The hike up Cradock and George Peaks is long but you’re rewarded with spectacular views from the top and a great sense of accomplishment.
This walk starts from the parking at the Witfontein Forestry Station within Outeniqua Nature Reserve. There’s a turnoff from the 9/12 highway along Montagu Pass road, and the entrance to the reserve is shortly on your right. It’s open from 7:30am and is free to enter.
Map of Cradock Peak Hike Route
Tips for Cradock Peak Hike
- Take a lot of water, several litres per person, as it’s a long way up with zero shade. A sun hat is essential.
- The weather can change quickly in the mountains, and at the top will be much colder than at the bottom, so take warm weather gear and a rain jacket.
- Don’t attempt this hike in thick mist or very poor weather.
- Start early (7:30 if possible) before the heat becomes too much.
- The hike is also free, but you must fill out a permit at the Witfontein Forestry Station – there’s parking just outside.
- There’s a little stream to swim in near the end – a wonder for tired legs.
- For navigation on this hike you can use the offline maps app Maps.me.
- For more hikes in South Africa, see our South Africa Hiking Guide.
First, visit the Witfontein Forestry Station. You need to fill out a (free) permit here for the hike. You can leave your car just next to the station.
Starting the Hike up Cradock and George Peaks
From the car park at the forestry station, head across the grassy field following the signs for both Cradock and George Peaks. The path soon heads into a forest before returning to the open. The path then leads downwards to cross a small mountain stream. This is a great place for cooling off on the way back down.
Head right along the opposite bank of the stream for roughly 30 metres before continuing on the path leading left up out of the valley. This path is fairly small and can be a little tricky to find. There are two large zigzags in the path before you join a more major track. Head right along the track and follow it as it bends right and begins the ascent. Watch out for the spiders that love to create large webs across the hiking trail!
The path eventually reaches a railway contouring across the hillside. Turn right to walk along it for almost a hundred metres and then the path continues upwards to your right. Keep your eyes peeled for this path as it can be easy to miss.
The Route Steepens
At this point the climb really begins. You zigzag upwards to reach the end of a ridge and then proceed still upwards along the ridge to the saddle at the top. There are some nice views to keep you going.
Once you reach this saddle you’ll have done most, but not all, of the climb. There are great views from here and it’s the perfect place to have a break, some water, and perhaps reapply sunscreen. It’s quite grassy here and the ground can be boggy so your shoes might get a bit wet.
From the saddle, Cradock Peak is 1.8 km and 300 metres climb to your left, while George Peak is 1 km and 60 metres climb to your right. Getting to the top of Cradock Peak involves a little bit of scrambling, while the route to George Peak is a simple walk.
To Cradock Peak
Cradock Peak is 1578 metres high, and the tallest peak within the Outeniqua Mountain Range. Head left from the saddle and the start of the route is a simple walk. Once you get near the top, there’s a short scramble up a rocky step. It’s a few metres high and there are many edges and handholds. You’re also in a bit of a crack so it doesn’t feel like there’s much exposure.
Once you reach the top of the step, it’s again a simple walk to the peak. From here there are amazing views of the mountain ranges below and the inland countryside. After admiring the view, return back to the saddle.
To George Peak
George Peak is 1337 m high. From the saddle it’s a gentle walk along a nice, grassy hiking trail. First there’s a short downhill, and then a gradual uphill to the summit. At the top you have great views over the town of George below and the ocean beyond. After admiring the view, return the saddle.
From the saddle, return the way you came. It’s a long way down and your legs may begin to turn to jelly. When you get to the small valley before the forest at the end, it’s a great idea to have a swim in the little stream. It will cool you down and revitalise you for the final 1 km back to the car park.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the Cradock and George Peaks Hike. For many more hikes in South Africa, see our South Africa Hiking Guide.
FAQS: Cradock and George Peaks Hike
Cradock Peak is 1578 metres high and is the tallest peak within the Outeniqua Mountain Range. There are fantastic views from the top.
George Peak is 1337 metres high and from the top you can see many mountains, the town of George and the ocean beyond.