Cederberg Farm Experience
Rockwood Farm is a part of the Sneeuberg Conservancy which is a grouping of about twenty connected farms running along the western side of the Cederberg Mountains from the Algeria N7 turn-off in the North to Rockwood Farm in the South. The goal of the conservancy is to manage farming activities in a way which ensures the preservation of the natural flora and fauna as a natural heritage for future generations. Rockwood Farm has been involved in an alien plant eradication programme along the banks of the river which runs through the farm. A large number of Australian black wattle and Acacia trees have been removed and there has been substantial new growth of a wide diversity of indigenous trees, shrubs and bulbs.
FLORA AND FAUNA There are many animals and birds on the farm. Check lists of the birds and flora are available. The most common resident bird is the striking Bokmakierie, easily recognizable by its bright yellow throat. Bokmakieries are frequently seen on the tops of trees and bushes singing their loud trilling duets The most common animal is the rock dassie, a small robust animal,the size of a large rabbit or very large guinea pig. Dassies are often seen sunning themselves on exposed rocks on the farm and the sharp bark of the dominant male is a warning to those in his neighbourhood to take cover. Klipspringers and baboons are often seen on the Cliff Walk. More rarely seen are the Grysbok and Grey Rhebok. The farm has natural fynbos vegetation which provides colour and interest throughout the year but in particular during the months of August to October . The most common proteas in the fynbos on the farm are Protea Nitida, or Waboom, with grey leaves and yellow flowers and Protea Laurifolia with pale pink flowers. They both flower between the months of May to August. The Rockwood tree (Heeria argentea), after which Rockwood Farm is named, grows up to 5 m in height and is always found among rocks and boulders.
WALKING TRAILS There are four walking trails through the fynbos for guests’ use. They are all “easy” walks with the Cliff Walk being the most challenging, although it has in fact been completed by an eighty year old lady! Maps indicating where the trails are located are provided.
SWIMMING POOLS Each cottage has a private swimming pool built amongs rocks, with beautiful views over the dams and valley beyond. All are filled with fresh water from the river.
THE CEDERBERG MOUNTAINS Rockwood Farm is situated in the southern part of the Cederberg mountain range approximately 700 m above sea level. The Cederberg, which is one of many ranges within the Cape Fold Belt, is approximately 90 kilometres long and 25 kms wide at its widest point in the middle. It rises steeply from the Olifants River Valley in the west and stretches to Wupperthal, the Doorn River and the Kouebokkeveld in the East and extends from Clanwilliam in the north to Citrusdal in the south. Its highest peak is the Sneeuberg (2028m) which is visible from the farm and provides a spectacular backdrop to the town of Citrusdal. The range covers an area of about 130 000 ha. The Cederberg Mountains are so-named after the Clanwilliam cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) which is endemic to the area and is found on rocky outcrops and summits between 1000 and 1700 m above sea level. Once common it is now sadly on the brink of extinction due to overexploitation of its timber. The mountain range consists almost entirely of sedimentary rocks of the Table Mountain Group and represents four formations viz from top to bottom: Nardouw, Cederberg, Pakhuis and Peninsular Formations. The latter formation is evident wherever the upper strata have been eroded away and is recognised by the magnificent rock formations which centuries of wind, rain, ice and snow have sculpted out of the soft sandstone. The Wolfberg Cracks, the Wolfberg Arch, the Stadsaal Caves and the Maltese Cross are but a few of these imposing formations for which the Cederberg is famous.
ROCK ART OF THE CEDERBERG For millennia before European occupation both the San (Bushmen – hunter gatherers) and the Khoi (Hottentot – sheep and cattle herders) clans lived in the Cederberg area. The first white farmers settled along the banks of the Olifants River in the first half of the 18th century. Trouble soon erupted with the farmers intruding upon the traditional hunting grounds of the San. As a result, the San, harassed first by the invading Khoi and then by the settlers, retreated into the mountains and tragically, by the end of the 18th century, had left the area altogether. However they left behind a rich legacy of rock art dating back 300 to 6000 years. The Cederberg has in fact more rock paintings per square kilometer, than anywhere else on earth. These paintings are essentially our oldest heritage in South Africa and are therefore invaluable. They are believed to be religious paintings, which record the power and experience of the priest (shaman). Many rock art sites in the Cederberg are accessible to the public.
Watch the video for a spectacular aerial view of Rockwood Farm, shot with a drone .