The echoes of African mountains – Visiting South Africa’s Cederberg

The Cederberg mountains and nature reserve boasts with impressive rugged rock formations, streams of fresh mountain water, centuries old rock art and delicious wines.  Located approximately 300 km from the mother city of Cape Town, a weekend camping, hiking and swimming is the best getaway from the city one could ask for.

Being in the wilderness has a way of calming my spirit.  Deep in the heart of the mountains in the Cederberg Karoo allows one to completely wind down.  After taking a three-hour drive through the picturesque Ceres valley, after endless dirt roads, our final destination was the Nuwerust Rest Camp (check them out here).  With no cellphone signal to speak of and only tents and open fires, you are allowed to completely wind-down.  The journey needs a little effort but once you absorb the tranquility, it all soon forgotten.  As part of the Karoo the climate is hot and dry with green patched along the mountain stream stretch.  The heat of the stones warms the water which make for an excellent swim.


There are various trails for hiking, cycling and 4×4.  We hiked to see some of the impressive rugged rock formations.  We also spotted the famous Bushman rock paintings from the indigenous San people.  This particular rock painting has been preserved safely under its overhang of heavy stone for thousands of years.  The painting of people and elephants gives off an eerie feeling.  You can sense that this is real African history.  The nomadic San people were the first in South Africa, before any of the black tribes or Westerners.  They lived peacefully with nature and moved around from place to place.


We went to see the famous Stadsaal (‘City Hall’) rock formation.  It’s kind of sad to see that people have written there names on the rock…but also kind of cool, some of the names were written on the rock in 1893!


The Cederberg is a great weekend getaway from the city.Β  There are many resorts in the area that offers chalet and bungalow accommodation, if you are not up for camping.Β  Camping is very cost-effective from only R50 per person per night.

A few notes on what to take with the exception of normal camping gear:

  • Good bug repellent to fend of all types of crawlies.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!
  • Good hiking shoes/closed shoes and long pants for when you maybe step on a little snake…
  • Enough petrol for the journey there, and back and for driving around.
  • Cash for firewood and ice.

This was a bit different from my normal traveling preferences but I really enjoyed it and came back feeling refreshed.