HIKING – Wolfberg Cracks & Arch (Cederberg Mountains, SA)

Hiking (and camping) at Wolfberg Cracks & Arch

This hike was done in 2015

The Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape Province of South Africa is known for its fantastic rock formations, deep valleys and beautiful colours at sunset and sunrise. There are quality rock climbing routes and the hiking trails through these mountains are exceptional.

But apart from the above, it is also the ideal getaway if you want to experience complete tranquility (and stargazing).

Where is the Cederberg Mountains?

The Cederberg Wilderness Area is 190km from Cape Town. It is a 100km mountain range made up of Table Mountain sandstone, richly coloured by iron oxides and eroded into peculiar shapes. We were looking forward to our visit here over a long weekend – specifically because we would also see the famous Wolfberg Arch.

We decided to pitch our tent at the campsite of Sanddrif, near the farm Dwarsrivier. On the second day of the long weekend, we hiked with our backpacks through the Wolfberg cracks to spend one night at the amazing Wolfberg arch.

Note: You need permits for the Wolfberg Cracks as well as the Wolfberg Arch.


Get ready to start hiking towards the Wolfberg Cracks (which you can see in the background)

It is important to know that there is no water on this route, so take enough drinking water with you. In the summer it can get extremely hot here and you need to make sure you don’t get dehydrated.

Follow the narrow path all the way towards the cracks


Rock formations in the Cederberg are amazing

There are several ways to get through (or over) the cracks and we chose one that seemed pretty easy, especially since our backpacks were pretty heavy (packed with a tent, camping gear and food).

At times it was quite difficult for me to get myself and my heavy backpack over the big rocks. Berto lent a helping hand now and then and sometimes carried both our backpacks so I could find my way.


At the Wolfberg Cracks. Berto now carrying both our backpacks over the big rocks

Through the Wolfberg Cracks – what a feeling to be surrounded by these magnificent rocks

We saw a few hikers in the cracks, but they were all heading down the mountain, as we walked through the cracks to join the path that would lead us to the Wolfberg Arch.


Through the cracks and then the walk turned into a flat hike towards the arch


The Wolfberg Arch in the distance

But before continuing the last stretch of hiking, we stopped for lunch. In the shadow of a large rock, we took out our hiking stove to boil water for a cappuccino and coffee. Tuna from a packet was our lunch.

Lunch time in nature

It was quite hot when we started walking further, but the absolute beauty of the Cedar Mountains soon made us forget about the heat.

On the way to the Wolfberg Arch

The trail is quite easy to follow up to the arch as you can constantly see the it in the distance. At first it just looks like a small “hole in a rock”, but as we got closer it got bigger and bigger.


The trail to the arch


The magnificent Wolfberg Arch

There must be a hundred or more photos of the Wolfberg Arch on the internet, but seeing this beautiful landmark with our own eyes was truly special!


Wolfberg Arch

We were the first hikers at the Wolfberg Arch and pitched our tent at a fairly sheltered and level spot. Later in the afternoon, a few more hikers arrived. A family of four also pitched their tent near ours, while other hikers just slept in their sleeping bags under the bright stars.

Our small hiking tent at Wolfberg Arch


The tranquility was just what we needed after our hike

We not only carried food and camping gear, but also made sure we had something to drink (besides just water of course) that we wanted to enjoy after our hike.

Berto’s small whiskey flask (and a bottle of water specifically for the whiskey), and me with my small box of red wine – it was now time to enjoy these under the Wolfberg Arch

There are spectacular views from the Wolfberg Arch

With the sun setting in the west, it was amazing to see the arch change colour to a deep orange.


The last rays of the sun on the Wolfberg Arch


Sunset after a hot day in the Cederberg Mountains

As darkness surrounded us, we set everything up to prepare our dinner. Our small hiking stove was just big enough for Berto to prepare a tasty pasta dish.


Dinner in the Cederberg Mountains

After dinner, and after everyone had settled down, we sat in silence under the Wolfberg arch and looked at the stars. The sky was so bright and it almost felt like we were surrounded by the stars – almost as if you could touch them.

The next morning we were already awake before sunrise. While drinking our hot coffee, we enjoyed the wonderful moment of watching the rising sun colour the world around us.


Sun rise and different shades of orange


The sun peeks through the Wolfberg Arch

After rolling up our sleeping bags and packing our tent into our backpacks, it was time to walk back to the Sanddrif campground.


The trail now descends down towards Sanddrif campsite

In some places the descents were quite steep, but again, the rock formations were stunning

Today was definitely warmer than yesterday and there wasn’t really any shade for us after we got to the jeep trail. Our water was almost done now and we had to sparingly use the drinking water between us.


The jeep trail without any shade

At the starting point of the Wolfberg cracks there were many cars in the parking area. There were definitely more hikers on the trail today and we were now happy that we could walk almost on our own yesterday.


At the start of yesterday’s hike and still another 3km to our campsite

We drank our last bit of water at the previous day’s starting point and couldn’t wait to be back at our campsite at Sanddrif!


Enjoying a beer at the Matjies River after a great hike in the Cederberg Mountains


After a hike back from the Wolfberg Arch, the cold water was pure joy

It was an amazing hiking adventure and as always the Cederberg Mountains gave us new energy and a peaceful mind – what a wonderful place!

This post was first published on our blog in February 2019, but we thought it would be a good idea to introduce this amazing hike and camp to our new blogging friends.


27 thoughts on “HIKING – Wolfberg Cracks & Arch (Cederberg Mountains, SA)

    1. Even when we hike (and camp), we like to have those things that spells a touch of luxury (like whisky and cappuccino 😉) – our reward after a strenuous hike! It was really one of our “wow” weekends – thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A justly reward and something nice to look forward to when you settle down for awhile. The only downside is that it must be a bit heavy to carry around especially when you are climbing up steep ascents. I think you must both be super fit! Well done!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Marion. I think we’ve learned over the years to pack light in order to move with greater ease, (but you’re right, doesn’t matter how light, it’s always getting difficult on the ascents) … at least we can look forward to a lighter backpack the next day 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, that arch is stunning, especially in the light of sunset and silhouetted the next morning! That hike would be too much for me, even without a backpack, but I can absolutely see that your night camping there was worth the effort it took to get there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah for “popping in” … Yes it is indeed the different colours of the arch that attracks so many hikers to this spot. I must admit, even I would struggle now on this trail, after I’ve enjoyed too much time during lockdown in our kitchen 😉.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear, you too? I had grand ideas that not being able to eat out would make this the perfect time to lose a bit of weight, but we need our comfort food and little treats at the moment, don’t we?!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maggie. It is indeed a beautiful place … I thought it was quite a climb to the cracks, but after reading about reaching Mt Everest on your blog, I now think the Cederberg Mountain is a more like a speed wobble 😄.
      Thanks for reading and following our blog – I’m looking forward discovering more gems on your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, thank you 💌. Yes, the stars in the Cederberg (and Karoo) is just spectacular! We’ve just came back from a 6 day trip through the Tankwa Karoo and a hiking trail in the Cederberg … and once again fell in love with nature!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that was quite a hike … I don’t think I’m now fit enough to do that one again. But it was pretty special to sleep under that natural arch – I would love to do it on another time. The other hikes we’ve done now, were a bit easier, but the scenery was still unbelievably beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s