Cederberg

OVERVIEW

Cederberg Mountains: Wilderness within reach…

The Cederberg Mountains lie 2½ hours north of Cape Town and the Winelands. Yet this is like no other area of the Western Cape. Here, there are no manicured gardens, glitzy shops or boldly- marketed attractions teeming with tourists. Rather, you experience a raw, rugged beauty and a sense of peace and tranquillity. The Cederberg feels like it is far away. But in fact it is surprisingly ease to get to. It is truly wilderness within reach.

As you arrive in the Cederberg, you realise the landscape has changed. It’s wilder and warmer. The Cederberg Mountains, brilliant purple in the late afternoon light, tower over the fruit-filled valley which is laden with the scent of orange blossom in the spring.

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Why we love it

Spectacular Views

Untamed wide open spaces and spectacular views

Beautiful Nature

Famous for its hiking, unusual rock formations, Bushmen rock art & stunning spring flowers

Great Bouldering

One of the world’s top 5 bouldering destinations

Wine Region

Up-and-coming wine region

LoCATION

Getting to the Cederberg…

It takes an easy 2½ hours from Cape Town or the Winelands to get to Clanwilliam in the northern Cederberg (all on well-maintained tarred roads). 

Similarly, Swellendam and Robertson (great stopping points for the Garden Route) are only 3 to 3½ hours away. Whilst the West Coast (Paternoster and Langebaan) is only 2 hours away.

For exact driving directions to Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge, see How to Get There on our lodge page. 

Closest Airport

Cape Town

Drive time from Cape Town

Hours

Dry Season

Nov/Mar

Wet Season

May/Aug

(sporadic & low rainfall)

Best Time to visit the Cederberg

If you are a sun-lover then the Cederberg climate is for you! We have a much warmer climate than Cape Town, even though we are only 2½ hours’ north. Plus our winter climate is also noticeably warmer and drier. But we do have big seasonal differences…

Summer in the Cederberg

Our summers are hot, but dry, (so you don’t get sticky!) Perfect for the northern Hemisphere visitor keen to get some sun. If you want to be active, the ideal is to get up early, then come back for a late breakfast/brunch, and then do something less strenuous in the morning. In the afternoons you can relax around the pool or in your suite.

It generally cools down pleasantly in the evening and you can dine outside throughout the summer months. The Cederberg climate in early summer (November to December) tends to be less hot than January and February. Average daytime temperatures are typically 30-38°c. Evening temperatures are 25-30°c.

Some days can be very hot. But you can always either head up into the mountains where the higher altitude lowers the temperature. Or you can head to the Atlantic Coast. As, even though it is only 40 mins drive away, the sea breeze makes it remarkably cooler. It is usually only 25-28°c in summer..

Autumn for the Active

Our spring and autumn months are our favourite time of year. The day time temperatures are warm to hot, but you can still be active. The evenings are cooler but you can dine outside as long as you’ve got something warm to put on. Average daytime temperatures are typically 24-30°c. Evening temperatures are 15-20°c.

Daytime temperatures are such that hardy people try a dip in the pool. But we’ve built a heated pool at Cederberg Ridge to make the most of this time. 

Winter sunshine

There is a lot going for the winter climate in the Cederberg. Daytime temperatures can reach a pleasant 20-24°c, (much warmer than Cape Town!) So you can be active for the whole day, and still enjoy sitting outside for lunch. But our mornings and evenings are cold so this is the time for a long lie-in in bed, and red wine around the fire in the evening. Thus usually our activities start after breakfast. We are still a winter rainfall region, (like all of the Western Cape), so it can rain for a day or two. But we are officially a semi-arid region (less than 200mm per year) so you’re not likely to see much rain.


See our article on Reasons to Visit in Winter

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Spring flowers & fynbos

Spring is one of the best times to visit. The day time temperatures are warm, rather than hot, so you can still be active. As with most Spring weather, it can be quite variable, with some cooler days, some rain perhaps and some warmer days.

Early spring (August and early Sept if you are lucky) is the time of the wild spring flowers. Later on, the fynbos continues to flower into October. And everything is green, compared to the Mediterranean dryness of summer.

HIGHLIGHT 1

Unique in the Cape

We think that the Cederberg is the most African in feel of all the Cape destinations. What do we mean by that? Cape Town and the Winelands have a slightly Mediterranean feel to them. The Whale Coast and Garden Route are lush and verdant. They are all stunning destinations to visit. But the Cederberg feels very different even though it is only 2 hours to the north. Much wilder, much hotter, and very few people.

HIGHLIGHT 2

Amazing Hiking

The Cederberg Mountains rises majestically above the vineyards and citrus groves of the Oliphants River valley. There are a number of stunning hiking trails in the Cederberg.

HIGHLIGHT 3

Rock Art

The Khoi-San were the first inhabitants of Southern Africa, present from the Stone Age. For many thousands of years, the so-called Khoisan (in fact, several tribes of both hunter-gatherers and herders) were the largest human population on earth. Much of what we understand of the culture and beliefs of these indigenous people comes from paintings and engravings hidden in the landscape.

With some 2,500 documented rock art sites, the Cederberg is one of the best area in world to see some of their ancient rock paintings. These are usually to be found in lower-lying areas close to rivers often in caves or deep overhangs.

HIGHLIGHT 4

Bouldering

The northern Cederberg, which is where Cederberg Ridge is situated, is one of the top 5 areas for bouldering in the world.

The epi-centre of the bouldering sites is Rocklands which lies approx 15 minutes easy drive from us. The best time for bouldering is May to August as this is our winter time so the days are usually sunny and warm. But not too hot.  

Check out our article about Bouldering at Rocklands in the northern Cederberg

HIGHLIGHT 5

Spring Flowers

The northern Cederberg makes a great base to visit the wild spring flowers which bloom on mass during August (and early September if you are lucky.) The best displays are to be found in the Biedouw valley, the Doring River and Nardouwsberg which are all a scenic drive from Simbavati

HIGHLIGHT 6

Wine Tasting

The Cederberg is also an up and coming wine region, with a number of boutique wine estates joining the more established Cederberg Cellars. You can visit some of these wine estates, either en route to us. Or during your stay. Kromrivier, Cederberg cellars and Driehoek are all in the high Cederberg. Whilst Tierhoek and Piekenierskloof are en route to us. Yet more wine estates are to the north.  

HIGHLIGHT 7

Rooibos

Rooibos is a major industry in the Cederberg. The Cederberg also happens to be the only place in the world where rooibos tea can be successfully grown. So this healthy caffeine & tannin-free tea is exported throughout the world to Europe, Japan and the USA for example. You can enjoy a Rooibos farm tour with us, or visit the House of Rooibos in nearby Clanwilliam.

OUR COLLECTION OF

Cedarberg Lodge(s)

Into the wilderness, out of the ordinary…

Cederberg Ridge is a luxurious wilderness lodge offering delicious food, warm hospitality, and adventure. Enjoy panoramic views over the natural rugged beauty of the Cederberg Mountains and the range of excursions and activities we offer.

A stylish ‘away-from-it-all’ experience, yet it’s only a 2½ hour scenic drive from Cape Town or the Winelands.