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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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Overland Safari 2015 vlog

I don’t expect this post to be of much interest to others besides those who were in the party who drove the 8000 or so dusty kilometres. It is however a video record – comprising 5 short, amateur videos – of our overland safari through Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you are interested carry […]

Mountain pass descent hyperlapse videos

These three short hyperlapse videos of mountain pass descents on our recent Karoo MTB Tour were made by passing the GoPro Hero 4 Black clips through Microsoft’s Hyperlapse Pro software.

Descent of Holgat Pass in the Baviaanskloof:

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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, […]

Cape coast riding

As we prepare for what is becoming an annual, backroad cycle tour through the Baviaanskloof and Karoo, we have been cycling the Cape’s coastal roads, roads of unrivalled beauty. Here are two videos of recent Sunday-morning rides shot with the GoPro Hero4:

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 […]

Outdoor Vlogs

None of these recent activities (kayaking, cycling, windsurfing) warranted a blog post in and of itself, so I thought I would aggregate the short video clips into one post. They do give a sense of this beautiful part of the world that I get to call “home”. They also motivate me to redouble my efforts […]

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 […]

A change of pace: fast fun at KBay

Time to get back on the water and try out the Mastehero mast mount for the GoPro that I ordered online from Slovenia. I was pretty impressed with it, although I think it is intended for more modern masts of a smaller diameter. Consequently, I had to mount it close […]

Victoria Peak in the snow

The best experiences are always born of spur-of-the-moment decisions. Kevin Koorzen and I were both suffering from cabin fever after weeks of winter had gripped the Cape spring but as the first sunny day revealed white peaks, we were “on”. An early setback was being told at the Jonkershoek gate that the road was closed […]

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) […]

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. […]

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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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 […]

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 […]