If you visit Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve in the southern part of the Cederberg in April and May, you’re in for a treat. Autumn is not when you’d expect a floral display in the Cederberg – but we were entertained by a bloomy show this past weekend. By Romi Boom
Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve is made up of eight farms and best known for the Stadsaal Caves – famous for numerous interconnected caverns and precipitous overhangs, with the rock pillars that offer stunning photo opportunities. One can spend ten minutes or three hours, it is that impressive – and a lot easier to access than the thrills of the Wolfberg Cracks!
Nearby is Elephant Cave, a well-preserved San rock art site depicting six elephant accompanied by rows of figures clad in animal skins. These are believed to be shamans engaging in trance ceremonies.
Another highlight of our stay was the showy display of the March lilies (Brunsvigia bosmaniae). Also known as the fragrant candelabra lily, these perennials have pink, narcissus-scented, funnel-shaped flowers, 20-40mm long. They occur on the stony flats in the western parts of the country. The leaves are dry at flowering, with the result that the stems appear to pop up from nowhere, emerging directly from the arid soil.
“The Brunsvigias are late this year,” says Rika du Plessis, reserve manager of the Cederberg Wilderness Area for CapeNature. Their pink blooms greet travellers coming from Ceres and are likewise widespread en route to Wuppertal.
I am often asked about the best time to visit the Cederberg. Winter is truly lovely, especially when we have snow, which is part of the Cederberg experience.
– Rika du Plessis
Rika points out that there is a variety of accommodation options, from the well-appointed Algeria with its shady and grassy campsite, to stone cottages at Uitkyk Pass and the isolation of Bakkrans Nature Reserve in the rugged Red Cederberg.
A permit is required to visit the Stadsaal Caves. For Wild Card members it is free.