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

Hiking (and camping) at Wolfberg Cracks & Arch

The Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape Province 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. 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


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!

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