Cederberg Wilderness Area, Mount Ceder (#SecretCederberg) | April 2021
|(Mount Ceder, Melkbos Shepard’s Cottage and the impressive Blinkberg dominating the landscape)|
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic in April 2020, South Africa was in lockdown; we had no choice but to postpone our Cederberg adventure. It is hard to believe how one year has passed so quickly, fast forward to 2021. We visited the rugged mountainous wilderness and soaked up the silence and solitude that this vast area offers.
|(Through valleys and over mountain ranges we ventured into this beautiful world of the Cederberg Wilderness Area)|
|(We chose Mount Ceder as our base for this adventure, we were not disappointed)|
Having never explored the southern section in the Cederberg, we decided to book our holiday at Mount Ceder. Travelling via Worcester and then taking the Ceres route, we pushed on through to Oppie Berg, and finally, we entered at the Cederberg’s southern section.
|(Mount Ceder valley and surrounding mountains, how green and lush amongst the karoo scrub)|
|(Mountain pass road as you head north into the Cederberg Wilderness Area, this is the waterfall walking trail))|
Ten years earlier, having taken this route, how pleasant it was to have a different perspective via this unfamiliar route. Not much has changed, dry, dusty, corrugated roads, vast picturesque Landscape and the never-ending twisted roads that traverse one mountain pass after the next. It’s no wonder it took some time to cover the forty-odd kilometres of dirt road to Mount Ceder, enjoying the scenery and unique topography. With postcard images on every corner, it was difficult not to stop and admire the dominating sandstone rock formations and breathtaking Panoramas.
|(The Groot River, lifeblood of Mount Ceder in this dry baron landscape)|
|(Blinkberg in all its shining glory, what a magnificent glow in the setting sun)|
|(Tranquil setting along the Groot River)|
Located along the Grootrivier(Big river), with the imposing Blinkberg mountain to the south and the vast Cederberg wilderness to the north, we were finally in our happy place.
|(Melkboss cottage, private and away from the crowds)|
|(Star trails over the Melkboss cottage)|
|(large accommodation units along the Groot River, a warm sunrise over the valley)|
Our Shepards cottage with limited power, isolated and peaceful it was perfect. Little did we know that we could appreciate ancient Rock Art within walking distance of our accommodation. It was a privilege to explore your surroundings and discover such treasures; how blessed we were to savour these national treasures.
|(Another rare find, within walking distance from our cottage, ancient Rock Art)|
|(As you enter the Wolfberg Cracks, oh what a view)|
|(Cathedral of light, the main arch within the Wolfberg Cracks, a sight to behold)|
The wolfberg Cracks, rated as one of the top ten hikes in South Africa, would be our first challenge on this trip. Lunch stop in the cracks and some time to capture the splendour of this immense cathedral. We feasted on the remarkable cavern within the wolfberg and took a slow descent back to our vehicle. Yet another new rock art site awaited us at the bottom of this climb, marvelling at the delicate imagery that these hunter-gatherers shared.
|(New Rock Art site just below the Wolfberg Cracks hiking starting point)|
|(One has to admire these ancient works of art)|
|(Valley of the Red Gods, the attraction was too much to pass by without experiencing the power of these rock formations) )|
|(Sandstone formation so unique to the Cederberg, we paid our respects and enjoyed the company)|
As we approached the exit, the Vally of The Red Gods was another memorable distraction. Walking amongst these colossal Red Gods, savouring the experience, we departed, passing Kromrivier and on to Mount Ceder.
|(Protea Canary, new bird for my life list)|
|(Wind-still, warm evenings, just perfect to experiment with some astrophotography)|
|(Another new find, African Reed Warbler)|
Some late afternoon birding produced some unique birds, happy to tick off a few new birds, extending my life list. That evening, a dramatic Sunset unfolded, wind-still and warm; we experimented with some celestial images, hoping to portray the dramatic Milkyway. The silence was captivating, shrouded by bright star-studded skies; this is the magic of the Cederberg.
|(#SecretCederberg, the perfect setting for sundowners and some snacks)|
|(Marble Rock, another impressive rock formation, and some delicate Rock Art)|
|(Wide open spaces, #secretCederberg a memorable outing)|
|(Looking for Rock art at this remarkable rock formation)|
#SecretCederberg was as mysterious as its name suggests, excited at discovering new uncharted landscapes, a planned excursion hosted by Mount Ceder. We were in for a treat, one of the largest canyons in the Western Cape; the Rietrevier canyon viewpoint was breathtaking. Elaborate marble coloured rock formation, early rock art site with polychrome eland paintings had us in awe. As the sun began to fade away in the east, the skies glowed with orange and yellow hues. We had completely forgotten that this was a sundowner experience, so what a joy when we made our final stop just beyond an imposing sandstone arch.
|(Setting sun over the Cederberg valley, the colours were so vivid, yellow, orange and blue)|
|(Riet Rivier Canyon, carved out of the rocky landscape)|
|(Polychrome Eland Rock Art on the #SecretCederberg trail)|
Some local brew to help set the tone and mood, enjoying some snacks, watching as the sun slowly slipped away. On the way back to camp, we looked for nightjars and owls but no luck, content with the visual overload, it was another adventure-filled day.
|(The view was our reward, and it was worth the effort)|
|(Your welcoming view just before you arrive at Mount Ceder)|
|(The waterfall site, we had a refreshing swim and listened to the relaxing sound of the cascading water)|
We would be leaving in the morning and heading back to Cape Town, but the experiences, discoveries, sights, and sounds were memorable. Indeed, we fulfilled our desires to connect with nature.
|(Early morning sights and sounds, perfect conditions for celestial photography)|
|(On the way to the top of the Wolfberg Cracks)|
|(Yet another mesmerising Rock Art site on the #SecretCederberg Sundowner Trail)|
This Landscape of rugged beauty and dramatic mountains is what draws us here; we will return, ready to make new discoveries and find our inner peace and be as one with nature until then.
|(Cederberg Wilderness Area, what a welcoming sight)|
A huge thanks to the Mount Ceder team, who made this getaway such a memorable one.
|(Appreciating the finer detail left by these nomadic hunter-gatherers in the Cederberg Wilderness)|
|(Sunset in Mount Ceder, warm golden light works its magic on the mountain slopes)|
|(Our son admiring these ancient works of art)|