Hiking in the Cederberg

Five Great Cederberg Hikes

We found this very informative article courtesy of news24:

http://www.news24.com/Travel/South-Africa/Five-great-Cederberg-hikes-20130122

If you feel the need to escape from it all and experience a bit of wonderful wildness, heading to the Cederberg area is always a good idea. Located about 200km from Cape Town (factor in a 3 hour drive, because of gravel roads), it’s viable as a day outing, but if you have time to spare a weekend break is definitely the way to go.

We check out five hiking trails worth exploring while there. Groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people per day. Permits are either available from Algeria Forest Station/campsite or Sanddrif.

From Algeria

Algeria is Cape Nature’s main campsite for the Cederberg Wilderness area, and the start and end point for a couple of the day hikes.

Middelberg Waterfall walk

Distance: 4km

Time: 3 hour return

Difficulty: Easy

Highlights: A short, moderately steep walk up the mountain from Algeria Campsite. The route is clearly marked and ends at the picturesque of the Middelberg Waterfall – the perfect spot for a picnic and dip in the small pool.

From Dwarsrivier/Sanddrif

Privately owned by Cederberg Cellars, Dwarsrivier is a few km along the dirt road from Algeria and also the point where many of the day hikes start and finish.

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Maltese Cross

Distance: 7 kilometres

Time: 3,5 – 4 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Highlights: The easily recognizable footpath is marked with cairns pointing the way to the 5-storey rock formation, dubbed the Maltese Cross. The out-and-return route starts with a mild uphill climb and then an easy downhill return along the same route. The entire trail offers superb views of the Cederberg Mountain range.

Lot’s Wife & Window Rocks

Distance: 1,6km

Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Highlights: While you can drive, take a leisurely stroll from Dwarsrivier towards Algeria instead, until you see the Lot’s Wife parking sign. Taking on the shape of a petrified praying woman if seen from the correct angle, it’s no surprise why the intriguing rock was named after the Biblical woman who turned into a salt pillar when she looked back to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. From there you start a gentle walk to where the beautiful Window Rocks can be seen.

Wolfberg Cracks and Arch

Time: 8 hours return

Difficulty: Tough, only for seasoned hikers

Highlights: Starting about 1,2km from Sanddrif at the foot of the Wolfberg, the trail takes you through three cracks in the rocks – of which the third one is the hardest to climb – and eventually the famous arch at the top. Although there is an alternative route via the Riff, the same route is recommended on returning from the Arch. When obtaining the passport, make sure you get proper directions for the route from the office staff.

Stadsaal Cave and rock paintings

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Distance: Okay, okay. It’s not actually a hiking trail, but you can spend much of the day exploring and adventuring the area once you’ve reached it by car… and it really comes highly recommended.

Time: Depends entirely on you!

Highlights: Once you’ve obtained your permit from any of the tourist offices in the area, head along the gravel road that leads to Ceres and look out for the Stadsaal Caves sign. A gate limits access to the area, but with the permit you will receive a key. First stop off at the well-preserved bushman paintings, depicting what seem to be elephants. From there, meander along to the large Stadsaal Cave, either on foot or by car. Here you will see some more modern kind of ‘rock art, ‘ including the names of ministers, writers and presidents that had been grafitied there by the men themselves.

Cape Nature has put together an extensive hiking guideline for visitors to their parks, check it out for useful tips and suggestions.

Cederberg Wildlife

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One of our many resident agamas searching for his morning meal at Gecko Creek. Found the following descriptive from the website Scarce:

Biology The southern Rock Agama is probably the most well-known lizard in South Africa . This is because of its extensive range and the conspicuousness of the brightly coloured males perching on rocks and fence poles along roads. It is diurnal and mainly rock-dwelling. It may form dense colonies and both males and females maintain territories, but those of males are larger and may contain those of several females. It has a polygynous mating system and a dominant male will mate with several females within its territory. Females will mate with any male that gains access. A dominant male normally perches on the highest point in its territory and does a characteristic pushup display and head nodding when intruders come too close. When danger threatens it hugs the rock and its bright colours fade quickly so that it becomes camouflaged against the lichen-covered rocks. It can run at great speed over the rocks and also jump from rock to rock.Many people believe that it is highly poisonous. A farmer in the Kamiesberg once told us that the Rock Agama is responsible for many deaths among his cattle, particularly calves. According to him the lizard will jump on the back of the calve from a rock and then bite the calve in the neck region. The calf will die within minutes. There are of course no poisonous lizards in southern Africa, in fact there are only two poisonous species in the world, occurring in North and South America. It is, however, true that the rock agama can inflict a painful bite, drawing blood, because it has two fang-like teeth in the upper jaw.Its diet consists mainly of ants and termites, but it will also eat other invertebrates. It is oviparous and two clutches of 7-18 oval, soft-shelled eggs are laid in a shallow hole dug in damp soil, the first clutch during October-November and the second in January-February. Incubation takes 2-3 months.Agamas are closely related to chameleons, as is obvious from their ability to change their body colour and from the way they use the tongue in feeding. The tongue is, however, much shorter than that of chameleons.

 

Guests to Gecko

Spent an enjoyable evening with our Jenman group of guests (from Germany and Canada) and had some delicious Bobotie (a traditional Cape Malay dish) expertly prepared by Todd the guide.

Spent an enjoyable evening with our Jenman group of guests (from Germany and Canada) and had some delicious Bobotie (a traditional Cape Malay dish) expertly prepared by Todd the guide.

Havin’ a Hoot in the Cederberg

Cape Eagle Owl photographed at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge

Emielke captured this photo of a Cape Eagle Owl inside Leopard Rock at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge.