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Tankwa Cycle Tour

Via Ouberg and Gannaga passes Our regular private cycle tours were interrupted by the pandemic and as the Cape exited its second wave, with all beaches and parks having been closed to the public, the need to get out on some remote roads took hold. I started recruiting...

Orange Face Back Table

Camel Rock, Wynberg Caves, Table Mountain National Park This was an interesting hike, at Santie's suggestion, on the well-trafficked Table Mountain. It is a track less travelled on which we saw no one else although there were hundreds of walkers and joggers on the...

Dropping down Cascades

When Paul suggested a lockdown escape to Cascades in Du Toitskloof, with a little abseiling involved, I thought it a decent idea. I knew that the MCSA often scrambled up it and abseiled down the next day. My conclusion was that if you can scramble up it, it can't be...

Kloofing Visgat

Almost by accident I was nominated to lead a MCSA Stellenbosch section kloofing trip down the Visgat canyon. Visgat is a highlight of the MCSA Cape Town section's summer calendar and they kindly allocate a few dates to Stellenbosch. The fact that I could have easily...

Fighting aliens in De Hoop

My recent post, The Whale Trail in the Pandemic, has attracted enormous traffic, by the standards of my site at least. In it I opine that biological control of Acacia cyclops (rooikrans) in De Hoop Nature Reserve is failing because my - admittedly unscientific and...

The Whale Trail in the pandemic

As South Africa emerged from the hard lockdown in mid-2020, I became desperate to escape to the outdoors. On the off-chance that the Whale Trail was open, I contacted Cape Nature and easily obtained a booking for the trail in January 2021. The hugely popular trail was...

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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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...

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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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