Cederberg Wilderness Area – The Ideal Get-Away
The Cederberg Wilderness Area within the Western Cape Province of South Africa boasts an immense stretch of land extending from Citrusdal's Middelberg Pass right to just beyond Clanwilliam's Pakhuis Pass. Taking in some 71,000 hectares of stunning rugged terrain, the Cederberg Wilderness Area opens up a vast hiking landscape as well as the unique opportunity for wilderness donkey cart rides. Encompassing a section of the Cape Fold Mountain Series, the area is just 200 km from Cape Town. This is a magical wilderness area that locals and tourists alike should experience.
The beautiful Cederberg Area has a fascinating history extending back many centuries. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Khoi and San people, European settlers came onto the scene during the 18th century. Back in 1876 the first conservation action was put in place at Cederberg with the appointment of a forester. Unfortunately, between 1903 and 1973 the natural resources of Cederberg were largely exploited with the harvesting of rockwood bark, cedar wood, buchu and rooibos tea (bush tea). During time of drought the mountains of Cederberg were used for livestock grazing. Due to exploitation the Cedar tree stands on the edge of extinction. In 1973 Cederberg was designated a wilderness area and thus possesses a high conservation status. Today, the Cederberg Wilderness Area is well-known for its fascinating landscapes with sandstone formations as well as its lovely vegetation and varied wildlife.
As a part of the Cape Fold Mountains, Cederberg Wilderness Area’s ground is chiefly Table Mountain sandstone. As such, a number of interesting formations dot the panorama. Amongst the most impressive sandstone formations are the Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch. Cederberg features warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Veld fires occur periodically, typically due to lightning. Cederberg Wilderness Area is known as a mountain fynbos region. Amongst the diverse vegetation are laurel protea, yellow daisies, sand olive, mountain maytenus, silky conebush, buchu, ridderspoor, red disas, white els, Cape beech, spoonwood, sow protea, the rare Clanwilliam cedar and much more. With such diverse vegetation and several ecological zones, the wildlife is just as varied and fascinating. Whilst in the Cederberg Area you are likely to spot klipspringers, dassies (rock hyraxes), baboons, striped polecat, grysbok, grey rhebok, grey mongoose and duiker. Less frequently seen are the ever elusive aardvark, honey badger, procupine and Cape clawless otter. Amongst the Cederberg’s predators are the African wild cat, aardwolf, leopard, bat-eared fox, lynx and Cape fox. Bird watchers will enjoy the great variety of 100 bird species such as the jackal buzzard and powerful black eagle.
The Cederberg Wilderness Areas boasts a wide selection of recreation activities. The most popular is hiking which will lead you through this amazing landscape. Hiking is the best way to become acquainted with this unique South African beauty. Rock climbing is also popular and is permitted all through the area. Rocky overhangs and caves contain exquisite rock art paintings dating back hundreds of years. Cederberg Wilderness Area is a wonderful vacation escape, devoted to conservation and offering pure natural splendor.