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Visgat reprise

Thirteen years after the last time down the canyon, I had the privilege of another swim down this almost pristine gorge. The permit was arranged via the Cape Town branch of the MCSA by Paul Verhoeven at late notice. We dropped everything to descend it once more and we were not disappointed. It was a […]

Gentle adventures in the southern Cape

Our mid-winter tour of the Garden Route and Little Karoo ran the gamut of weather from crystal-clear, windless days to fierce storms, from balmy Karoo days to icy nights. We set off to take the roads less travelled and to stay at least two nights in a place to get a sense of […]

Tierkloof abseil

Paul Verhoeven arranged this exclusive adventure for a small group of mountain club members. It involved climbing the Peaks (¬®Pieke¬®), some of the highest summits in the Jonkershoek area and then 9 abseils down Tierkloof, the cleft that angles down south of the westernmost peak. I was a little nervous the night before and slept […]

Witels – what else?

Having “done the Witels” back in 2009, I had little intention of doing it again, but then she-who-shall-remain-nameless talked me into another MCSA mission from 25 to 30 December. Anyway, when Christmas Day dawned it had already transpired that she-who-shall-remain-nameless had had to withdraw due to sickness. I was committed, however, having agreed to ferry […]

Riviersonderendkloof zipline adventure

High up in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site between Stellenbosch and Grabouw, eleven steel cables spiral and zigzag down the Riviersonderendkloof (“river-without-end gorge”), forming a series of catenary for a thrilling, yet accessible, adventure. Conceived and operated by Cape Canopy Tours, the zipline ride has rapidly become one […]

Langeberg Traverse – Rim of Africa

“A mountain journey of no ordinary experience” goes the Rim of Africa tagline. It suggests an other-worldly, spiritual journey, or maybe a quest that will test you deeply. If I expected profound epiphanies as I wrestled with career frustration and anger, I was to be disappointed. Clearly I was not in the right frame of […]

Perdekop: racing the front

Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, Franschhoek

Every now and then Kevin gets the itch. On this day, in the full knowledge that a mommy of a cold front was on its way he talked me into a quick ascent of Perdekop, east of Franschhoek Pass. The hike up enjoyed brilliant blue skies and the panoramas from […]

Eikenhofkloof abseil, Groot Drakenstein

Eikenhofkloof is much more benign than Volstruiskloof. There are only about 7 shortish abseils down sloping walls rather than the precipitous, long drops down Volstruiskloof. So I would recommend that you do this one first if you are a novice. Paul Verhoeven led this Mountain Club outing and once more we were blessed with wonderful, […]

Volstruiskloof: 15 abseils later

Duiwelskloof (Devil’s Ravine), Duiwelstand (Devil’s Tooth), Groot Drakenstein (Great Dragonstone), Helshoogte (Hell’s Heights), Banghoek (something like Scary Corner) – these mountain feature names suggest something about the nature of the mountainscape in which this annual, mountain club abseil trip is located. The Groot Drakenstein massif rises to the east of greater Stellenbosch and is indeed […]

Witels

I’ve long heard of it and I’ve always wanted to go there. Much of the area is owned by the UCT Mountain and Ski Club and the Mountain Club (MCSA) is able to obtain permits. I went with the Stellenbosch section of the MCSA. But be warned: be fit or be young…

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Doring River rafting

The Doring drains the Tankwa Karoo through the Cederberg range into the Olifants River. It can only be rafted in the winter-rainfall months of July to September. Photos and a Google Earth file.

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Visgat Kloof

21-22 February 2004

Visgat. Ever since someone had told about this secret place I had wanted to go there. Finally my chance came – a “probationary” trip with the Stellenbosch branch of the Mountain Club of SA (“probationary” because I have to complete 3 trips before my membership application is accepted).

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Zambezi Canoe Safari

Tamarind Canoe Safari, Lower Zambezi, Chirundu to Mana Pools: 9 – 12 July 2001

Having eaten and drunk our way across Botswana and Zimbabwe, never having to lift a finger, we were quite keen to do something physical. The famous Lower Zambezi canoe safari (with Canoeing Safaris of Kariba) had been something I had wanted […]