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Botmaskop

Botmaskop is a 910 m peak near my home and is the first mountain I see when I leave for work each morning. Its form is unique in the Jonkershoek ranges, resembling the prow of a dreadnought. The hike up takes about 2 hours, following a spur through municipal tree plantations before it steepens sharply […]

Western Panorama Trail

Up Swartboskloof and down Kurktrekker, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The last time we ascended Swartboskloof I ended up under the knife to fix a ruptured disc. So this hike, once more with Santie – and Dorette – was something of a rite of passage, a reckoning with past trauma. The going was hot and my […]

Groot-Gouritz MTB Tour 2018

By popular demand we arranged another private MTB tour aimed at occasional cyclists, and not racers. The format was the same: reasonable daily distances, emphasis on touring and taking in the scenery, backup vehicles trailing us, plenty of stops and camping all the way.

Relive ‘Groot-Gouritz MTB tour day 3’

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Skeletons, tables, castles and caves

As I lie here recovering from spinal surgery, I thought I would post about my last hike of any consequence before the double bout with operating theatres, one planned and the other not. Santie organised this classic route ascending Skeleton Gorge from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, following Smuts’ Track to Maclear´s Beacon, across the front table […]

Beyond Gordon’s Bay’s anchor

Gordon’s Bay was our family’s beach during the ’50s and ’60s. We spent many playful hours in its warm waters, holidaying at Thelma’s Guesthouse – now long gone – and watching the fishing boats in the old harbour. The black and white photo below shows the bay and town in 1950. Compare the landscape to […]

Leopard’s Gorge hike, cycle back

From Kogelberg to Harold Porter Botanical Garden and back

I fail to understand why I hadn’t thought of it before. The Leopard’s Gorge hike is a perennial favourite: short and scenically spectacular, fynbos and forest. But the logistics of leaving transport at both ends, or walking the gorge in both directions, have never appealed […]

Ordesa

Walks in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, Pyrenees

After the Canal du Midi we rented a car at Carcassonne and drove through the Pyrenees to Torla in Spain, a mediaeval town high up in the mountains near the mouth of the Valle de Ordesa. Peter had argued for the canyon to be on our […]

Postberg Trail take two

I was privileged to be invited by Sonja to make up the numbers on the Postberg Trail hike almost exactly a year after the previous time. It was a week earlier in the flower season, and although the flower display is not as intense as last time, the peninsula and surrounding waters were spectacular […]

Canal du Midi

Canal boating from Négra Lock to Argens-Minervois

July saw the realisation of a lifelong fascination near the end of my sixtieth year celebrations: a canal boat trip on the canals of old Europe. I had seen a TV documentary about the Canal du Midi some years ago. Its construction was a grand, 17th century […]

Cederberg MTB Tour 2017

152 km in 3 days

Our cycling tour, organised by Magriet, colleague and fellow, serial Baviaanskloofer, followed a very similar format to the previous cycling tour two years ago and was also timed for the same late-autumn weekend in May. There were four stark differences though: this time we had warm, cloudless days instead […]

Kammanassie-Baviaanskloof MTB Tour 2017

The fourth edition of our private MTB tour which always features the Baviaanskloof, one of those places that can only be of Africa and of the eastern Cape of South Africa, has been refined over time to be a compact and leisurely cycling-camping tour along endless dirt roads, over precipitous passes and through unequalled arid […]

Perdeberg Peak

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

The hike to Perdeberg Peak (640 m ASL) from near the bridge across the Palmiet River is relatively easy, following a gradual gradient over some 11.8 km there and back. It rewards one with spectacular views: south-west over the Bot River mouth, south down to the Palmiet estuary, north into the […]

Wild Coast hike

The 5-day, 61 km (69 km by my GPS) Wild Coast hike down the scenic Pondoland coast featuring overnight stays at local homesteads, is one of those must-do hikes. Besides moving through the unfolding spectacle of the shoreline you will gain some insight into a fast-disappearing way of life. The trail crosses many river estuaries […]

Hiking to Cape Point

Table Mountain National Park

This 14.5 km hike from the Cape Point gate to the visitor centre at the point, down the False Bay coast, has long been one of my favourites. It offers spectacular views of the southern peninsula and False Bay across to the Kogelberg coast in the east. The trail undulates behind […]

Short walks in the Canadian Rockies

Jasper National Park

I extended a recent business trip to North America to visit my daughter, Heather, in Edmonton. She and her husband, Dirk, treated me to a fantastic long weekend in the Canadian Rockies, in Jasper National Park. Winter had officially set in and most attractions/activities were closed, but we were able to […]

The Postberg Trail

West Coast National Park

The Postberg Trail is pretty exclusive, only opening for the spring months of August and September and accommodating just 12 hikers per day. It is a two-day trail of some 26 kms in length but with negligible elevations. Bring your own tent and overnight at Plankiesbaai on the Postberg peninsula’s west […]

A short walk to Noordhoek Peak

Silvermine, Table Mountain National Park

It has been many years since I walked the Silvermine plateau and the spectacular ridges and peaks above Noordhoek. On the spur of the moment I decided to exploit Marion’s new-found interest in the outdoors to revisit Noordhoek Peak, and possibly Chapman’s Peak. Despite the bracing conditions, or maybe because […]

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 […]

The Swartberg Trail

The Swartberge – the black mountains – are literally black now. A recent fire, the second in quick succession, has charred them. The other wildfire a few years ago destroyed the third hiking hut so that the trail has had to be adapted to use only two huts over three nights – the Bothashoek and […]

Baviaans2Coast MTB tour

6-day mountain bike tour through the Baviaanskloof, across the back of the Kouga Mountains, across the Langkloof, down Prince Alfred’s Pass to Wittedrif

This time we decided to plan a more compact private tour, which still included the incredible Baviaanskloof but followed an old Thomas Bain-built pass to the coast. Previous tours had been the […]

The Whale Trail – take three

Almost fourteen years after the first time, we elected to sample the slackpacking option for this trail. Slackpacking involves paying R520 per crate/coolbox for transport from hut to hut. It makes for very good meals, meals that can do the “huts” justice. “Huts” and not huts, because they are actually beautifully sited and […]

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 […]

Stettynskloof to Du Toitskloof Traverse

Photo by Kevin Koorzen

This MCSA hike is led regularly by August Carstens since he participated in a mountain bike event along this route. I can’t get my head around the biking concept because there is no discernible path to speak of in the upper Stettynskloof while thick riverine bush and particularly […]

Cathedral and Banghoek peaks

Heading up Slabs

As Paul, the hike leader, had warned, the climb of the Cathedral (Second Ridge Peak) and Banghoek Peak would make for a “lang dag”. And so it proved to be. The MCSA party of fourteen covered 16.5 km and climbed a total of 1790 m over 10.5 hours.

We ascended via […]