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Cederberg Wilderness Hiking Trails Information

Hiking in the Cederberg Wilderness attract serious hikers from far and wide. The rugged, unspoiled terrain is like a magnet.

But it is not only the fit and young that can enjoy the outdoors here. There are plenty of options for all levels of fitness and experience. The Cederberg Wilderness offers a network of trails spanning over 250km in total and varying from a morning to several days in length. Trails are unmarked but well-trodden and while there are a number of routes that people follow the emphasis is on forging your own route – a rather adventurous concept. The 1:50 000 topographical map available from CapeNature is essential.

The wilderness is divided into 3 blocks and there is a limit of 50 people in each block, with groups being limited to a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 12.

Block A

Covers the northern Cederberg and includes Pakhuis, the Krakadouw range and Skerpioenberg.

Ramskop Nature Reserve ClanwilliamRamskop – 45 to 60 mins
There is a lovely walking trail through the Ramskop Nature Reserve. It starts in the flowering area of the reserve and then heads around the small hill with beautiful views of the Clanwilliam Dam. Easy trail.

Heuningvlei Jeep track – as far as you like
Cederberg Wilderness Permit required
At the top of the Pakhuis Pass, there is a small turnoff to the right. Turn off here and park your car in the small car park. Take the trail from here through the gate and continue straight on. This is a well-marked trail through classic Cedarberg terrain with lovely views down to Karoo on your left. You can walk as far as you want and then turn back. (Eventually you would come to the small community of Heuningvlei after about 12km).

Morning walks – 2 to 4 hours

Sevilla Rock Art Trail, CederbergSevilla Rock Art Trail 

The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is on Travellers Rest farm about 30 minutes drive from Clanwilliam over the Pakhuis Pass. The 5km trail winds along the Brandewyn river and visits nine sites of rock art paintings left behind by the San people, who inhabited the area for thousands of years. The Sevilla Rock Art trail offers some of the finest examples of rock art in the district and a fascinating glimpse into the world of these early inhabitants. The trail is relatively easy walking, the atmosphere is inspiring and in spring the wild flowers are an added bonus. A free pamphlet with some information about each of the nine sites is available from Traveller’s Rest farm stall. Permits: Obtain permits at the Traveller’s Rest farm stall at R30 per person.

Kliphuis Circular walk
Cederberg Wilderness Permit required
Just before the Pakhuis pass, park your car outside the Kliphuis campsite. The walk is a 3½ to 4 hour circular walk through pristine Cederberg fynbos. It is relatively gentle (as Cedarberg walks go!) The trail begins behind the old Forestry House and snakes up a kloof for approx 30 minutes. This is the only bit of steep walking. When you reach the top of the kloof, you come out onto a wide broad plateau with views to Kliphuis immediately on the right, the peaks of Faith, Hope and Charity on your far right hand side, and Ribbokberg immediately in front of you. The path veers around to the left. Most of the walk continues on this plateau with gradual ups and downs. The path is clearly marked in most places and there are stone cairns where the trail is over the open rock. Later in the walk, you descend next to a river (Kliphuisrivier), dry in summer, which has lovely waterfalls in winter. At this point, there’s a very pretty view of Lion’s Head, an escarpment of small peaks looking like lions gazing over the plains. Shortly after this the path turns to the left and you round the hill to return to the original valley. After the descent there is a slow gentle uphill section (tiring at this stage in the walk) back to the car park at Kliphuis. This section can be a little boggy in winter.

Pakhuis Pass to Kliphuis (3+ hours, ideally need two cars)
Cederberg Wilderness Permit required
This is a linear walk so ideally you need two cars (or someone who is prepared to walk the additional 3km to retrieve your car from Pakhuis Pass!) Park your car at the top of Pakhuis Pass (see above) and take the Heuningvlei Jeep track as above. After approx 1km, you will see a small cairn and a single file track to the right. (Watch out for this as it’s easy to miss – if you find yourself steadily climbing on the main track, then you have gone too far!)  Take this track as it crosses the vlei and then goes gently uphill (after another 1km) on to a second plateau area. Look out for a four way intersection in the trail. Turn right at the intersection and start to descend. It is rocky terrain here. Please be on the lookout for the stone cairns to guide you. You descend until you come to the river/stream. In the winter months you may need to take off your shoes to wade through the stream but in summer, it will be dry. Walk along the other side of the stream to Kliphuis campsite where you will have left one vehicle. Alternatively walk up the road to the summit again to retrieve your parked car.

Full day Hikes

Pakhuis Trail, Cederberg WildernessPakhuis to Heuningvlei
Cederberg Wilderness Permit required
This is not really a full day walk but it does take most of the day as you will need to return – either by donkey cart or by vehicle. At the top of the Pakhuis Pass, there is a small turnoff to the right. Park your car in the small car park. Take the trail from here through the gate and continue straight on. You walk to the small community of Heuningvlei (It is 12km if you take the short cut down the steep concrete path after about 11km. It is 15km if you continue on the path around the vlei to approach the village from the other side). At Heuningvlei, you can either return the way you came, arrange for one of your party to collect you by car or opt to book a lunch and donkey cart ride back to the Pakhuis Pass. Note: There is no shop at Heuningvlei so you will need to take provisions with you. Contact Cedarberg Travel for donkey cart bookings.

Pakhuis to Boskloof – linear walk (17km, allow 6-8 hours)
Cederberg Wilderness Permit required
This is one of the finest walks in the northern Cederberg. You leave your car at the top of the Pakhuis Pass at the small car park. Take the trail from here through the gate and continue straight on. After approx 1km, look out for a small cairn and a single file track to the right. Take this track as it crosses the vlei and then goes gently uphill (after another 1km) on to a second plateau area. Look out for a four way intersection in the trail. Turn left at the intersection. Now you start to head down into a beautiful valley. The path is fairly clear but keep a look out for cairns to help you.

After a while the steep descent levels off to a flatter section and you cross the river at some stepping stones. Be careful after winter rains! Immediately you have crossed the river, look out for the path through some vegetation on your left. This is the only area which is not clear. Keep left and look for the cairns and soon the path becomes clear again. Next follows a series of uphills and downhills through glorious unspoilt country.

Towards the end of the walk, the trail forks. The shorter steeper trail to the right brings you straight down the mountain to just above Krakadouw cottages. Not good if your knees are not strong! The longer trail is to the right. This takes you down more gently and brings you to the Anglo-Boer war block house. You cross the river and turn right at the intersection to pass the block house. Continue on this trail with the river on your right. This is approx 45-60 minutes walk from Krakadouw cottages and so will probably take 45mins longer in total. When you arrive at Krakadouw Cottages, please keep to the left of the vlei and do not approach the farmhouse as it is private property. You can leave your car on the road at the entrance to this farm.

This is a great walk BUT you will need either two cars (with one at the end of the walk) or to arrange for someone to collect you. Both Clanwilliam Living Landscapes and Cedarberg Travel can arrange transfers if needed.

There is also a 40km, 3-day circular hike covering Pakhuis, the Krakadouw range and Skerpioenberg through rugged terrain. The first night is spent at a cave near the blockhouse and the second night at Heuningvlei.

Permits and maps are available from Clanwilliam Information Office in Main Road. 027 482 2024.

Block B

Covers the central Cederberg and extends southwards from Skerpioenberg to the Wolfberg.

Walks and Hikes

Shorter walks – under 2 hours

Allow 50 minutes to get to Algeria Forest Station if you are staying in Clanwilliam or Citrusdal area; allow 1½ hours to get to Dwarsrivier …

Algeria Forest Station – Valley Walk
This a very pleasant gentle walk from Algeria up the valley towards Uitkyk. The path is clearly signposted from the end of the campsite. (When the path to the waterfall goes off to the left, you continue straight on to a grove of pine trees.) You can walk along the valley as far as you’d like and then return

Algeria Forest Station – Waterfall Walk 
This is a short, moderate climb from Algeria Forest Station up to Middelberg waterfall. The path is clearly signposted from the end of the campsite. When you are almost at the height of the waterfall, the path forks. You take the left hand fork to head to the waterfall where there are superb views of the valley and surrounding mountains, a small pool for paddling and secluded ledges for picnics. Allow one hour to get there and 50 minutes to return as well as time at the waterfall

If you take the right hand fork, the path continues further up the kloof eventually coming to one of the forestry huts, Middleburg Hut which is used by overnight hikers. You return down by the same path.

Algeria Forest Station – Uitkyk Walk 
This a very pleasant gentle walk from Algeria up the valley to Uitkyk Forestry house. The path is clearly signposted from the end of the campsite. (When the path to the waterfall goes off to the left, you continue straight on to a grove of pine trees.)  You walk all the way to Uitkyk (approx 3.5km) and then return along the road to make a circular walk. The circular walk would take approx 2 hours (7km).

Stadsaal Caves, Cederberg WildernessStadsaal Caves
Stadsaal Caves and Bushmen paintings are found high in the central Cederberg beyond Cederberg Cellars & Sandrif. They are a ‘must’ for all Cederberg visitors and keen photographers could spend hours here capturing the play of light and shadows on the open caves and rock formations. Nearby there are some Bushmen rock paintings from an ancient time when elephants roamed freely through the Cederberg.

You will need to buy a permit, obtainable from Algeria Forest Station, Dwarsrivier farm or Mount Ceder.  If travelling from Clanwilliam or Citrusdal, take the day and stop to visit Algeria Forest Station, the Cederberg Cellars and perhaps enjoy a hike or swim in the river at Algeria…

How to get there – Take the central Cederberg road (approx 30km past Citrusdal) and travel past Algeria Forest Station over Uitkyk pass and onto Dwarsriver farm/Cederberg Cellars where you buy a permit. Continue on the road for 8km until you reach the Nature Conservation sign and turn right.

Hike: A popular 2-day, 26km circular hike in this block is the Crystal Pool circuit that leaves from Algeria.

Block C

Covers the western and southern parts of the wilderness and some of the most striking features of the Cederberg. The Wolfberg Arch, Wolfberg Cracks, the Maltese cross and Sneeuberg – the highest point in the Cederberg – can all be reached from this block. The hikes in this block are accessed through Dwarsrivier Farm, starting from the Sanddrif campsite and chalets (027 482 2825) or Kromrivier campsite and chalets (027 482 2807) or Nuwerust chalets (027 482 2813). Permits and maps available from the owners.

Morning hikes of 2-4 hours (Sanddrif/Dwarsrivier Farm) (027 482 2825)

Wolfberg Cracks Cederberg WildernessWolfberg Cracks (Dwarsrivier)
Drive to Dwarsrivier farm and continue for approx 1km and then turn left to Sandrif resort, cross over the river and continue via the signposts for approx 1km up a gravel track to a small parking place.This is a steep mountain walk with some easy scrambling at the top to get into the largest ‘crack’, a narrow cleft reaching 30m into the bowels of the Wolfberg.The walk should take you about 1½ hours to go up and 1 hour to return with additional time on the top exploring – less if you are fit.

Maltese Cross Cederberg WildernessMaltese Cross (Dwarsrivier)
Collect a permit from Dwarsrivier Farm and then follow their map to the start of the walk. (Drive for approx 0.7km in the direction of Clanwilliam, turn off to the left to follow the gravel road for approx 7km to a small parking place.) The path is very clear. It is a moderate uphill climb to the Maltese Cross with magnificent views of the Cederberg range and then a downhill return the same way. The cross is approx the height of a five storey building and begs the question of how on earth it got there! (In reality, the land and rock around it eroded away leaving this monolith behind.) The Maltese Cross takes about 3 hours including a break at the rock formation, allow 3½ to 4 hours if you take it slowly (7km).

Kromrivier Cederberg/Citrusdal (027 482 2807)

Disa Pool Hike passes the Kromrivier cave and a waterfall before reaching Disa Pool, where the beautiful Disa can be seen flowering between December and February. 3-4 hours circular.

Nuwerust Cederberg/Citrusdal (027 482 2813)

Waterfall Route goes to a waterfall in the Klipbokkop river and then returns with magnificent views of the Brandkraals River Valley. 6km 2 hours circular.

Rooiberg Trail ascends to the Rooiberg Plateau from which there are magnificent views. The trails then descends to the deep kloof of the Brandkraals river. 12km 4.5 hours circular.

Full Day Trails

Wolfberg Arch, Cederberg WildernessWolfberg Arch (Dwarsrivier)

Drive to Dwarsrivier farm and continue for approx 1km and then turn left to Sandrif resort, cross over the river and continue via the signposts for approx 1km up a gravel track to a small parking place. This is a steep mountain walk with some easy scrambling at the top to get into the largest ‘crack’, a narrow cleft reaching 30m into the bowels of the Wolfberg. The walk should take you about 1½ hours to go up. From here you continue along the top of the mountain range for about 1½ hours to the 15m-high Wolfberg Arch. It is best to return the way you came as the other route down, via Gabriel’s Pass, is less well marked. Allow 7 to 8 hours for the walk though you may do it faster.

Kromrivier Alternative Route to the Maltese Cross passing The Pup on the outward section and returning via Disa Pool and Kromrivier Cave on the return. 7-8 hours circular. (027 482 2807)

Nuwerust Klipbokkop Trail ascends to the Klipbokkop Peak with  some rock scrambling, to be rewarded with magnificent views. The first and last sections of the trail follow the Waterfall Route. 15km 7 hours circular. (027 482 2813)

Camping:

Algeria: The shady and grassy campsite at Algeria lies on the Rondegat River. Be sure to bring your costume in summer as the crystal clear pools are difficult to ignore. There are 48 campsites sites, all with power points. The sites are suitable for tents and/or caravans. Ablution facilities: Hot and cold water, bath (women’s ablution only) and showers, no toilet paper provided. Firewood is for sale. No pets allowed.

Kliphuis: Note: Kliphuis campsite is closed indefinitely.

There are also camps at Sanddrif and Kromrivier, and chalets at Nuwerust.

Maps are essential and are published by Cape Nature. Permits must be obtained. National callers: (021) 483 0190: International callers: 0027 861 227 362 8873: Website

Permits are also obtainable from the Cape Nature Conservation office at Algeria Forest Station, Dwarsrivier Farm (for Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Cracks & Arch & Stadsaal Caves) and from Clanwilliam Tourism Office, Main Street Clanwilliam.

More info on the town of Algeria More info on the Cederberg Region area



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