The Cederberg has some of the most accessible rock art sites in the country, some of them as old as eight thousand years. These are the work of ancestors of the San, hunter-gatherers who lived throughout South Africa for tens of thousands of years before any Europeans arrived in the country.
Only a two hour drive from Cape Town and you find yourself in amongst a series of sandstone, craggy mountains in a magnificent wilderness. Some of the rock art sites indicate this was once beach front, the myriad caves overlooking the sea. The paintings reveal that the San had a sophisticated belief system.
Much of the work records their religious experiences. Their art has lasted thousands of years. Not only were they skilled painters, but gifted artists, who could convey complex symbolic thought through their work.
Much of this Open Africa route is self-guided, although there are options to hire guides at some rock art sites (ask tourist information for details). Some of the better conserved rock art sites involve additional driving and an average hour’s hike before you reach them. The paintings are best understood with a guide.
The route starts in the Cederberg and continues through the Nardouwsberg, the Koue Bokkeveld and down into the Olifants River Valley, exploring the shallow caves and rock shelters used by the San.
West Coast Rock Art Route
WHERE? Start at Citrusdal or Clanwilliam tourist information and finish in Citrusdal.
WHEN? Daylight hours.
HOW MUCH? Free
- Start: Citrusdal or Clanwilliam tourist information
- Finish: Citrusdal
- Duration: As long as you want it to take, depending on how often you stop, but the route deserves at least a weekend
- Vehicle: You can self-drive this route in an ordinary sedan, although a 4x4 vehicle will give you access to dirt roads, of which there are many
- Our tip: To access the better conserved rock art sites you will need perseverance and some fitness, as they can be about an hour’s hike in
- Note: Take along a good pair of hiking boots
- Rock art hightlights include:
The 4 km Sevilla Rock Art Trail, day hikes to Stadsaal, Truitjieskraal, Southern Arch and Varkkloof, guided tours by the Living Landscape Project and Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve.