The Cederberg mountains and nature reserve are located near Clanwilliam, approximately 300 km north of Cape Town, South Africa.The mountain range is named after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), which is a tree endemic to the area.The mountains are noted for dramatic rock formations and San rock art. The Cederberg Wilderness Area is administered by CapeNature.Cederberg is now the generally accepted spelling for the area, which combines the English (Cedarberg) and Afrikaans (Sederberg) variants.
Geography and climate:
The Cederberg mountains extend about 50 km north-south by 20 km east-west. They are bordered on the west by the Sandveld, the north by the Pakhuis Mountains, the east by the Springbok flats and the south by the Kouebokkeveld Mountains and the Skurweberge. The main access road, the N7, runs to the west of the range. The nearest towns are Citrusdal to the southwest and Clanwilliam to the north. The area is sparsely populated.
There are several notable mountains in the range, including Sneeuberg (2026 m) and Tafelberg (1969 m). Tafelberg (Afrikaans for "Table Mountain") should not be confused with the Table Mountain in Cape Town. Notable landmarks include the Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Arch and Wolfberg Cracks.
The summers are very hot and dry, while the winters are wetter and cold with typical annual rainfall in the low lying areas of less than 700 mm.The higher peaks receive a dusting of snow in winter. Summer days are typically clear and cloudless. Due to the clear skies most of the year, it makes an excellent site for skywatching and has its own amateur observatory.
Flora and fauna:
The predominant vegetation is Mediterranean Fynbos in the wetter south and west, changing to semi desert scrub in the north and east.The endangered Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) of the family Cupressaceae and the Snow Protea (Protea cryophila) of the Proteaceae are endemic to the area, found only in more remote areas high up in the mountains.
Arable land is limited by the altitude, the dry climate, and the rocky terrain, and few farms exist. Rooibos tea is the area's most famous export, though fruit and tobacco are also harvested on some farms.The Cederberg area includes one winery, the highest in South Africa. Around the Wupperthal area are a number of subsistence farms.
Some commercial pine plantations remain around the Algeria forest station. Proteas and other fynbos plants are also grown. A number of farms have become predominantly guest farms catering for the local and international tourist market.There are no mining activities.
As a wilderness area, the primary activity is eco-tourism, including camping, rock climbing and hiking. The main campsite, Algeria, is operated by CapeNature, while others such as Sanddrif, Driehoek, Jamaka and Krom River are privately operated.
The Cederberg is renowned for its quality of rock climbing routes particularly around the Krakadouw and Tafelberg peaks. The Table Mountain Sandstone creates ideal conditions for spectacular routes. There are numerous day and overnight hikes including the popular and spectacular Wolfberg Arch, Wolfberg Cracks and the Maltese Cross.The area is also home to an amateur astronomical observatory, which regularly hosts open evenings for the public.
The Cederberg is also the site of the Senior Scout Adventure, a 10-day event for Scouts run every second year by the South African Scout Association.