The name of one of the towns, Citrusdale, reminds you of the importance of fruit growing to the local economy, but one other important business is that of tourism, which is also flourishing due to the natural beauty of the region.
This region is known as Cederberg and here lies the Cederberg Wilderness Area.
This places is something of a hikers’ paradise and features a magnificent landscape which includes majestic jagged sandstone mountains. Their colour changes with the passing of the sun, and usually ends with an unearthly deep red at sunset.
Cederberg, too, is known for its strange-shaped rock formations at an area which is descriptively known as Rocklands.
Here you can still see ancient San rock-painting sites. The San are Bushmen who have occupied the area for many millennia.
It’s not all dry bushland and gnarly rocks though, for here you will also find many burbling streams in which to cool off.
Local wildlife is both exotic and varied. Be patient and you will likely observe a variety of animals, such as baboon, small antelope, leopards and lynx. Native foliage includes the rare mountain fynbos such as the delicate snow protea and the Clanwilliam cedar.
Walking is indeed popular, but trekkers must have their wits about them. This region is designated as “wilderness” so there are no laid-out trails as such. Maps are available locally, and they do indicate how to reach the main places of interest.
These include the huge Wolfberg Arch and the 30m-high (98-ft.) Maltese Cross, as well as to the two main Cederberg peaks, all of which are readily accessible.
The Cederberg Wilderness Area covers a whopping 710 sq. km (277 sq. miles). It is reached via a dirt road that lies halfway between the towns of Citrusdal and Clanwilliam.
Clanwilliam is a better base from which to start your adventures. There are a couple of attractions here including the country’s main Rooibos tea-processing factory. Likewise, you can visit the Ramskop Wildflower Reserve, and there is quite a charming drive to the nearby Moravian mission station of Wupperthal.
Camping is permitted in the Cederberg, or, if you are not into roughing it, you can book a self-catering chalet through Cape Nature Conservation.
For those who think that roughing it is having only two ice cubes in your drink then the luxurious Bushmans Kloof, northeast of Clanwilliam should be the place to stay.