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Simonsberg

Simonsberg has been a looming, brooding presence in my life for almost fifty years. It towered to starboard daily on the short walks to engineering classes, and later on the cycle commutes to work. In stressful times when I needed calm and to gaze at something...

Smitswinkel – Simon’s Town Traverse

As with most hikes on the Cape Peninsula, this traverse is visually spectacular. It can be walked in either direction, but on this occasion the MCSA trail leader thought it better to tackle the steep section in the morning because high northerly winds were expected...

The Kogelberg Trail

The Kogelberg Trail is a circular, 24 km hiking trail in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Last weekend's walk was fifth time that I have done it, as I remember. All the gradients are gradual, there is no exposure nor scrambles and the trail has few obstacles. It is...

Twelve Apostles Traverse

Another bright idea from Santie. Peter and I had previously, many years ago, ascended Myburgh's Ravine and I suspect we came down Llandudno Ravine, but there are large sections of the Twelve Apostles that I have not walked. It was an exquisite day. The steel rungs at...

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...

Picnic at Hangklip

The unmistakable Hangklip (hanging rock) peak is in the Hangklip Core Conservation Area, one of many such areas in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. It is a nature gem wedged between the growing and ugly sprawl of Pringle Bay and Betty's Bay residential areas. The...

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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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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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