Although the Cederberg was once a region where many Clanwilliam Cedar trees grew, this species is almost extinct today. Few cedars still occur naturally and are only found on the slopes of the Cederberg Mountains. Fortunately, modern science and advanced propagation methods continue to be employed to cultivate and re-establish this rare tree, endemic to this mountainous area.
Humans almost decimated the entire Clanwilliam Cedar species. One can only speculate on the reasons, beginning with the fact that they must have been unaware that these once-plentiful trees only grow in the Cederberg, nowhere else in the entire world.
Woodcutters and others probably lacked any knowledge of the species’ rarity or its value to the ecosystem, environment, biodiversity, and posterity. Ownership of vegetation found in an unpopulated mountain wilderness area would have been regarded as theirs for the taking.
These sensitive cedars are particularly slow growing, making the recovery of numbers, natural reseeding, and growth to previous levels highly unlikely. Mature trees were felled by the thousands in the Cederberg Mountain region, only to be cut and trimmed to uniform proportions – as telephone poles and for use in the construction field. Bush fires also took a toll on numbers, because cedars do not sprout again after burning; they are dead and lost forever.
Critically endangered and protected today, cedar was a sought-after material in furniture manufacturing, especially kists, boxes, and chests of drawers, because this timber is endowed with a unique natural fragrance, which keeps linens and other materials smelling fresh. Today, antique cedar wood furniture is snapped up and treasured by collectors, since the ageless fragrance and beauty of the timber endures, unhindered by age.
What is In the Name?
Some 200 years ago, before the Clanwilliam Cedar trees that had established themselves on the upper slopes of the mountains were all but decimated by timber cutters, the entire range was named the “Cederberg Mountains”. Millions of these trees were a significant feature of the rugged sandstone crags, peaks, cliffs, and unique rock formations. Clanwilliam is the name of one of the towns near the Cederberg.
A Remote Regional Resort
Because this perfectly pristine wilderness area is remote and sparsely populated, visitors require accommodation from which to explore the mountains, ancient San rock paintings, creatures, and myriad of features that combine to make the tranquil, romantic region a paradise for all who appreciate the history and heritage of a truly unique place.
Our resort and nature reserve, Kagga Kamma, lies right in the heart of the Cederberg and its mountain range. The sought-after, comfy accommodation options – in “caves”, huts, and outdoor rooms – excursions and settings for activities at Kagga Kamma are as unique as the area. Additionally, safe social distancing is simplicity itself at Kagga Kamma.