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Eikenhofkloof abseil, Groot Drakenstein

Eikenhofkloof is much more benign than Volstruiskloof. There are only about 7 shortish abseils down sloping walls rather than the precipitous, long drops down Volstruiskloof. So I would recommend that you do this one first if you are a novice. Paul Verhoeven led this Mountain Club outing and once more we were blessed with wonderful, […]

Volstruiskloof: 15 abseils later

Duiwelskloof (Devil’s Ravine), Duiwelstand (Devil’s Tooth), Groot Drakenstein (Great Dragonstone), Helshoogte (Hell’s Heights), Banghoek (something like Scary Corner) – these mountain feature names suggest something about the nature of the mountainscape in which this annual, mountain club abseil trip is located. The Groot Drakenstein massif rises to the east of greater Stellenbosch and is indeed […]

Alexandria Trail, Woody Cape

A round-trip drive of 1700 km is a long way to go for a weekend hike. It would have to be really special to justify the travel I argued, especially in the face of Marion’s barely-concealed disapproval. Doubts loomed when Chris reported that his tendonitis could prevent him walking, and I detected in Santie’s Friday […]

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 […]

Boesmanskloof: Hiking from Greyton to McGregor and back

There have been a few attempts over the last 150 or so years to build a road through Boesmanskloof between the towns of Greyton and McGregor (formerly Lady Grey). The road would link the Little Karoo with Cape Town via Robertson, McGregor, Houwhoek and Somerset West. All attempts either foundered because of lack of funds […]

Arangieskop hike – take two

Arangieskop Hiking Trail is a very fine trail, well laid out by somebody who was determined to show the diversity of views and flora to be found on a single mountainside. Make sure that your knees are in good nick and that your pack is light, because the climb is unrelenting (8.34 km through 1313m) […]

Sweni Wilderness Trail, Kruger NP

Almost 10 years to the day after the last occasion at Sweni with my wife and daughters, and late father-in-law, Marion and I returned to immerse ourselves in wild nature once more, with friends Paul and Debbie. As I have written many times elsewhere on this blog about this unique type of adventure, it is […]

Table Mountain the easy way: Orange Kloof

The route up the jeep track that skirts Orange Kloof and the path up Disa Gorge is probably the easiest route up to the “back table” on Table Mountain, where the reservoirs are located. It passes through a restricted area and you will need a permit from SANParks or walk it in the company of […]

Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail

Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail is variously described as “more spectacular than the Otter Trail” and “the best two-day trail in the country”. I have always been somewhat sceptical about these claims, but I have to admit that after doing it, there is some substance to them. It is seriously spectacular – but also fairly difficult. […]

The Otter Trail

19 to 23 January 2013

I last hiked the Otter Trail, perhaps South Africa’s most famous hiking trail, circa 1994 with some friends. It was mid-winter, fairly cold and mostly cloudy. Nevertheless, I remember that it was spectacular and never really expected to walk it again. Life is too short for reprises in my view. […]

Hell on wheels: Seweweekspoort-Anysberg

It sounded like a good idea: an unsupported bicycle tour through the Swartberge and Anysberg for me and Gaucho Pedro (Peter Groves) who was visiting from the UK. It is a good idea, except when the Karoo decides to visit a heatwave on you. Three successive 40+°C days made for murderous cycling. On day 2, […]

Square Tower Peak: where nobody goes

Square Tower Peak has attained a degree of notoriety in the Stellenbosch Section of the Mountain Club. When a club trail leader from Cape Town called Stellenbosch’s Paul Verhoeven asking for directions down from the peak, the helpful reply went something like this: “What are you doing of up there? Nobody ever goes there!” Well […]

Adventures at the end of the world

After Torres del Paine the mission was to sea kayak in the Chilean fjords. We (there were now only four) hadn’t done our homework very well, but had a vague plan to hook up with a kayak outfitter in Ushuaia, Argentina’s southernmost city on Tierra del Fuego. Shaun had the great idea to take a […]

Bobbejaansrivier potholes

The Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone does incredible panorama shots. This was taken on the Bobbejaansrivier (Baboon River), a tributary of the Witte River that courses down Bain’s Kloof. It was a beautiful midwinter day, yesterday.:

Digital Patagonia

Digitally processed images from the Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares treks and Tierra del Fuego. I have tried to select some of the better photos and give them some unusual treatment.

Perhaps it works and adds drama to the scenes; perhaps it doesn’t.

Click on the image below to view the photos in Flickr.

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Patagonian treks: Torres del Paine

I could try and describe the extreme beauty of Torres del Paine in words – but that would be futile. I would rather let our photos convey some sense of its wonder and grandeur. We walked the classic ‘W’-trail over 9 days covering some 107 km, starting at the CONAF administration HQ near Rio Serrano […]

Patagonian treks: Los Glaciares

The first of our treks in southern Patagonia during April was the classic circuit at the northern end of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glacier National Park), in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province. The 5-day circuit of 53.5 km takes one to the glaciers, lakes and forbidding mountains of the Andes, through southern beech forests, and to […]

The Boland Hiking Trail

Aka The Return of Gaucho Pedro

This 3-day hike was like old times again – hiking with Peter Groves, my erstwhile hiking buddy who is out from the UK on holiday. Peter is also known as “Gaucho Pedro” after his escapades in Patagonia last year. The Hottentots Holland section of the Boland Trail is a […]

Jonkershoek Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is one of the Jonkershoek valley’s classic day trails. From the bridge (Witbrug) at the apex of the circular road, where you climb the left side of the valley, to where you descend to the Swartboskloof parking area, you will walk about 17.1 km, climb through 1665 m (maximum elevation is 1267m) […]

Slanghoek Peak via Witte River

The route to Slanghoek Peak curves south and east up the Witte River valley.

Slanghoek from Slanghoek Peak

A fairly level and scenic walk from the car park at Eerste Tol on Bainskloof Pass of 12.5 km to a saddle below Slanghoek on Mountain Club property, known as Springstygbeugel1, almost traverses the […]

More Patagonian trek stories

Long-time hiking buddy, Peter Groves, has produced a monumental work that documents our three weeks in Buenos Aires and Patagonia recently. It is liberally illustrated with his magnificent photos. I highly recommend a visit. A guide to the 18 pages of his site follows….

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Climbing Twin Peaks, Jonkershoek

Climbing Jonkershoek’s Twin Peaks (“Die Pieke“) is one of the outdoor experiences in the Jonkershoek mountains. On this occasion I went with the mountain club (MCSA) on the “uitstappie“. An uitstappie is one of those wonderfully euphemistic, Afrikaans terms that could mean anything from a stroll in the park to a mission. A Twin Peaks […]

Patagonia trekking photos

As you may know I have just returned from 3 weeks’ trekking in Patagonian Argentina and Chile. Words don’t do it justice, so here are some photos while I figure out the words and prep the GPS tracks….

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VWS Jonkershoek firefighters in the Franschhoek mountains

Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly – my words were prescient: it has indeed become an “interesting” summer in the Boland mountains. Since December Volunteer Wildfire Services Jonkershoek (VWS-JNK) has been called out at least 6 times to fires in the local mountains (“local” is a relative concept – in our case it means 290 000 ha […]