Love sleeping out in the open… Just you and the bush? You decide where to set up camp in this untouched wilderness. By Michelle Ainslie

I love sitting around a campfire, drinking steaming Milo out of my plastic cup and looking up at the night sky, with stars that shine so much brighter than they do in the city. Camping is definitely one of my favourite activities, but bugs and other creepy crawlies terrify me. Which is why I always zip up my tent in all directions, even if I am just going out for a few seconds.

When I heard about the option of sleeping out in the open in the Cederberg wilderness, you can imagine my concerns. You are allowed to set up camp pretty much anywhere, just as long as you leave the area the way you found it.  You can venture into caves, wedge your sleeping bag between bushes, or lie out in the middle of nowhere.  No tents, no ablution blocks, no campfires.  It’s just you and the bush.

Cederberg-Arnold Ras

Pictures by JP de Vos

What beautiful hikes the Cederberg has to offer. Rock climbing, swimming in rock pools, viewing Khoi-San rock art and seeing wildlife such as klipspringer, grysbok, honey badger, cape clawless otter, aardvark and perhaps the elusive leopard, are just some of the activities you can enjoy.

The terrain is rugged and there is very limited accommodation.  If you aren’t keen to sleep under the stars, the Cederberg has modest eco-friendly spots, where you will be sheltered from the elements and wild intruders.  The environment has been left mostly untouched and that is much more important in my opinion than having a flushable toilet.

If you do choose to brave a few nights in the open, be aware that you need to be an experienced hiker.  The weather can change dramatically, shifting from extreme heat in the day to bitter cold at night.  The Algeria office provides topographical maps of the region, which is a must-have for planning your hike and not getting lost. You can also hire a reserve guide for added peace of mind.

Cederberg paintings-Arnold Ras