Hiking (and camping) at Wolfberg Cracks & Arch
The Cederberg Mountains are known for its fantastic rock formations, deep valleys and beautiful colours with sunset and sunrise. There are quality rock climbing routes and the hiking trails trough these mountains are exceptional.
But besides this, it’s the ideal break away should you want to experience complete tranquility (and stargazing).
Where is the Cederberg Mountains?
The Cederberg Wilderness Area is 190km from Cape Town and situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It is a 100km mountain range which consists of Table Mountain sandstone, richly coloured by iron oxides and eroded into curious shapes … one we will visit this weekend … the well-known Wolfberg Arch.
We’ve headed towards these beautiful mountains on a long weekend to pitch our tent at the camping site of Sanddrif, near Dwarsrivier Farm. On the 2nd day of the long weekend, we’ve hiked with our backpacks through the Wolfberg Cracks and spent the night at the amazing Wolfberg Arch.
Note: Remember, you will need permits for both the Wolfberg Cracks and the Wolfberg Arch.
Berto getting ready to start hiking up the Wolfberg Cracks (which you can see in the background)
Keep in mind, there is no water on this route and you will have to carry enough drinking water with you … in summer time, it could get extremely hot, so be prepared not to dehydrate.
Just follow the narrow path all the way up to the cracks
The rock formations in the Cederberg are amazing
There are several ways to get in (or over) the cracks and we’ve chosen one that looked fairly easy. Our backpacks were quite heavy (packed with a tent, camping equipment and food).
At times, it was quite difficult for me to get both myself and my backpack over the rocks. Berto had to give a helping hand and sometimes carried both our backpacks in order for me to get over the big boulders.
Reaching the Wolfberg Cracks … Berto now carrying both our backpacks over the big rocks 😀
Inside the Wolfberg Cracks – what a feeling to be surrounded by these magnificent rocks
We’ve seen a couple of hikers in the cracks, but as they were heading back down, we’ve walked through the cracks to get to the path that will lead to the Wolfberg Arch.
We are now through the cracks and the walk turned into a flat hike towards the arch
The magnificent Wolfberg Arch in the distance
But before we’ve continued our last stretch of hiking, it was time to stop for lunch. In the shadow of a huge rock, we’ve set up our hiking stove to cook water for a cappuccino and enjoy tuna (out of a packet).
Time for something to eat and drink … and in nature, this is always a wondrous occasion!
It was quite hot when we’ve continued our walk, but the absolute beauty of the Cederberg Mountains made us forget about the heat.
We were now on our way to the Wolfberg Arch
The trail is fairly easy to follow to the arch as you can see the arch constantly in the distance … what started out as just a small “hole in the mountain”, grew bigger and bigger as we’ve got closer.
The trail that took us to the arch
The glorious Wolfberg Arch
There must be a hundred (or more) photo’s of the Wolfberg Arch on the internet, but to see this beautiful sight with our own eyes, were truly special!
What a sight – the Wolfberg Arch
We were the first hikers at the Wolfberg Arch and pitched our tent at a very nice spot. Later that afternoon, a couple more hikers arrived. A family of four also set up their tent close to ours, while other hikers only slept in their sleeping bags under the bright stars.
Our beds looked very inviting in our small hiking tent and we were looking forward spending the night at Wolfberg Arch
The peace and quietness were just what we’ve needed after our hike
We were not just carrying food and camping equipment, but also made sure we’ve had something to drink (other than water 😊) to enjoy after our hike.
Berto’s small flask with whiskey and a bottle of water specifically for the whiskey! I’ve carried my petite box of red wine to enjoy under the Wolfberg Arch
We’ve taken the time to walk around the arch and enjoyed the spectacular views
As the sun was about to set, it was amazing to see how the arch was changing colour to a deep orange.
The sun throws beautiful colours on the Wolfberg Arch
A breathtaking sunset after a hot day in the Cederberg Mountains
As darkness moved in, we’ve set everything up to prepare our dinner. Our small hiking stove was just big enough in order for Berto to prepare a tasty pasta meal.
Pasta time in the Cederberg Mountains
After dinner, and after everybody settled down, we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to just sit in quietness under the Wolfberg Arch and look at the stars … we seemed so close to it, the stars were everywhere and it felt as if we could reach out to touch them if we’ve wanted to.
The next morning, we were up before sunrise. While sipping on our coffee, we’ve enjoyed the wonderful moment of witnessing the upcoming sun bringing colour to the world around us.
The rising sun was turning the world into different shades of orange
The sun peeks through the Wolfberg Arch
After rolling up our sleeping bags and folding our tent back into our backpacks, it was time to hike back to the Sanddrif campsite.
The trail now descends down towards Sanddrif campsite
At some places it was quite steep down, but once again, the rock formations were stunning
Today was hotter than yesterday and there was not really any shade for us to hide under once we’ve got to the jeep trail. We were almost out of water and had to sparingly use the drinking water between us (maybe we’ve used too much water for the whiskey last night 😋).
The jeep trail we had to follow without any shade against the hot sun
Once we’ve got to the starting point of the Wolfberg cracks, we saw plenty of cars in the parking area. There were quite a lot of hikers on the route today and we were now glad we’ve almost walked on our own yesterday.
Almost at the starting point of yesterday’s hike … but still another 3km to our campsite
We drank our last bit of water at the starting point of the hike and could hardly wait to get back to our camping spot at Sanddrif!
A beer at the tranquil Matjies River after a great hike in the Cederberg Mountains
Pure joy! After a hike back from the Wolfberg Arch, the cold water was pure medicine for a tired and hot body!
It was an amazing hiking adventure and as always, the Cederberg Mountains gave us renewed energy and a peaceful mind – what a wonderful place!
This post was published in February 2019 on our blog, but we’ve felt it was a good idea to re-introduce this amazing hike and camp to our new blogging friends (while we are now on the camping subject for the last couple of posts) 😉.
We’ve done this hike in 2015