TOP things to do in the cederberg

The Cederberg Mountains, only two hours from Cape Town, cover a vast and varied area. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventurer, a wine connoisseur or a foodie, there'll be something that will bring you back for more! In this article we discuss some of our favourite things to do in the Cederberg.  
Sundowners at Cederberg Ridge

walking & HIKING

Viewpoints at Cederberg Ridge
The Cederberg  is at the top of most walkers and hikers 'must-do' lists, and for good reason! It is absolute paradise for those who love soaking up every unspoilt detail of the wilderness, one step at a time.

The ideal time for walking in the Cederberg is between mid March and mid December. Detailed Slingsby Maps show the main walking trails maintained by Cape Nature. So pick up a map at an Information Office. Try out one of the classic walks to the Maltese Cross or the Wolfberg Cracks, or along the Heuningvlei jeep track near Clanwilliam. 

Cederberg Ridge also offers guided walks both in the Cederberg Wilderness and on our farm. 

Another option is the guided Cederberg Heritage Route - a collection of slackpacking walking trails. Choose between the Klein Krakadouw Trail (2 or 3 nights), the Groot Krakdouw Trail (4 nights), or the scenic, but tough, Pakhuis trail (3 nights) .  Or you can also opt for a taste of a slackpacking trail by adding on a two day/1 night stay. See here for more info.

For more detailed ideas and itineraries for walks in the Cederberg, have a look at Cedarberg Africa's blog posts on Walks in the central Cederberg and Walks in the northern Cederberg.

mountain biking

If you prefer taking in the stunning scenery of the Cederberg on two wheels, you’re sure to be happy with the number of mountain bike trails the area has to offer.  Mountain bikers can either attempt some serious climbs and technical challenges. Or you can enjoy leisurely rides on gravel roads and jeep tracks.  (All public roads can be used for mountain biking). With little traffic to speak of, cyclists can fully appreciate the pristine, rugged surrounds.

Cederberg Ridge has a variety of shorter mountain bike trails (1 to 2 hours in length) that start right from the lodge, so you don't need to venture too far to get your fix! But if you want to make a fuller day of it...

Mountain bike routes in the area include:
- Bakkrans - private two wheel track in beautiful scenery
- Dwarsrivier routes - Wolfberg Trail (7km – 12km), Kliphuis Trail (21km), Lot’s Wife Trail (27km) and Maltese Cross Trail (30km)
- Bushman Paintings Route – 27.5km circular route
- Pakhuis pass (tar but a good hill challenge)


Cederberg Ridge Activities - Mountain Biking

rooibos tea tastings and tours

No matter what time of year you visit the area, the rooibos plant dominates the valley. Rooibos tea is indigenous to the Cederberg Mountains and the area around Clanwilliam. This is the only area in the world where rooibos tea is grown. This much-loved, healthy caffeine & tannin-free tea has achieved a strong international market. In fact it's exported throughout the world and is a major industry for the area.

So you should definitely add a rooibos experience to your 'things to do' checklist! Visit Rooibos Ltd or Netmar (Rooibos Tea House) for a tasting and a video presentation of the history. We also highly recommend visiting one of the Rooibos tea farms for a fascinating tour of the farming process. Cederberg Ridge offers a guided farming excursion. 

Sevilla Rock Art Trail and Khoisan Kitchen

  The Cederberg is steeped in history and culture. Indeed the culture of the San (Bushmen) people is of great interest to many visitors. They roamed this area for thousands of years until the arrival of the settlers. Their remarkable rock art is their legacy. For that reason, a walk along the Sevilla Rock Art Trail is a must do. Follow it up with a relaxed casual lunch at Khoisan Kitchen.

The Sevilla Rock Art Trail lies only about 30 minutes’ drive from Cederberg Ridge (and about the same from Clanwilliam). When you arrive at the Khoisan Kitchen, you’ll need to purchase a Nature Conversation permit before starting the trail. Don’t forget to grab a booklet which gives you background on each of the sites (as well as a bottle of water) from their shop.

The trail consists of 9 different rock art sites and will take about 2 to 2½ hours to complete. As it is a linear trail you can turn back at any time. But because of this, the first 4 sites are less impressive than the second five as more people have visited them over the years. So you may want to venture past the first four sites to get to sites 5 to 9, and then visit the first 4 sites on the way back.

All that exercise will get you thirsty and hungry! Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Khoisan Kitchen on your return. There are some local dishes and brews that are definitely worth sampling. If you stay with us at Cederberg Ridge, we’ll organise the whole day for you – check out our Rock Art page
Sevilla rock art trails and excursions from Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge

viewing the spring wild flowers

‘Wildflowers’ and ‘flower-viewing’ seem to be synonymous with the Cederberg and West Coast areas. In season visiting the spring flower displays is one of the loveliest things to do. But remember that the season with us is August. it is NOT September as many people wrongly assume. 

After good winter rains the normally dry land becomes a carpet of flowers with nemesias, lachenalias, babiana and ixias seen in great profusion.
The Cederberg region enjoys a particularly wide variety of wild flowers because of its varied topography. We have fertile valleys to high mountains,  semi-desert plains to the unique sandveld region nearer to the coast. So the Cederberg makes the ideal base for flower-viewing.

TIP: Rather than spending 1 night in each place as many visitors try to do, why not base yourself in Clanwilliam?  Then do day trips from there. Being centrally located for the spring flowers, you can easily visit Nieuwoudtville for the day as well as the West Coast. (The Nieuwoudtville flower displays are stunning but accommodation is very limited. So all good options get booked up at least 10-12 months in advance. Staying longer in Clanwilliam is a great alternative!)

So where can you view these wonderful displays?

1) Biedouw Valley - the beautiful, fertile valley is about an hours drive from Clanwilliam – over the Pakhuis Pass
2) Nieuwoudtville and Botterkloof Pass – situated between Clanwilliam and Calvinia. This area is known for its wide selection of indigenous flowers
3)  Nardouwskloof Pass – head north easterly away from Clanwillaim and Bulshoekdam to view flowers in bloom

Your list of 'things to do in the Cederberg' would not be complete without popping in to the annual Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show - a superb exhibition showing off all the flowers in the region. (It always opens on the Thursday before the last weekend in August). The Ramskop Flower Garden in Clanwilliam is well worth a visit as it has one of the best displays of wild flowers in the country and looks especially fine during the flower season and even beyond (August to early September).

For Tips on Flower-viewing in the Cederberg and West Coast, see this article
Spring wild flowers and flower viewing excursions in the Cederberg

west coast VIBE

  • We are not going to lie to you. It does get hot in our 'high' summer months. Most visitors love it, but you can always escape to the cooling sea breezes of the West Coast.  The West Coast is an easy 30 minute drive from Clanwilliam, offering a contrasting experience to our mountainous terrain. The region boasts its own wine route and is renowned for its fresh seafood, quaint restaurants and unique markets.
  • One of the most popular places to visit is Muisbosskerm – an open air seafood restaurant situated right on the beach. It lies just 5 minutes outside Lambert’s Bay. You’ll be treated to a number of delicious fresh seafood dishes, as well as homemade breads and other traditional meat and veggie ‘pots’ . All cooked on an open fire and in clay ovens.
  • Other seafood restaurants are Isabellas or Weskus Kombuis. The West Coast also boasts some great wines like Fryer’s Cove, Doringbay and Kookfontein. All these wines have a unique taste of the ocean. Indeed the wind further flavours the wine by carrying salt flakes onto the vine leaves! 
  • It’s not all about eating and drinking of course. There are plenty of activities to keep the fit and healthy happy too! Elands Bay (20 minutes south of Lamberts) offers one of the best surfing breaks in South Africa. It's a sort of surfing mecca for those in the know. Or you can just enjoy a walk on the long expanses of beautiful white sand beaches. The brave can drive a quick dip in the sea. But it's cold water, just like Cape Town.  
  • Cederberg Ridge offers a guided excursion to the West Coast, often visiting one of the Rooibos tea farms en route
Cederberg Ridge Excursion to Muisbosskerm

wine tasting

Fancy tasting wine at great heights? Cederberg Wines are located on the highest lying vineyards in South Africa. Their unique location adding something extra special to their wine. As the number of wine awards over the years attests. Other wineries that benefit from the cool mountain air and rocky soil in the Cederberg are Tierhoek, Driehoek and Piekenierskloof. An absolute must on your list of things to do in the Cederberg!

Cederberg Ridge features mainly wines of our region on our wine list and we've been blown away by the quality. We also offer wine-tasting sessions prior to dinner every 2-3 nights.
Shot of five glasses of different wines on a table

visit the historical town of clanwilliam

Clanwilliam is actually one of the ten oldest towns in South Africa. (see our History of the Cederberg for more). Number 7 if we are going to get all technical! Nowadays it’s a bustling farming town. However some remnants of its history remain with fine old Cape Dutch homes in Park Street, the old Flower Church and the Old Gaol. Actually the Gaol is now a charming country museum. Here are some things to do in Clanwilliam:

- Walk down Park Street to see some of the original '1820 settler houses' . These have distinctive, attractive Cape Dutch architecture (white-washed walls, thatched roofs and green-framed windows and doors)
- Explore the Old Gaol Museum with its displays on history, Rock art and modern farming
- Pop in at Strassbergers ‘’Veldskoen’’ Factory & shop for an authentic pair of hand-made shoes
- Meander through Ramskop Wild Flower botanical garden during the flower season (August and early September)
- Enjoy a video on tea-production at Rooibos Ltd and Net Mar (Rooibos Tea House)
• Indulge in some retail therapy at our charming craft shops such as the Red Daisy and Aunti Poppie se Shop
- Treat yourself to coffee or delicious lunch at Veldskoendraai, Nancy’s Tea Room, Floris Restaurant or Byron’s Coffee Shop
What to do in the Cederberg - visit Clanwilliam Church

hebron

After a 2 hour drive from Cape Town, there’s a good chance you’ll be needing to stretch your legs and fill your belly. Hebron is perfectly positioned for such a stop! Satisfy your tastebuds at the eatery which serves fine food prepared with fresh garden ingredients and homemade delicacies. Hebron also has a delightful Wine & Rooibos tea Tasting Room. Which of course features local wine and tea from the area. Plus a weekly farmers market.
Hebron setting

clanwilliam dam 

Farming is possible in this area because of two dams which offer much needed irrigation water to the farmers, the Clanwilliam Dam and the Bulshoek Dam. But both dams are perfect for water activities of course! Visitors can waterski, paddle, swim or fish. The Clanwilliam Dam is actually one of the best places for small-mouth bass fishing in South Africa, and is home to the annual Freshpak Fitness Festival
Water activities and water-skiing at Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge

beer tasting and lunch at Kromrivier

With crystal clear waters flowing from the Cederberg Mountains, the Nieuwoudt family inevitably decided to start the first brewery in the Cederberg, called Nieuw Brew. Visit Kromrivier for a full beer-tasting experience. Sample their refreshing range of craft beers, or their wines made at Kromrivier Vineyards. And top it all off with a delicious, freshly produced lunch at their restaurant

Kromrivier is quite far from Clanwilliam. Indeed Cederberg Ridge offers guided excursions into the central Cederberg combining a visit to the Stadsaal caves, Cederberg Wine Cellars and Kromriver all on one day. 
Kromrivier beer tasting

horse-riding

Horse-riders will be pleased to know that there are some great options for them during a visit to the Cederberg. Mount Cedar offers horseback riding through beautiful rugged scenery on their farm. Horse-Riding opportunities also exist at Kromrivier and at Driehoek in the high Cederberg, Close to Cederberg Ridge there is horse-riding at Klein Kliphuis situated on the Pakhuis Pass, only 10 minutes drive away. 
Horse-riding excursions near to Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge optional extra
Donkey Cart Trail, Geoff Crane