After our Mountain Biking adventure in the Cederberg last year, it has been itiching in my fingers to return to the Cederberg and hike the two most popular trails: Maltese Cross and Wolfberg Arch. Last weekend, finally, a Land Rover fully packed with camping equipment and enthusiastic AWOL hikers left Cape Town towards Sanddrif in the Cederberg.
The Cederberg is a 100km long mountain range full of wonderfully bizarre rock formations, rugged towering mountains and ancient Bushmen paintings. Hiking in the Cederberg is a paradise for nature lovers and geologists. The mountain range is named after the Cedar Trees which were abundant in the area until the 19th century, when the trees were harvested to make furniture and telegraph poles. Unfortunately today the indigenous Cedar Tree is a highly endangered species. Despite this, hiking in the Cederberg you will still find yourself in midst of unspoilt vegetation and an exceptionally diverse flora.
Most of the Cederberg is a protected and designated wilderness area, making it one of the most undisturbed places in South Africa. On the first day, we started the 8 hours hike to the Wolfberg Arch rather late in the morning, the disadvantage being exposed to the strong sun and heat of the day, the big advantage, however, was having the Wolfberg for ourselves on the return hike.
We climbed up the Wolfberg for about 1 hour, arriving at the Wolfberg Cracks and sneaking through the biggest of the cracks, a narrow cleft reaching 30m into the bowels of the Wolfberg. The second half of the hike was flat and allowed us to admire the stunning rock formations whilst approaching the arch that soon came into sight. After a revitalising lunch break, we headed back and explored more of the Wolfberg Cracks, an incredible system of tunnels and large chambers with more arches! Back at Sanddrif camp, we prepared a lekker Braai and as it got dark, the night sky showed its amazing array of star constellations.
On Sunday morning we tackled the hike to the Maltese Cross, a fairly easy three hours hike. Looking at the Maltese Cross standing out so strikingly on a flat plain with mountains to both sides, it is hard to believe that this rock formation is natural and not man-made. Before returning to Cape Town, we enjoyed a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Dwars River to cool down after a hot day.
Hiking in the Cederberg is a must for every outdoor enthusiast that loves a bit of remoteness. AWOL guides would love to share this experience with you and show you the secrets of this very special place.