Hike to the Maltese Cross
On our last day at Kromrivier, we woke up at 5:30. We wanted to hike to the well-known Maltese Cross … another hot day was predicted and we therefore had to start early!
Once again, just a reminder that you must obtain a permit for this hike – either at the nearby farms (Kromrivier/Dwarsrivier) or at the office of Cape Nature at Algeria. On this permit you will find the code for the padlock to get access to the area.
Getting to the Maltese Cross via Kromrivier:
There are two options of how to do this hike:
- You can walk from Kromrivier along a 4×4 jeep track, until you get to the (official) starting point of the trail … information leaflets indicated this hike will take you 6-8 hours.
- Or, if you have a 4×4 vehicle with high ground clearance, you can drive on the 4×4 jeep track, park your car at the (official) starting point of the trail and start your hike … this will take you 3 – 4 hours.
What did we do?
Well, we have a 4×4 vehicle … and it was yet another hot day … we chosen the more adventurous option! Few things are better than to combine a hiking trail with a 4×4 trip!
After a rough ride of about 40 minutes, we arrived at the parking area where the Maltese Cross hike starts.
The trail is fairly flat … once you’ve scrambled over a rocky hill to the plateau. For about 20 minutes, this section got our heart rate up a bit.
Once we reached the plateau, it was easy walking with stunning views over the valleys and mountains.
The only ‘negative’ side of walking on the plateau, is that we were very much exposed to the hot sun! Fortunately, we started early, but we were also thinking that we needed to hike back after our visit to the Maltese Cross … and with temperatures once again rising to the mid 30’s degrees Celsius, we were eager to be back at the car before lunch.
Once again, we were amazed by the stunning flora on our hike. Although we were in the peak of our summer, we found the most colourful flowers and plants on the trail – the smell was pure nature!
We continued our walk through the amazing smelling fynbos bushes of the Cederberg Mountain … it was an absolute feast for the eyes.
We also reached a viewpoint of the valley below (and more of the rugged Cederberg Mountains in the distance). We could see the starting point of our earlier hike two days ago … I’m glad we didn’t continue on that day, it seemed like a long and hard climb to the top!
We were not entirely sure how much further the Maltese Cross were and it was with delight that we saw a big overhanging rock with enough shade where we could get out of the hot sun and rest for a while.
We had a few sips of our energy drink and enjoyed a small packet of peanut butter and more energy sweets … ready to tackle the last stretch!
And then … to our surprise, literally 10 minutes after we resumed our hike and walked over a hill, the impressive Maltese Cross appeared in front of our eyes!
The Maltese Cross stands alone, around 30m high. The rock type is quartzitic Table Mountain sandstone (there’s even quartz pebbles imbedded in the rock).
This is quite an impressive sight. One wonders … how did it get to this formation (yes, probably wind erosion over the years), but still … it’s just mind blowing!
It’s only when you stand in front of this rock formation, that you realise just how huge it really is! Or when you stand next to it for a photo and feel as small as an ant!
We spent quite some time here – walking around, taking so many photo’s from almost every angle!
After spending almost an hour at the cross, we had to take the trail back to our car. The sun was now very hot and we almost jogged back … you don’t want to be caught here in the fierce sun during summer time!
We couldn’t resist taking another break away from the sun at “our” overhanging rock. We still had two cooked eggs and took a 10 minute-break before continuing on the trail.
We walked from the Maltese Cross to our car in less than an hour – probably driven by the hot sun! But we made it just before 12:00 (the hottest time of the day) and were more than happy to take the 4×4 road back by (an air-conditioned) car!
On route, we noticed a couple of houses. It must be amazing to have a house here, between the mountains and away from civilization, don’t you think … well, maybe not for the city girls/guys, but still 😉.
Back at our campsite, we headed straight to the river! With a cold beer and our feet in the ice-cold water, we reflected back on a great hike. We’re really glad we could do this hike to the Maltese Cross – even in hot conditions – and wouldn’t mind coming back during winter to do this again … with the possibility of seeing snow on the trail!
Every time we visit the Cederberg Mountains, we enjoy it thoroughly … and promise ourselves to be back soon! Thank you that you camped and hiked with us (yet again)!