HIKING, Cederberg Park Kromrivier (3) – Final

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!

Permit:

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?

Driving on a 4×4 road to the start of the hiking trail

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 start of the Maltese Cross trail

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.

The rocky hill in the front is the only climbing on this trail
Finding our way through the rocky section of the trail
The path zig-zag over the rocks
The final few steps to the top

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.

Blue sky = hot weather conditions

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!

Even the grass was high and lush along the trail

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!

A great view over the valley. The parking area is almost in the centre of this photo (where we started our hike 2 days prior)

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.

A big rock – perfect place to rest
What a view from underneath our cool overhanging rock

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!

Energy comes in small packets 😉

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!

Our first glimpse of the Maltese Cross

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).

Getting closer to the Maltese Cross

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!

Maltese Cross

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!

Maltese Cross

We spent quite some time here – walking around, taking so many photo’s from almost every angle!

The 5-storey high Maltese Cross
Zooming in on the top part of the Maltese Cross
The perfect day to visit the Maltese Cross
A selfie of us and the Maltese Cross

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.

Great spot to relax
Here, one can clearly see the Maltese Cross trail
Heading back over the plateau
We saw burned fynbos bushes on the trail – probably evidence of an earlier wild fire
What a welcoming sight after a hot morning’s hiking … our car and the end of 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 our way back to our campsite on the 4×4 jeep track

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!

Relaxing after a few hot hours in the sun

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)!

Panoramic view over the Maltese Cross

55 thoughts on “HIKING, Cederberg Park Kromrivier (3) – Final

  1. Do what you can, as long as you can. I became disabled before I could visit here, or climb Lion’s Head. But I’ve been to Thomas Hut at Brandwacht Peak, Worcester, several times. And went looking for leopard in Bains Kloof. They’re there, but didn’t see any. Life is too short not to live it.

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    1. Yes, it’s a case of living every day to its fullest, isn’t it? We still have not climb Lion’s Head (and that after we lived in Cape Town for 20 years ☺️). I’m not so sure that I would go hiking for the sole purpose to look for leopards … but we know they are in the Cederberg Mountains as well (maybe they saw us and we didn’t saw them …). Thanks for your motivational words – it’s much appreciated!

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      1. I walk with a prescribed aid, as my balance is badly affected after numerous strokes. At the time, I lived at the foot of Lion’s Head with unrestricted views. Due to my situation, I hardly ever even got to the Prom and I never even walked circle route on Signal Hill. At night, hikers descend, wearing LED headlights. Lion’s Head then resembles a night train in the Karoo, what an awesome sight. There’s caracal (rooikat) and various snakes encountered by joggers, sometimes also fish eagles and Verreaux’s eagles. In the city.

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      2. Don’t they say it’s only when you loose something, that you really miss it? I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties. My husband always told me how awesome it was to see the hikers’ headlights early on a winter’s morning on Table Mountain when he went to work in the city. It’s amazing what you can encounter on these hikes (eagles are great, but preferably not snakes 😬).

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      3. I always miss nature, the awesome Western Cape mountains and its fynbos, a steenbok or duiker, cascading streams of fresh water, air that one can actually breathe….

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      4. I don’t take anything for granted, ever. Even the next heartbeat is never guaranteed. Death is all too easy. Cardiovascular disease taught me through heart attacks and strokes.

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      5. The leopards won’t attack, as they are much smaller than up north, due to their smaller prey, mountainous habitat and larger roaming areas.

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      6. A farmer at the Wolseley side of Bainskloof lost two large Boerboel dogs to the leopard, though. Dogs aren’t as tall as humans, so the cat will regard them as mice. 😂

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    1. Yes indeed, a great trail … one we would not hesitate to do again! I spoke to my brother in the UK earlier today and he asked me to sent a video of our blue sky to him – it seems the winter is now getting too long for them as well. I know what you can do: You can hop on a plane to your next (sunny) destination 🌞.

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    1. Yes, that cross was quite a sight! It looks “smallish” from afar, but it was only when I stood next to it, that I realised just how big it really is! This was a truly memorable hike, thanks for reading Maggie. Hope you have a great week.

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  2. Die Maltese kruis het seker vir julle ekstra betekenis, want dit herinner julle aan julle avonture op Malta. Ek is bevoorreg om hierdie pragtige tonele te kan sien sonder enige inspanning hoegenaamd!

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    1. Tannie Frannie, jy slaan die spyker op sy kop 😊 … ons het beslis aan Malta gedink toe ons daar onder die kruis gestaan het (dis net die blou Meditereense see wat kort gekom het)! Dankie vir die saam “stap” – en dit sonder om ‘n sweempie sweet te wys!

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    1. I’m happy to report it was an easy hike indeed (well, maybe thanks to that first part that we could drove in our 4×4 … otherwise it could have been a very long hike). I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, according to some records, the Maltese Cross was first climbed in 1949. It surely is no easy climb (and probably only for the experienced).

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    1. Yes, it’s amazing how the Maltese Cross just got bigger and bigger (and a whole lot bigger) as we walked towards it … to eventually stand next to this huge rock formation. Probably one of my favourite trails right now (maybe because it was an easy hike 😉), but honestly, the views were just astonishing!

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  3. What a great morning if hiking to reach the Maltese Cross. The selfie of you both us really nice. It must have been so relaxing to bathe your aching feet in the cool, clear water later in the day after such a successful trip in hot sun.

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    1. You’re absolutely right Marion … this was definitely a successful hiking trip! And I forgot to mention in the post, but it was only the two of us (therefor the selfie 😉), that’s something that normally don’t happen on this trail … well, maybe because it was on a Monday! Yes, the cold river water was pure medicine for our tired and hot feet 👣👣. Thanks again for reading about another hiking trip, have a great week!

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  4. Die rotsformasies en die veldblomme is so ongelooflik mooi Corna! Dit moes vreeslik warm gewees het om daar te stap. Ek is nie baie lief vir hitte nie en sou dit sowaar nie in die hitte kon doen nie! Die Maltese kruis is massief! Bly jy en Berto het darem na die tyd in die koel water gaan afkoel!

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    1. Dit was regtig ‘n vreeslike mooi roete (en ja, nogal warm ook) … ek dink dis beter om eerder in die Sederberge rond te stap in die koeler maande. Ja, die Maltese Kruis is ongelooflik mooi – en groot (dis eers wanneer mens daar onder hom staan dat jy half hoop hy besluit nie om nou om te val nie 👀). Daardie kaalvoete in die koue rivier water was HEERLIK!

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    1. Jy gebruik al die regte woorde hier in een sin! Soos jy ook al tevore genoem het, ons het pragtige plekke in ons land … hetsy die Bosveld met sy pragtige diere of die berge met rotsformasies uit ‘n ander wereld! Ons is werklikwaar bevoorreg om al hierdie mooi te kan sien.

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  5. That’s great that you were able to drive to the trailhead otherwise it would have been an even longer hike in the sun. The Maltese Cross looks incredible. I love the pictures of you guys standing at the base so we can get a better sense of the sheer size of it. Dipping your feet in the water afterwards must have felt very satisfying. I can see why you want to keep returning to the Cederberg Mountains. The scenery looks stunning.

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    1. Exactly what we thought – by driving to the official starting point, we reduced the time in the sun with at least 3-4 hours (a bonus on another hot day)!
      The Maltese Cross is out of this world … a stunning sight and a “must hike” when in this area (can’t believe we have never done this one before)! You’re so right – to put our feet in that cold river water, was pure heaven!

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    1. Yes, it’s indeed a beautiful area … and we have not seen half of it (there are still so many trails to explore). But the Maltese Cross was, for now, on our list and I’m really glad we did this hike (even in the hot conditions) – it was so worth it!

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    1. It’s true … when I stood in front of the Maltese Cross, I tried to imagined what it must have looked like thousands of years ago … mind blowing! And yes, it doesn’t look like a huge formation – until you put your hand on it!

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  6. Just a brisk morning stroll then! My goodness, you never cease to impress me. The cross is astonishing. Just how does one formation like that stand when everything around is gone? The forces of the Universe are indeed interesting! As always, a wonderful post.

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    1. Haha 😁, I wouldn’t say it was a ‘brisk morning stroll’ … but it wasn’t a difficult hike (maybe because we drove part of it). Oh yes, the Maltese Cross was probably one of my highlights of all our hikes thus far – to imagine what it was, is just impossible! I’m happy that you enjoyed this post Carolyn … glad we could took you into the beautiful Cederberg Mountains!

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    1. The fynbos bushes are my favourite plants/flowers in nature – they smell absolutely wonderful (for me, that is the smell of my home country every time we returned back from one of our overseas trips). I was in total awe of this beautiful rock formation – never seen anything like this on our previous hikes in the mountains! Exactly … sometimes eating a cooked egg in nature can make me feel like a queen 😉. Thanks for reading about our hiking trip to the Cederberg Mountains, it’s much appreciated.

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  7. Wow, what a wonderful hike and stunning landscape, an ideal base for climbers and hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The size and the shape of the Maltese Cross are quite impressive as are
    the unparalleled views of the Cederberg mountain range. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Yes, the landscape at the Cederberg Mountains are truly spectacular … and you’re right, this is heaven for especially the rock climbers! The Maltese cross was a wonderful sight (we hope to go there again during winter). Thanks for reading our final part of hiking in the mountains, hope your week is a good one. Take care, Corna 🌸.

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    1. Thank you once again for reading about (yet another) hike and your time to comment – it is so much appreciated! It was such a beautiful sight … it’s almost an overwhelming feeling to stand next to this amazing rock formation. The hike to the Maltese Cross was the perfect ending to our last day in the Cederberg Mountains.

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  8. Good decision to drive for 40 minutes rather than hike another 4 hours in the hot sun! Loved the flowers along the trail. And the cross! How is it still that tall as compared to everything else around it?? Amazing. Thanks for sharing more beauty from your country, Corna! 🌞

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    1. Oh absolutely! Maybe we should walk that extra 4 hours in winter, but for the hot summer it was definitely the right choice! That Maltese Cross is just mind blowing – it almost looks as if it was carved that way. Thanks for hiking with us again Lisa … we hope to see you again somewhere on our adventures!

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    1. Thank you so much for your reading about our trip to the Maltese Cross (and for coming along). The Cederberg Mountains are a beautiful part of our country with amazing rock formations … definitely one we always enjoy to explore!

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