Photo by Scott N Ramsay

Stay in the world's largest open-air gallery

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Vast mountains, beautiful nature, tranquility and the possibility of hiking and seeing fascinating rock paintings. This can all be experienced at the Cederberg Mountains, 300 kilometres (168 miles) from Cape Town. Here you find ancient rock paintings made by the San Bushmen. The red-orange Cederberg Mountains stretch for 100 kilometres (62 miles) between Clanwilliam and the Citrus Valley. If you wander through this South African natural wonder you'll discover why this surreal place has been declared a World Heritage Site. 
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The Cederberg Wilderness area is a region that is not on top of everyone's list on a standard South Africa trip, that's why the desolate mountain range is even more special. In this area nature is still pure, unblemished and raw. The sky is clear and you look out over a sensational landscape that reveals itself at your feet. Since it is far away from cities with a lot of light pollution, you can fully enjoy the stars at night.


All the treasures of the Cedar Mountains will be revealed when you start hiking. There are a total of 250 kilometres (155 miles) of hiking trails. The vegetation is very varied: the mountain range is named after the endangered ceder plant that only is seen here. Baboons, porcupines, leopards and countless bird species roam the rolling mountains. The highest of those mountains is the Sneeuberg with 2028 meters (6650 FT). On your hikes you will pass gorged, red rocks and crystal clear rock pools.
The most beautiful are the jagged sandstone formations, cut out by rain over the centuries.

Where to stay

If you have the budget. Go to Bushman's Gorge Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat. This breathtaking guesthouse is located at Clanwilliam at the foot of the majestic Cedar mountains and the vast plains. Bushman's Gorge is a private game reserve with deep cliffs, rock formations and spectacular waterfalls.
They are committed to conservation and social responsibility and it is home to an unimaginable variety of flora and fauna.  They also serve as a steward for more than 130 cave sites painted by the indigenous San people, actively working to ensure that these expressive murals will tell the story of the land’s original inhabitants for generations to come.
The rooms in the classic Manor House (1843) and the suites (16 in total) are tastefully furnished to create a sense of comfort and tranquility

Best time to visit

When planning your visit it is always wise to check the weather. Summers, between December and February, are dry but hot: it easily gets warmer than forty degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Winters are cold, with sometimes even snow and frost. 

Between April and August you will also experience more rain than other months. Early in the South African spring (September) everything is beautifully in bloom. Spring (September - December) is our favorite travel period. Click here for the climate in Calvinia, a town close to the Cederberg mountains.

This article was last updated on August 20, 2020.