The Cederberg is a rugged, mountainous, pristine wilderness in the Western Cape that offers the rock climber a wide range of climbing with routes ranging from beginner to difficult. The pristine environment is part of the spectacular Cape Floral Kingdom, and a national heritage site, known for the abundance of well preserved San Rock Art. In spring, the famous wildflowers erupt en-masse, which attracts locals and visitors alike.
Traditional and sport climbing as well as bouldering are up for grabs. Traditional or Trad Climbing involves rock climbing routes that do not have permanent anchors placed to protect climbers from falls while ascending. Gear is used to protect against falls but not to aid the ascent directly.
Unlike Traditional Rock Climbing, Sport Climbing involves the use of protection or permanent anchors which are attached to the rock walls.
Bouldering is climbing on short, low routes without the use of the safety rope that is typical of most other styles. Protection, if used at all, typically consists of a cushioned bouldering pad below the route and/or a spotter, a person that watches from below and directs the fall of the climber away from hazardous areas.
The northern area near Clanwilliam offers bouldering at the Pakhuis Boulders. The semi-desert setting of these beautiful rough, sandstone boulders is one of the top bouldering areas in the world. Sport climbing at Rocklands is probably the most popular sport climbing area in the Cederberg and has been well featured in magazines.
Also in the northern Cederberg, towards Wuppertal, Krakadouw is on the hit-list of every hard-core trad climber. Similar to the better known Tafelberg and Wolfberg climbing areas, but more remote, the somewhat intimidating climbing takes place on amphitheatres on the southern and western sides of the Groot Krakadouw peak, as well as some single pitch routes on middle Krakadouw. No bolting allowed, and no fires.
The central and southern Cederberg offers a range of opportunities. The sites are accessed from the Algeria Road, which branches off the N7 about 27km north of Citrusdal.
Sanddrif Crag is an easily accessible crag at the foot of the imposing orange cliffs of the Wolfberg. It has some absolutely superb, long sports routes in the easy to intermediate grades. There are two bolted areas: the Main Wall and the very recently bolted Weeds Area. There are also a couple of easy trad routes on Two Tier Crag to the right of Main Wall. Permits must be obtained at reception office at Dwarsrivier then follow the signs for the Sanddrif Holiday Resort. There are chalets and a wonderful, shady campsite at the resort.
The Truitjieskraal Rock Climbing routes are situated just 8km from NuweRust Farm in the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, Southern Cederberg. Nestled in the heart of the Cederberg near the famous Stadsaal Rock Art site, Truitjieskraal rivals Rocklands as the premier sport-climbing area in the Cederberg, with some outstanding single-pitch climbing in a truly spectacular setting. Small but impressive orange cliffs and huge boulders offer a range of routes, from easy beginner scrambles to serious challenges that will test even the hardest rock jocks. The crags are sprawled over a square kilometre accessed from three different parking areas and, in addition to plenty of potential for new routes, there are some great trad lines, including some very easy lines from grade eight upwards.
Also at NuweRust Farm are the Rooiberg traditional and sport climbing routes. The crags, which are situated about 40 minutes’ walk from the farmstead, were only developed recently and offer great routes, some of which are about 120 metres high on typical hard Cederberg rock, with massive potential for literally hundreds of routes, so grab your drill (or your trad gear) and head on out.
Wolfsberg Cracks The striking orange walls of Wolfberg, in the southern Cederberg, offer some of the best climbing on the planet on clean, solid rock. The most accessible of the Cederberg trad climbing areas, it’s a relatively short (if steep) walk of less than one hour from the parking area to the foot of the crags. There are routes to suit all grades. There are super-easy routes, like the five-pitch ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, which offer novices (and even kids) a spectacular introduction to trad climbing. Then there are mega-hard single pitch routes such as ‘Worlds Apart’ on the south-east face.
The great walls of Tafelberg, which dominate your view as you drive through the central Cederberg, have long attracted trad rock climbers. The lofty peak is close on 2 000m high, and has a rock band of about a kilometre long. There’s no shortage of great routes, and plenty of opportunity for the adventurous to open new lines. It’s a long, tough walk in, but the bizarre landforms, the incredible views and the chance to climb on stunning rock in such a wild, exposed location more than make up for the toil.
Cederberg Kromrivier – Climb Bobbejaankop, a rock climbing site on Kromrivier Farm for beginners to put their skills to the test before progressing to Cape Nature’s famous Truitjieskraal. Also close by is the Wolfberg Bouldering. Krom Rivier Farm.