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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...

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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Perdeberg Peak

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve The hike to Perdeberg Peak (640 m ASL) from near the bridge across the Palmiet River is relatively easy, following a gradual gradient over some 11.8 km there and back. It rewards one with spectacular views: south-west over the Bot River...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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The Postberg Trail

West Coast National Park The Postberg Trail is pretty exclusive, only opening for the spring months of August and September and accommodating just 12 hikers per day. It is a two-day trail of some 26 kms in length but with negligible elevations. Bring your own tent and...

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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...

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Witels – what else?

Having "done the Witels" back in 2009, I had little intention of doing it again, but then she-who-shall-remain-nameless talked me into another MCSA mission from 25 to 30 December. Anyway, when Christmas Day dawned it had already transpired that...

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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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