Navigate

Archives

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. […]

Karoo MTB Tour

This is not a race; it is a tour!

Disclaimer: I am not a cyclist nor MTB rider, so take the following from whence it comes: from a hiker who found himself riding a bicycle for 7 days over 611 kms on dirt roads and tracks.

The first hint that this was not the leisurely […]

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 […]

Full moon at Dwarsberg

So there I was in bed, sleepily easing into a lazy Saturday morning with no particular plans or obligations when an SMS pinged in on my ‘phone: would I like to join the mountain club party that was heading up that morning to the Dwarsberg plateau to overnight under full moon? Somebody had withdrawn at […]

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. […]

Hell on wheels: Seweweekspoort-Anysberg

It sounded like a good idea: an unsupported bicycle tour through the Swartberge and Anysberg for me and Gaucho Pedro (Peter Groves) who was visiting from the UK. It is a good idea, except when the Karoo decides to visit a heatwave on you. Three successive 40+°C days made for murderous cycling. On day 2, […]

Square Tower Peak: where nobody goes

Square Tower Peak has attained a degree of notoriety in the Stellenbosch Section of the Mountain Club. When a club trail leader from Cape Town called Stellenbosch’s Paul Verhoeven asking for directions down from the peak, the helpful reply went something like this: “What are you doing of up there? Nobody ever goes there!” Well […]

Scrambling up the Cathedral

The tree where the leopards sharpen their claws

Katedraal is the Afrikaans name for the Second Ridge Peak, one of the thin, serrated ridges that line the eastern rim of the Jonkershoek valley south of the Pieke(Twin Peaks). The Mountain Club’s Stellenbosch section tackled it as yet another cold front made ready to pounce. […]

Solitary walk on Stellenbosch Mountain

Henge with roof

When Paul bailed from our planned hike I was so desperate to get into the mountains again that I did something that is not recommended and is potentially stupid: I went hiking alone. It was the first hot day of spring, 34°C or so, and crystal clear. Cape Point was clearly […]

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…

[…]

On top of Slanghoek Pile

Water on rock

Slanghoek Pile – the name is evocative. Of what I am not quite sure (slanghoek is Dutch/Afrikaans and translates roughly to “snake corner”). An MCSA outing, the hike there and back is 16.4 km in length and climbs and descends 1272 m. The walk up comprised two sections: the first was […]

A Table Mountain circuit

Bakoven from Kasteelspoort

In all the years of walking on the mountain I have never climbed Platteklip Gorge. At Peter’s suggestion we parked at Kloof Nek and tackled the 15.4 km circuit up Platteklip, through the valleys of Isolation and the Red Gods, to the reservoirs and down Kasteelspoort, and back along the Pipe […]

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 […]

La Motte to Franschhoek Pass traverse

In typical MCSA Stellenbosch style: a couple of koppies (little hills) on this uitstappie (outing). The numbers tell the story:

12.25 km maximum slope: 58.2% minimum elevation: 240 m; maximum elevation: 1405 m elevation gain: 1472 m; elevation loss: 1008 m moving average speed: 2.2 km/h (this number is a clue that it […]

Franschhoek to Jonkershoek via Assegaaiboschkloof

Assegaaiboschkloof looking east on a clear day

The mountain club’s plan was to walk from Franschhoek to Jonkershoek along the watershed via Emerald Dome and Victoria Peak. We would ascend Fortsnek and cross Noordkloofpiek, the scene of last year’s firefighting. It promised to be a long, hard, but spectacular, day. But an unseasonal south-easter […]

Fighting the Kogelberg fire

Murray, VWS crew leader, exits the Squirrel

The latest fire that swept through the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve last week was nothing short of disastrous. Young veld burnt again and all the eleven-year old veld has been destroyed, so that, in the words of a nature conservation official, “everything between Kleinmond and Paarl” […]

Paddling up the Steenbras

Pausing off Steenbras mouth

There isn’t actually much of the Steenbras River to paddle up, even on a kayak – only about 300 metres. Rather it’s the 13 km round-trip paddle from Gordon’s Bay harbour and the usually benign, but spectacular, rivermouth entrance that is most of the fun. On this last Sunday morning, […]