two-hour drive from Cape Town, near the villages of Citrusdal and Clanwilliam to the north. A more unknown (therefore less touristy) nature reserve with excellent lodges. The Cederberg is known for its sandstone formations that have worn through the rain and have taken on bizarre forms. This red-orange colored dry landscape will surprise you with immense open plains, deep gorges and spectacular waterfalls that reveal themselves to you during the various hiking tours and nature drives you can take here. It is an area where you will fully unwind and you will feel in the middle of nowhere.

This is the land of the San and Khoi, Cedar trees, rooibos tea, buchu and rock paintings. Cederberg has a world heritage status and after you visit you will confirm that it has earned this

status.

The Cedar Mountains are characterized by overhanging rocks and caves with beautiful examples of rock paintings made by the original inhabitants of this area in various places. The best known are the elephant paintings at the Stadsaal caves at Matjies River east of the Cederberg nature reserve (only to be visited with a permit, available at the reception of Cederberg wine estate). These paintings vary in age between 300 and 6,000 years old.

The vegetation in the Cederberg is mainly mountain fynbos, but you can also discover proteas, silky horn bushes, sand olive trees and the Clanwilliam daisies here. And on rocky parts you will find wild olives and mountain maytenus. The Waboom grass plains and the striking purplish blue delphinium, the rooibos tea and buchu grow against the lower rocks, while one can see higher up on fynbos reeds and the red Disa along mountain rivers. The Clanwilliam Cedar grows in rocky areas at altitudes of more than 1,000 meters above sea level. In the wetter canyons, red and white alder, yellow wood, hard pear and Cape beech are found. The snow protea prefers the higher peaks of the Cederberg. It is characteristic that this protea resembles the King protea but with the difference that the outer leaves of the flower are white instead of red.

Animals that you might encounter here are: baboons, dassies, gray roe deer, klipspringers, diver and grysbok. The porcupine, the honeybadger, the clawless Cape otter and the aardvark are also located here, but are rarely observed. The leopard is the largest predator in the Cederberg, but due to its shyness, the animal is not often spotted.

Smaller mammals include the African wild cat, lynx, bat-like fox, terrestrial wolf and the Cape fox. The small gray mongoose and the striped polecat are also often seen. Furthermore, there are various interesting rodents such as the spectacled sleeping mouse.

Bird lovers can discover more than 100 bird species. Some examples: the black eagle, rock kestrel and jackal buzzard. About 16 snake species are also found here, such as the mountain viper, the puffadder and the Cape cobra, the latter three being among the most dangerous and deadly snakes. The armadillo lizard is one of the native reptiles that is observed here.

The Cederberg are also an important area for managing the Elephants and the Doorn River. It includes the richest variety of native fish species south of the Zambezi River. These fish are found nowhere else except in the Elephant River and the Doorn River. Eight of these species are threatened with extinction. These include the Clanwilliam yellowfish, three of the redfin whale and two of the mountain catlets. Unfortunately, it is also a river system under threat to human activities and due to foreign fauna and flora that affects the quality of the water.

If you intend to go on long hiking or hiking trips, take the weather into account. Ask for the weather forecasts in advance and make sure you have good walking shoes, sun protection and something warm to put on. The winters in Cederberg can be cold and wet while the summers are warm and dry. Always ensure that you have enough water with you. the African spring and autumn are the best months to visit the Cederberg.