Exploring the Cederberg’s Wolfberg Cracks

Posted by Anita Froneman on 1 June 2021

By Joshua Le Roux

Four of my friends and I decided to take on the Wolfberg Cracks in the Cederberg. From doing my fair share of overnight hikes, I can say this for sure: You will never be fully prepared for any hike.

We left Cape Town at 6am in our Volkswagen Kombi 4 and headed to Sanddrif Resort in the Cederberg. The drive into Sandrif is breathtaking. We checked in at Reception. Then, you have to pass through a gate, and you will find yourself at the foot of the hike in the Wolfberg Parking lot.

We started climbing around 9am. With our bags being so heavy and a steep incline ahead of us, we decided to take it slow when heading up the first leg of the mountain, taking two breaks until we reached the beginning of the Wolfberg Cracks themselves. 

This was when the fun began. We had a couple of ropes to climb up and some technical parts to get through with our heavy bags, but this was made possible thanks to the well-groomed hiking trail. 

We were filled with excitement as everything started to get darker and darker, leading into a little tunnel that we had to get through which was extremely challenging with our big packs. 

It was around mid-day when we got into the deep cracks. The cracks were so well covered that it got completely dark inside and a torch was needed.

Once we exited, the payoff was huge. By looking left to right, all we could see were towering mountain faces where the light was just peeping through but bouncing off the rocks giving us sufficient light. 

It was extremely quiet and we were all struck by this magnificent natural formation of rocks. We took our time going through the cracks and headed on after having a bite to eat while enjoying the awe-inspiring views. As we progressed, the crack started to narrow, leading to another section where we had to take off our backpacks and use rope in order to help us get up a steep part. This is where teamwork really came through.

After lifting out heavy packs through the cracks we eventually made it through. 

We had a well-needed rest and then the ‘March to the Arch’ commenced! We soon saw the Arch and it seemed extremely distant with our heavy packs. To our knowledge, we were still the only ones heading in its direction.

The trail to the arch was beautiful and we had stunning weather, having no wind and pleasant temperatures. After about two hours of walking, we got to the Arch where we were surprised to see two other groups who had beat us to it. 

Everyone was chatty and as excited as we were to be there. As I looked through the Arch which overlooks the entire hike that we had just completed, it felt like a great accomplishment. 

After setting up camp the temperature dropped fast. Coffee and tea were enjoyed while admiring the sunset. 

As the sky grew dark, we were all blown away by the millions and millions of stars. 

After a good day of hiking, bed was calling. We did not have the best night’s rest as it was quite uncomfortable and cold. On top of that, everyone in my group was loud snorers!

We all woke up before sunrise, set up our cameras, broke out the tea, and watched the sun come up through the arch. It was a magical experience. As soon as the best morning light was over, we packed up and started to head back down.

After draining so much water wight out of our packs, the walk back was easier and we were energised by being around nature. We took a different route from where we entered to head down the cracks.

The crack going down was completely different from the one going up, by having a little ecosystem of its own filled with shrubbery and trees competing against each other for the limited sunlight. 

The cracks opened up nicely towards the end and we could see a huge part of the Cederberg.

We took our time heading down and decided that our little adventure wouldn’t end when we got to the car – we would do another small hike to wash ourselves off at the Malgat river and waterfall. After loading the car we drove to the Sanddrif Campsite and headed off to Maalgat where we jumped off a cliff into the cold, refreshing water. Desperate for a little road snack, we stopped for a great Houwhoek Pie.

This hike is filled with unexpected beauty that takes you away completely from civilisation and puts you into another world. It’s a fairly easy hike with some technical spots here and there, where you should be able to handle your own weight. However, the more weight you carry the harder it will get, especially on the first day. 

What we packed

  • 60 Litre Hiking Backpack
  • 1 x 2-man tent
  • Plasters
  • First Aid Kit
  • LOTS OF WATER – a minimum of 4 Litres
  • Headlamp or torch
  • Food (Easy to cook and lightweight to carry)
  • Camera
  • Change of WARM clothes
  • Sleeping bag
  • Knife
  • Rope
  • Gas, Kettle and a Pot
  • A little whisky for the cold!
  • Small blow-up mattress

To Book the hike via CapeNature costs R200 each for conservation fees and there is another R100 that is charged when you arrive at the Resort. 

Pictures: Joshua Le Roux and Matthew Schultz

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