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Solitude at Agtertafelberg hut

Kevin had suggested a hike that has long been on our list: the Wemmershoek Traverse from Mont Rochelle above Franschhoek across the Wemmershoek mountains to the MCSA’s Agtertafelberg hut. When the designated weekend arrived heavy rain was forecast so departure was...

Turret Peak mission

Koue Bokkeveld mountains In 2009 the inaugural Rim of Africa mega-hike was aborted two days shy of our destination, Turret Peak, due to adverse weather. By then we had been on trail for 10 or 11 days. But I have always wanted to eventually get to Turret Peak, so when...

Hunting in Assegaaiboschkloof

It’s spring in the Cape and Santie decided that she wanted to hunt a wild population of blushing brides (Serurria florida) in Assegaaiboschkloof, the valley in which the Berg River rises before it drains into the Berg River Dam. So Santie, Magdel and I set off with a...

A weekend at Zoo Ridge

Red Cederberg The name “Zoo Ridge” has always struck me as a bit of marketing hyperbole. It is a name given to an area between the Swartruggens and Skurweberg mountains in the south-eastern Cederberg. But when you get to wander through its mazes and arches and wonder...

A pristine winter’s day on Victoria Peak

At 1589 m ASL Victoria Peak is the highest summit in the Jonkershoek range. From the grassy dome one can see Table Mountain beyond Stellenbosch Mountain and Haelkop, south over the Groenland mountains above Grabouw and Elgin, the blue - and once more spreading -...

A militarised Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Kruger National Park This was my third or fourth Wolhuter Trail since the late nineties, but it was like no other. The anti-poaching ¨war¨ has changed the atmosphere in the park. It is like we are clinging on to a century-old, island model of conservation that is...

Gantouw Pass

Recently I have been stalking the Cape Town - Elgin heritage steam train on Saturdays to shoot drone video as it winds its way up Sir Lowry´s Pass - sometimes without success either because of excessive wind or arriving either too early or too late for the train. On...

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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...

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Coastal hikes in South Africa

Here is a guide to the South African coastal hikes I have had the privilege of experiencing. Hopefully it is useful to those who are planning to walk our beautiful and diverse coastline. The list starts at the north-eastern-most trail - the Wild Coast Trail from Port...

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Groothoekkloof descent

Traversing the Matroosberg from the Ceres side to the Hex River valley Paul Verhoeven proposed and led this 3-day kloofing trip as a more "sedate" version of the usual MCSA two-day dash down the kloof. Groothoekkloof descends rapidly from the ski slopes of the...

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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...

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Canal du Midi video clips

Here are five short, amateur video clips from our recent Canal du Midi boat tour. They are probably boring to watch, but they are a good record of our trip - and they may give you a sense of what to expect should you be planning a canal boating trip. For us, it was...

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Welcome to RalphPina.com

Thank you for visiting my outdoor blog. RalphPina.com documents my experiences over many years of appreciating, and adventuring in, Nature. It celebrates visual beauty, advocates minimal impact, reflects on humans’ relationship with our ecosphere, spans the planet but focuses on the wild diversity of southern Africa. Photos, videos and GPS maps of hiking, cycling, kayaking, abseiling, canoeing and windsurfing..

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