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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 […]

Summiting Sneeuberg

Cederberg Wilderness Area

It took me 32 years since my first hiking experience in the Cederberg to summit Sneeuberg – in my 60th year and on the occasion of the Mountain Club of SA’s 125th anniversary camp. Paul Verhoeven organised and led the hike and although it was advertised as part of the […]

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 […]

Video: Abseil training on Paarl Rock

Abseil training led by Teuns Kok for the Mountain Club of SA, Stellenbosch Section

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Video: Botmaskop to Saaltjie hike

Kevin led an MCSA hike from Botmaskop along the watershed to Saaltjie, the north-eastern rim of the Jonkershoek valley. It was the reverse of a route previously hiked. A pleasant morning that left me with stiff flanks. It must be because of all the cycling …

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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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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) […]

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 […]

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 […]

Climbing Haelkop, Jonkershoek

Another mountain club uitstappie to Haelkop peak (1390 m), one of the loftier peaks that rim the Jonkershoek valley. The route upwards to the watershed north of Haelkop is a fairly easy, yet relentlessly uphill, hike. Near the top the gradients steepen markedly. From the summit the views are panoramic and breathtaking. On […]

Climbing Twin Peaks, Jonkershoek

Climbing Jonkershoek’s Twin Peaks (“Die Pieke“) is one of the outdoor experiences in the Jonkershoek mountains. On this occasion I went with the mountain club (MCSA) on the “uitstappie“. An uitstappie is one of those wonderfully euphemistic, Afrikaans terms that could mean anything from a stroll in the park to a mission. A Twin Peaks […]

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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Climbing Victoria Peak

At 1589m Victoria Peak is the highest summit in the Jonkershoek area. It is visible beyond the valley from Stellenbosch and is often – as it is today – covered in a white blanket of snow. The route as shown in this Google Earth track winds up the eastern edge of the Jonkershoek […]

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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