The time had come to move onto the Cederberg (Cedar Mountains), which is a magnificent range of arid mountains situated approximately 200km north of Cape Town and covering an area of 1620 km2. This is a wilderness and conservation area and is still home to wildlife including the rare Cape Leopard.
The walking in the the Cederberg is special and our only concern at this time of year was that northern visitors might struggle with the heat in this rugged area.
Our first scheduled walk was the “iconic” Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch and we awoke to thick mist and chilly temperatures. But undaunted we began our approach to “the cracks”.
On the way we saw Cape Sugarbirds (Promerops cafer) which, as you can see from the photo below, are closely associated with Protea species (in this case Protea nitida). Because of this close association, the distribution of this bird species is restricted to the Cape Fynbos of South Africa.
We had opted to ascend the more adventurous crack, which we soon reached. The ascent begins with a short climb through a cave, which Carla and Lyn tackled with style.
Andy did his rabbit-impersonation as he popped out through the keyhole at the top of the cave.
Rather impressed with ourselves and the ease of the first obstacle, we paused for a group photo.
We continued around the corner and onto the dreaded ledge, which caused concern for some – but clearly not for Andy.
We paused once more for a group photo,
Before entering the next cave,
Where we found an insectivorous bat (Microptera species)
Had we known what weather was brewing outside we probably would have elected to remain and socialise with the bat, but in our naiveté we proceeded into the main chamber of the crack, where we found shelter from the rain (but not the cold) while we ate lunch consisting of mystery sandwiches made with door-stopper farm bread.
After lunch we pressed on deeper into the crack. By this time the rainwater was collecting on the surface and dropping in sheets down the sides of the crack.
The crack became narrower and narrower and wetter and wetter as we proceeded.
Ahead lay the dreaded “birthing canal” and “roped clamber”. Watch this space for the next instalment!