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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 […]

Finding and losing the old Limietberg Trail

Many years ago I “introduced” my young daughters to overnight hiking on the old Limietberg Trail from Hawequas to the old trail hut near Bainskloof village (day 2 of the trail continued to Tweede Tol). A hot February day and a long trail conspired to turn that introduction into an ordeal for them apparently. To […]

Karoo MTB Tour 2015 – epic

“Epic!” “Unforgettable!” These were some of the descriptions my co-conspirators (5 riders and 2 drivers) offered to describe this 8-day cycle tour along the back roads of the Baviaanskloof and Swartberg Karoo. Almost perfect weather, breathtaking scenery, no crowds, silence save for hiss of wind and crunch of wheels, no breakdowns nor flats, great company, […]

Kayaking to Duiker Island, Hout Bay

Deon and I resumed our double sea kayak trips off the Cape Peninsula after a break of more than a few years. We intended to launch at Three Anchor Bay but some or other mass walking/running event had sealed off any access to the sea between there and the Waterfront. Unamused we decided to head […]

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 […]

Heuningvlei cycle circuit

Our last visit to Heuningvlei, in the Cederberg, was so pleasant that we decided to make it a weekend base for some leisurely exploration around the area, which incorporates the Wupperthal Commonage. Some hiked to Middle-Krakadouw, others took a donkey cart tour, while we elected to cycle around the various mission settlements (“buitestasies”), some along […]

Agter Tafelberg – Paarl traverse

North along the Kraalstroom valley

Two things about this impromptu hike concerned me in retrospect. Firstly, I had a premonition the night before departure that it would end badly. Usually I do not experience premonitions, and never bad ones. Secondly, after strenuous bundu-bashing and scrambling with full-pack, and then “hitting the wall”, my attitude […]

Cruising the Lycian Coast, Turkey

Unlike more accessible portions of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, Lycia is relatively undeveloped. The ancient sites of Lycia are centred on the Teke Peninsula that is bracketed by the gulfs of Fethiye and Antalya. Historical records of the ancient state of Lukka date back to 1250 BC and ruins of these ancient civilisations are everywhere. Besides […]

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 […]

Cederberg MTB Tour

164 km circuit in 3 days

Colleague Johann Kistner organised this circuit of the Cederberg as a sort of team-building exercise. There was plenty of initial interest, but eventually the riders were pared down to 6, with Marion driving the backup vehicle – my trusty bakkie. Our route went from Clanwilliam, up Pakhuis Pass to […]

Fish River Canyon Trail

“…in the desert you can’t remember your name / ‘cos there ain’t no one for to give you no pain …” America’s Horse With No Name seemed rather apt as I reviewed the Go Pro video clips from this hike. The Fish River Canyon is a remote, ancient and dramatically harsh landscape as only a […]

Karoo MTB Tour 2014

Ah man – those were idyllic days on the backroads of the Baviaanskloof, Karoo and Little Karoo. I left my legs on Rooiberg Pass and my mind somewhere between Bruintjieskraal and Montagu. But it almost didn’t happen. Makadas Adventures’ tour was to be a repeat of the inaugural 2013 one but for various reasons the […]

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 […]

Bainskloof rock-hopper

The Bainskloof Rock-hopper is an annual, fun, MCSA outing involving bouldering and swimming up or down the Witte River in Bainskloof, between Tweede Tol and Eerste Tol (Second Toll and First Toll). Yes folks, tolling is as old as road-building despite what the current e-tolling controversy in Gauteng would suggest. The old pass‘s stonework and […]

Alexandria Trail, Woody Cape

A round-trip drive of 1700 km is a long way to go for a weekend hike. It would have to be really special to justify the travel I argued, especially in the face of Marion’s barely-concealed disapproval. Doubts loomed when Chris reported that his tendonitis could prevent him walking, and I detected in Santie’s Friday […]

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 […]

Somerset-Sneeukop – a birthday surprise

This hike will long be remembered for the sweet surprise of a birthday cake at 1105 m ASL. Yolanda and Kevin hatched the plot and Kevin carried it up in his already very full pack. He even played dumb when I happened to mention that it was my birthday as we took photos from the […]

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. […]

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 […]