Cederberg: April 2017
|( Heading back down the mountain after a wonderful experience at the Maltese Cross )|
What draws us back to these beautiful barren rocky mountains so often?
|( Sneeuberg peak – it’s viewed like this that and the vast open spaces that draw visitors from all over the world to explore this rugged landscape )|
Good Planning Makes for a Great Getaway
|( Our pre-briefing get together prior to our weekend away )|
Where would the most suitable location be for us to stay?
|(Self-catering cottages with that “Old quaint charm” taking you back in time …. )|
|( The Kromrivier Tourist Park carved out of these rugged mountains – an oasis in this harsh environment )|
There are Two Main Routes from Cape Town
|(The Nieuwoudts pass heading towards Kromrivier via Algeria)|
Origin of the San and Khoi people.
|(The Kromrivier – the silence is deafening )|
Crisp Clean Air Welcomes us to our destination.
|( Special moments with great company, huddled around the fire on a chilly April 2017 evening :
Friends: Hennie Genis, Brian Spratley, Beverly Delit, Justin Groombridge, The Armstrong family, Elsa Viljoen, and the Aitkenheads )
Having regrouped with our fellow campers and hiking friends we no sooner logged the activities for the duration of our trip. Unfortunately, the main hike which we had planned for had been closed due to a raging fire some months prior. Both the Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch were off-limits as it was recovering from these devastating fires.
|( Cederberg wilderness )|
Not to be deterred we quickly updated our itinerary and now included the famous Maltese Cross to our agenda. This is an awesome route to the foothills of the Sneeuberg mountain, with a towering sandstone monolith, it was an automatic substitute. The Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch would need to wait for another long weekend.
Kromrivier Tourist Park gets a Modern Upgrade
|(Ultra-modern yet in keeping with the natural environment – the newly upgraded reception building and restaurant for Kromrivier Tourist Park )|
|( Warm and inviting – information on the history of the farm and the environment )|
|(Double volume modern reception and information center with a small shop for essentials)
Mixing Old with the Modern
|The original manor house of this working farm reminds me of the way things used to be – Kromrivier still produces their own wine )
|( Our basic self-catering accommodation right on the river was home for a few days )|
|( The new luxurious self-catering chalets, modern and spacious with a wonderful sense of charm )|
|( A meal with a view, don’t forget about the local brew and wines )|
Alternative Hiking Option One: Disa Pools
|( Justin and Bev on the Disa Pools hike )|
We ended up spending some memorable moments swimming in icy mountain pools but later we realised that it wasn’t the Disa pools but a smaller pool just before the main pool, more reason to go back and experience this once again.
|( Our “Disa Pool” picnic spot – chilly mountain water with one taker : Justin the brave one )|
|(After walking for – what felt like hours – we stopped at the next most suitable pool – “Our” Disa Pool )|
The picnic spot was great, little did we know that the real Disa Pool was a mere 500m ahead. ( The Maltese cross can be seen from this route)
|(Our failed attempt to find the Disa pools but an enjoyable walk )|
Alternative Hiking Option Two: The Maltese Cross
|A nice sense of achievement after this wonderful hike with one of the many special stone formations in this wilderness|
|( Making our way up the mountain on route to the Maltese Cross : Alex Aitkenhead )|
A clear path tacked you through some of the most amazing wilderness areas and you can’t help thinking that you are at one with nature and the great outdoors.
|( The first stop on our quest to the Maltese Cross )|
|( a special moment with wonderful people enjoying the great outdoors )|
|(Enjoying the views and warm sunshine after a chilly start)|
|Every angle of the Maltese Cross has a different mood, like a model she has many faces|
|( My wife and soul mate – always enjoying the outdoors and this trip was no different although I received many complaints that too much time was spent taking photos: guilty as charged )|
|No hike to the Cross goes without a group photo, our team at the top|
Night Time Fun
The night skies in the Cederberg are breathtaking, with zero light pollution the skies are awash with
bright stars. Not wanting to miss out we did not hesitate at the opportunity to visit the local planetarium for one of their planned presentations on the Milky Way.
|( The Milky Way is so clear and detailed, the night sky is washed in bright shining stars )|
Notes to remember: This is a very popular event that only takes place during the new moon phases. Take with some snacks, a soft blanket or pillow to sit on, and dress warmly as it does get rather chilly after a while.
|( With an early start, before sunrise, we spotted an owl while setting up for this sunrise photo through this elaborate grove of bluegum trees … more special moments )|
Swimming at Maalgat
On a hot summer day, nothing can be better than enjoying a cool refreshing swim in this mountain spring water at Maalgat pools. To get there, you start the walk from the Sanddrif camping grounds.
|( Back roads in and around the Sanddrif campsite on a chilly early April morning )|
|( Sanddrif camping area on the Dwarsrivier farm – very popular with Cederberg visitors )|
|(self-catering Chalets at Sanddrif – the scale of damage caused by the fire in 2016 to the natural fynbos was enormous )|
|( Sunrise over a small dam at Kromrivier we were joined by a giant kingfisher while admiring the view )|
Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve :
|( Typical hiking terrain in the Truitjieskraal area within the Matjierrivier Nature Reserve )|
|( The main entrance to this unique setting – the scenery was extravagant )|
Get your permit from the Kromrivier office to gain access.
|( Bev and Justin with some serious mountain biking in mind )|
|( Enjoyment for the whole family – rich colors and bold rock formations )|
|( Exploring the many caves and rock overhangs – with views across this rugged landscape )|
|( Michael Armstrong enjoying the solitude and beauty )|
|( Rachel Armstrong striking a pose in what looks like a miniature Wolfberg Arch )|
|( This is the end of the Truitjieskraal hiking trail – the Armstrong family making a show of force on this one )|
|( Signposts describing points of interest and the fauna and flora of the area )|
It goes without saying, our return visit is booked and paid for. We will return with a renewed sense of unlimited freedom – to cleanse the mind, body, and soul. Researching and reading about the area, describing the magic of the Cederberg, makes me yearn for the opportunity to soak in the tranquility and remoteness of this natural wilderness. We will hopefully gather our wonderful friends to join us in our next wild adventure. The Wolfberg Cracks and Arch will feature in our plans … can’t wait to rewrite the story…
|( Friends: Hennie Genis, Brian Spratley, Beverly Delit, Justin Groombridge, The Armstrong family, Elsa Viljoen and the Aitkenheads )|