Escaping to the Cederberg: Wolfberg and Tafelberg

It has been years since I last walked in the Cederberg. At one time we were regular visitors, not only hiking and spending weekends in CapeNature’s Herberg cottages, but also participating in the Botanical Society’s annual cedar rehabilitation efforts in the Driehoek area. Wilderness called once again and so I used Peter’s (Gaucho Pedro) visit [...]

Boesmanskloof: Hiking from Greyton to McGregor and back

There have been a few attempts over the last 150 or so years to build a road through Boesmanskloof between the towns of Greyton and McGregor (formerly Lady Grey). The road would link the Little Karoo with Cape Town via Robertson, McGregor, Houwhoek and Somerset West. All attempts either foundered because of lack of funds [...]

Arangieskop hike – take two

Arangieskop Hiking Trail is a very fine trail, well laid out by somebody who was determined to show the diversity of views and flora to be found on a single mountainside. Make sure that your knees are in good nick and that your pack is light, because the climb is unrelenting (8.34 km through 1313m) [...]

Sweni Wilderness Trail, Kruger NP

Almost 10 years to the day after the last occasion at Sweni with my wife and daughters, and late father-in-law, Marion and I returned to immerse ourselves in wild nature once more, with friends Paul and Debbie. As I have written many times elsewhere on this blog about this unique type of adventure, it is [...]

Table Mountain the easy way: Orange Kloof

The route up the jeep track that skirts Orange Kloof and the path up Disa Gorge is probably the easiest route up to the “back table” on Table Mountain, where the reservoirs are located. It passes through a restricted area and you will need a permit from SANParks or walk it in the company of [...]

Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail

Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail is variously described as “more spectacular than the Otter Trail” and “the best two-day trail in the country”. I have always been somewhat sceptical about these claims, but I have to admit that after doing it, there is some substance to them. It is seriously spectacular – but also fairly difficult. [...]

Boegoekloof Circuit Boland Trail

Some of the benefits of being a mountain club member are that you get to go to places that you would not normally be able to explore – and camp out there – and share the mountains with like-minded people who also know what they are doing in these lofty places. Although this hike uses [...]

The Otter Trail

19 to 23 January 2013

I last hiked the Otter Trail, perhaps South Africa’s most famous hiking trail, circa 1994 with some friends. It was mid-winter, fairly cold and mostly cloudy. Nevertheless, I remember that it was spectacular and never really expected to walk it again. Life is too short for reprises in my view. [...]

Patagonian treks: Torres del Paine

I could try and describe the extreme beauty of Torres del Paine in words – but that would be futile. I would rather let our photos convey some sense of its wonder and grandeur. We walked the classic ‘W’-trail over 9 days covering some 107 km, starting at the CONAF administration HQ near Rio Serrano [...]

Patagonian treks: Los Glaciares

The first of our treks in southern Patagonia during April was the classic circuit at the northern end of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park), in  Argentina’s Santa Cruz province. The 5-day circuit of 53.5 km takes one to the glaciers, lakes and forbidding mountains of the Andes, through southern beech forests, and to [...]

Leopard’s Gorge, Kogelberg

Here’s an easy yet spectacular walk for the family. The 7-and-a-bit km hike takes you through a 400 m rise and fall in  elevation, from the Palmiet River valley, through an old indigenous forest to glorious views above Betty’s Bay. Photos and a Google Earth track follow…

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The Boland Hiking Trail

Aka The Return of Gaucho Pedro

This 3-day hike was like old times again – hiking with Peter Groves, my erstwhile hiking buddy who is out from the UK on holiday. Peter is also known as “Gaucho Pedro” after his escapades in Patagonia last year. The Hottentots Holland section of the Boland Trail is a [...]

Jonkershoek Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is one of the Jonkershoek valley’s classic day trails. From the bridge (Witbrug) at the apex of the circular road, where you climb the left side of the valley, to where you descend to the Swartboskloof parking area, you will walk about 17.1 km, climb through 1665 m (maximum elevation is 1267m) [...]

Cape Point’s east coast

The 13 km walk down Cape Point’s east coast from the gate to the restaurant at the point is possibly the most scenically spectacular hike in the country. Besides the vistas across False Bay, the precipitous drops to the rocky coast below and the way the peninsula unfolds as one skirts Judas Peak or Die [...]

Scherpenheuwel circuit, Franschhoek

The Mountain Club’s plan was to head up to Perdekop in the hope that, it being midwinter, there would be snow on the peak. Instead an unseasonal black south-easter raged, clouding in all the peaks around Franschhoek. So, plan B was activated. It amounted to a very pleasant 13.5km circuit of Scherpenheuwel, which [...]

Straddling the Olifants: wilderness walking trails

(another Kruger safari)

Olifants Wilderness Trail, Kruger National Park

Young leopard near Orpen. It was stalking impala. The rams were snorting at it and mobbing it.

The African bush has been calling for a while, so we packed up and headed 2000 km north-east for Kruger and our favourite means of really experiencing the [...]

Slanghoek Peak via Witte River

The route to Slanghoek Peak curves south and east up the Witte River valley.

Slanghoek from Slanghoek Peak

A fairly level and scenic walk from the car park at Eerste Tol on Bainskloof Pass of 12.5 km to a saddle below Slanghoek on Mountain Club property, known as Springstygbeugel1, almost traverses the Limietberg range [...]

Hiking Oorlogskloof’s Rock Pigeon Trail

Also known as “Wessel Reloaded”

5 days, 52.2 km (55.1 km according to my GPS recording), 18 hrs 27 min moving time at a moving average speed of 3 km/h

Yet another tunnel

We all agreed afterwards that Oorlogskloof is probably the best hike in South Africa – mainly because of the care and [...]

Simonstown to Smitswinkel on foot

Swartkop to Hangklip and beyond

We took the Old Mule Trail up to Blockhouse Gap where two old blockhouses, apparently built at the beginning of World War I to guard the eastern approach through the nek to the naval ammunitions magazines that scar the high valley above Simonstown, slowly weather away. From there a [...]

Victoria Peak with the Patagons

Kelson above Jonkershoek valley

At the beginning of the week that I finally became a member of the Mountain Club of SA, some of the Patagonian trekkers and I headed for Victoria Peak, the highest peak in the Jonkershoek mountains. It was a warm day with high cloud and haze and no wind. Pretty [...]