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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 […]

Cederberg the sedate way

December in the Cederberg is hot. So although Peter and I had all the best intentions of hiking into the wilderness from our camping bases at Sanddrif and Algeria, reality was decidedly less energy-intensive. We took a 9 km round-trip walk to the Maltese Cross and another similar walk up the Rondegat River above Algeria […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Canoe meets hippo at Mana Pools

Holed canoe. Two incisors about 90 cm aft of the guide’s bum.

There we were quietly enjoying the tranquility of the Zambezi from our Mana Pools campsite. As is so often the case, tranquility is an illusion in the wild. Suddenly there was a commotion upstream of us. A canoeing safari group had rounded […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]