A mere 3 hours drive from Cape Town, but it feels like you set foot on another planet... This extensive barren landscape offers a multitude of hiking trails among a landscape dominated by high jagged sandstone rock formations – a true wilderness experience! Think of it as the Sedona of South Africa... The Cederberg Wilderness area is situated at the foot of the enchanting Cederberg mountain, and the required hiking permits are included for this activity.
The Cederberg Mountains are in the Western Cape province and consist of an area of about 100km2. The sparsely populated region is well known in South Africa for its back-to-basics natural beauty, Bushman rock art and jaw-dropping displays of colour in the flower season from Aug-Sept. The horison is lined with unusual sandstone formations that contain bands of soft finely stratified sedimentary rock, rich in fossils dating back to the Ordovician Period, over 450 million years ago.
Although the arid landscape is dominated by orange mountains (burnt by iron oxide); the region is also rich in wildlife. Keep an eye out to try spot honey badger, porcupines, dassies, grey rhebok, klipspringers, duiker and aardvark. Smaller predators like the African wild cat, lynx, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and Cape fox usually hunt at night. Do a spot of birdwatching as you take in the diversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom and wonder at the rich heritage of San and Khoi art hidden amongst the ancient caves, overhangs and rock formations. Impressive peaks include the Wolfberg Arch and Cracks, the Maltese Cross, Tafelberg and the Spout, Sneeuberg Peak with many sparkling clear rivers, natural springs and rock pools dividing the arid landscape.
A day is just not really enough time to see it all... but add the following to your to-do list:
The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is a 4km relaxed ramble that visits 9 extraordinary sites of rock art. These spectacular historic paintings were created by the San People who inhabited the area for 1000's of years.
Spend some time along the Kloof Walking Trail. Meander along through the boulders, down the kloof (gorge), and along the banks of the Brandewynsriver. Fortunate bird-watchers might spot the evasive Witkruisarend Raptor nesting high against the cliffs. Take all the time you want to relax by the waterside or plunge into the crystalline rock pool to cool off. *The rock pools and waterfalls are not open to day-visitors during public holidays or peak season due to permit restrictions and the capacity of guests allowed.
If the rockpools are not available, your guide will lead you on an epic hike to the impressive ±15m high Wolfberg Arch. It's 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 mountain formation.
If you are short on time, rather opt to hike the relatively easy ±1km trail to the Stadsaal Caves & ancient Bushmen paintings, dating back to a time when elephants still roamed freely through the Cederberg. Another ±3hour hike is available with a moderate uphill climb to the Maltese Cross for magnificent views of the Cederberg mountain range and arid valleys below.
Enjoy the tranquillity and take great gulps of that fresh outdoor air to re-energise body and soul.
Since the beginning, working as a guesthouse manager for years, I've been involved in creating personalised experiences for people in the travel industry. It has grown into my work passion and I love being able to create tailor-made experiences for people that they will remember for the rest of their lives. In between doing that, I create my own memories and experiences by spending time with my family (usually on the beach), attending festivals and capturing it all with my camera.
11 official Languages Spoken
Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa
How to say hello?
Molo – Xhosa
Sawubona - Zulu
Hallo - Afrikaans
Dumela - SeSotho
Electricity – Volt & plug
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.
WiFi/Internet Access on tour
WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.
When to go
South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however, Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.
The shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.
Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all-time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
The Garden Route enjoys a Mediterranean Oceanic climate, which is intrinsically temperate and mild almost all year round. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool. Second only to Hawaii, the Garden Route is acclaimed for having one of the mildest climates in the world.
However, the winter rain season can cause some delays for outdoor activities but the mild sunny days and the appeal of seeing the Southern Right Whale migration makes the Cape Whale Coast & Garden Route an ideal destination during the European summer holidays. You can expect cool mornings and evenings, but usually the climate remain bright and sunny during the day.
Best time to go where?
Jun-Jul (winter) = Safari in Kruger region
Jan-Feb (summer) = Cape Town city or beach destinations along the Cape Coast
Year-Round = Moderate Garden Route
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day|
|1 May||Workers' Day|
|16 Jun||Youth Day|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day|
|24 Sep||Heritage Day|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|17 Dec||Day of Reconciliation Holiday|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill|
Visa & Travel docs
Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).
Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
What to pack
We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:
Health & Safety
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.
The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.
South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.
There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.
From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.
Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.