The trails to the iconic Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch may be the best-known Cederberg routes, but here are three more hilly hikes to spice up the Easter holidays or your next long weekend in the Western Cape.
Best hikes in the Cederberg for rock art
The Cederberg is one of the best natural galleries in the world with a plethora of rock-art sites; the best way to view these is with a guide. The community-run Living Landscape Project in Clanwilliam leads the Warmhoek Trail, a three-hour tour of four rock shelters in the Jan Dissels Valley, as well as a short, easy stroll to the Procession Shelter. Costs R200 and R90 respectively, including vehicle transfer (24-hour advance notice required). Tel 027-482-1911, www.cllp.uct.ac.za.
The Sevilla Trail was featured in my Hiking with Kids article and you can also do a self-guided tour of the famous Stadsaal Caves at Matjiesrivier. Permits cost R40 an adult and R20 a child from CapeNature or any of the resorts in the area. Tel 021-483-0190, www.capenature.co.za.
Best hikes in the Cederberg for swimming
A half-hour downhill walk from the campsite at Sanddrif Holiday Resort takes you to Maalgat, a striking rock pool. At around 50 metres long, it’s perfect for swimming and is wonderfully picturesque with a little waterfall and plenty of slabs on which to picnic or soak up the sun. Thrill-seekers can jump from the 11-metre high cliffs into the deep pool. Permits cost R30 an adult and R15 for kids under 14 years from Sanddrif. Tel 027-482-2825, www.cederbergwine.com.
Best hikes in the Cederberg for kids
While the steep but straightforward hike up Adderley Street (the main gully in the Wolfberg Cracks) is spectacular, pick up a map and route description at Sanddrif Holiday Resort and head for the third crack if you fancy an adventure. A signboard indicates the start of the route, which branches off the main trail at the base of the cracks. Worm through tunnels and over big boulders until you finally emerge on the top of the plateau and turn left to rejoin the main trail.
At this point you can return via the main crack (allow four hours for the 7,5-kilometre return trip) or continue to Wolfberg Arch, another eight kilometres (four hours) return to this spot. The huge rock walls, caverns, rock arches and canyons of this lost world are truly magnificent, so don’t forget your camera.
Permits for hiking trails in the Cederberg
Permits for Wolfberg Cracks cost from R50 an adult and R30 for kids and those for Wolfberg Cracks and Arch are R100 an adult and R60 for children (Wild Card holders are free) from Sanddrif Holiday Resort. Tel 027-482-2825, www.cederbergwine.com.
Tip for Cederberg hikers
Download free maps of various Cederberg trails, including Algeria’s popular day walks, at www.slingsbymaps.com/free-cederberghiking.aspx. The Slingsby team have GPS tracked every trail in the area and will release the results of this labour of love in the form of a two-map set, Hiking the Cederberg (1:40 000), later this year. Watch www.slingsbymaps.com/cederberg-hiking.aspx for more information.