Navigate

Archives

Cape of Good Hope Trail 11 years later

I had been wanting to walk this trail again for a while but had found it a little difficult to determine how and where to book it. Eventually it was booked in time for Peter’s annual pilgrimage to Africa – and coincidentally it was timed for almost eleven years exactly since we last hiked […]

Grootvadersbosch and Boosmansbos

At Peter’s suggestion, prior to his annual pilgrimage back to the Cape, we booked a couple of nights’ camping in Grootvadersbosch with the idea of perhaps hiking to the Boosmansbos forest. We had undertaken the 2-day wilderness hike way back in 1999 in mist and rain. I had also hiked down to Grootvadersbosch at […]

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 plantations before it steepens sharply […]

Western Panorama Trail

Up Swartboskloof and down Kurktrekker, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The last time we ascended Swartboskloof I ended up under the knife to fix a ruptured disc. So this hike, once more with Santie – and Dorette – was something of a rite of passage, a reckoning with past trauma. The going was hot and my […]

Panorama Trail in spring

It was fantastic to get back into the mountains again on a serious hike for the first time since the back op in February. And the Boland served up the perfect day: warm, windless, impossibly blue, water coursing out of the rock and seeps everywhere, and the veld ablaze with colour. The next day the […]

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 St Johns to Coffee Bay – and proceeds […]

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 […]

Beyond Gordon’s Bay’s anchor

Gordon’s Bay was our family’s beach during the ’50s and ’60s. We spent many playful hours in its warm waters, holidaying at Thelma’s Guesthouse – now long gone – and watching the fishing boats in the old harbour. The black and white photo below shows the bay and town in 1950. Compare the landscape to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Wild Coast hike

The 5-day, 61 km (69 km by my GPS) Wild Coast hike down the scenic Pondoland coast featuring overnight stays at local homesteads, is one of those must-do hikes. Besides moving through the unfolding spectacle of the shoreline you will gain some insight into a fast-disappearing way of life. The trail crosses many river estuaries […]

Hiking to Cape Point

Table Mountain National Park

This 14.5 km hike from the Cape Point gate to the visitor centre at the point, down the False Bay coast, has long been one of my favourites. It offers spectacular views of the southern peninsula and False Bay across to the Kogelberg coast in the east. The trail undulates behind […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]