Slackpacker SA

Now THIS is the way to experience the outdoors!

  • You want to have an active, outdoor holiday and experience South African trekking – but you want to travel light
  • You want to walk the trails – but all you want to carry is your water, lunch, waterproofs and camera
  • You want to breathe the fresh air, smell the fynbos, absorb the views and feed your soul – but you want a guide to lead the way
  • Come the end of the day, you want your drink cold, your shower hot, your meal home cooked and your accommodation comfortable – but you want to be spared the logistics and the schlep

Well, congratulations – you’ve come to the right place – that’s what Slackpacking is all about

  • ……….. and if you don’t have the time or the inclination to hike the overnight trails we can guide you on some amazing day walks in most parts of  Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula.

For more information complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za or read on.

Slackpacker SA offers multi-day trails that last from two to six days. Overnight stops are in top-notch camps or lodges set in beautiful surroundings. You’ll have your own qualified guide with all the specialist knowledge required. You’ll be shuttled to and from the beginning and end-points and your luggage will be transferred between overnight venues. Best of all, you’ll be served a home-cooked meal and a choice of drinks at the end of the day’s trek. After an active day and good company you will sleep comfortably in serviced accommodation.

Great hikes, great photo opportunities, great chat, great memories

For those with less time, there are day hikes on Table Mountain and in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, as well as walking-tours in the Cape Winelands.

Based in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, we operate within the Table Mountain National Park – stretching from the city centre to Cape Point, 60 km away – as well as in the Cape Winelands, Garden Route, Overberg and West Coast. We also partner with trails on the Wild Coast, in the KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg and other parts of South Africa. But wherever we take you, it’ll be in true Slackpacker SA style.

Traditional South African hospitality, exquisite natural scenery
and healthy physical activity all rolled into one

Slackpacker SA can also take care of the tour arrangements for your entire visit – your itinerary, accommodation, airport shuttles, visits to interesting venues and attractions, wine tours and other outdoor activities. You could join one of our pre-arranged tours, or we could create a private itinerary just for you.

Whether you join us as individuals, couples or groups, for a special event or as a team-building group for a corporate event, rather focus on the serious business of having a good time – and let us take care of the rest.

Imagine waking up on top of a mountain in a Natural World Heritage Site, in the middle of a vibrant city!
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Klapmutskop Hike and Wine Tasting

Klamutskop - Delvera June 2014_0002Hiked up Klapmutskop on an overcast Sunday morning. The idea was to go wine tasting if it was raining too hard but the slight drizzle at the start passed over quickly and apart from a very short downpour of light hail, no rain on the rest of the walk. The 360 degree views from the top are quite beautiful with a multi-coloured patchwork of farmlands below. The cry of a fish eagle passing by while we had our tea was a bonus. The three and half hour walk brought us down in time for lunch which after finding most of the wine farm restaurants fully Chesney Tour - Nov 2014_0012 (1)booked, we eventually found at the Blaauklippen Food Market (every Sunday for future reference). This was a good choice but we only just managed to scrape in a wine tasting at Neethlingshof at about 3.45, before the farms all closed up for the afternoon.

Klapmutskop & Wine Tasting - 12 July 2015_0025

Klapmutskop and Wine Tasting – 12 July 2015

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Cape Point – Day Walk Alternatives

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015054

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is one of our favourite areas for some reasonably easy but very rewarding hiking. The views down the False Bay side of the coast are quite extra-ordinary and the Atlantic Coast has some beautiful beach and the special interest of the Shipwreck Trail. Our regular, shorter, easier, circular routes are on the Atlantic Coast, with the slightly more strenuous options being on the False Bay coast.

A spate of recent fires in the greater Table Mountain National Park did not leave this area untouched, with a freak lightening strike igniting a fire along the Atlantic Coast, just at a time when the Silvermine fires were being brought under control. For the short term, this means that most of our Atlantic side trails are closed.

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015180With this in mind we have been exploring the options on the more spectacular False Bay coast. The best known and most used of these is the linear route from the gate of the Reserve, near Smitswinkel Bay, to the Rooikrans view point – a distance of abut 13km. This forms part of the Cape Point Trail, but when done as a day hike, requires the transport logistics of a car at each end. Our best option is a circular a circular route that starts at the Buffelsfontein visitors centre and follows the same  route to Rooikrans, before turning around and dropping down to the coast for the return trip. Here there are three options:

  1. For a short hike – about three hours – from the Buffelsbaai Cape Point - Meridian June 2015112picnic area, take the tar road back to the visitors centre.
  2. A slightly longer option – about four hours – to carry on further along the coast to Bordjiesrif before taking a short section of the tar road to Booi se Skerm and joining the short cut path back to the visitors centre.
  3. Carry on further along the coast to Booi se Skerm and taking the path up to Kanonkop. From Kanonkop it is about an hour’s walk back to the visitors centre. This route takes about six hours.

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015157A fourth alternative is to walk from the visitors centre up to Kanonkop and then back to Booi se Skerm before joining the short cut path back. This is also about three to four hours. Times can be delayed by the temptation to stop regularly to take photos and to enjoy the spectacular scenery. The photographs tell the story.

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015150

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Perdekop Hiking Trail – Franschhoek

140This scenic hiking trail is in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, just outside the town of Franschoek, in the Western Cape. While the town is known for its wine and it’s gourmet restaurants, the surrounding mountains offer some very accessible hiking routes, ranging from a short two hour excursion, to a full days hiking such as this one. The destination is Perdekop (Horse Peak), from where there is a 360 degree panoramic view. While the walk up is fairly easy, the steep route down is challenging on the knees.

After last week’s rain, Sunday was one of those wonderful, sunny, Cape winter days. Nevertheless it was a cold start with a breeze coming off the snowy mountains not far away. Once we got walking the beanies and fleeces soon came off. The first part of the hike is a fairly easy undulating hike, to Uitkyk view point. There was plenty of opportunity to stop to take photographs of the views back down the valley to the Theewaterskloof Dam. We stopped for tea at the view point, enjoying the view over the Wemmershoek dam. The trek up from there to Perdekop is slightly more strenuous with the destination hidden from view133 for most of the route. Once it came in to view it seemed to get further away as we got closer. We made it there by lunch time and enjoyed the amazing 360 degree views all the way to Cape Town and Table Mountain in the distance and Worcester in the opposite direction. The circular path leads back down the valley to the start. Although shorter, this is the most strenuous part of the hike, with the path being almost entirely downhill and very steep in places. By the end most of the party knew where their knees were and there were a few sore feet and thighs. All was worth it though and certainly rates as another of the most scenic hikes in our beautiful Cape. It was great to stop for a quick cup of coffee in Franschhoek afterwards.

We will have to make a plan to come back for wine tasting on another occasion.

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Kasteelspoort rain challenge

Table Mountain Trails

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_001 With winter finally coming to Cape Town, the hiking enthusiasts, especially the weekend are faced with the temptation to curl up in bed with a good book on a Sunday morning, instead of getting out there and enjoying the Mountain in the rain. Hannes (hike leader) thought the only way to overcome this was to issue a challenge to motivate a few stalwarts in to action.

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_007It did not seem to have much effect however as only two of us joined him. Nevertheless it was a very rewarding hike, with the rain staying away for the most part. Parking at Kloofnek, so that we could do a circular route, we hiked along the Table Mountain Pipe Track, meeting plenty of runners and a few walkers on this section, until we came to the Kasteelspoort path intersection. I always enjoy this path as it is steep enough to be challenging but…

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Vlakkenberg Ridge – aftermath of the fire

Table Mountain Trails

Vlakkenberg Ridge - Fire aftermath April 2015_0001

As I get the opportunity to walk through the fire affected areas of Vlakkenberg and Silvermine and all the areas in between, I will publish my photos and reflections on the destruction and the recovery. This is the first of those as I got to walk on Vlakkenberg Ridge yesterday.

Vlakkenberg Ridge - Fire aftermath April 2015_0002

The walk up from Constantia Nek shows just how close the fire came to descending in to Constantia Nek itself and the potential for crossing over the road. We can be grateful that this did not happen as there are huge stands of gum trees and other alien vegetation in this area.

Vlakkenberg Ridge - Fire aftermath April 2015_0015

Looking across from the saddle the burnt area extends as far as the eye can see, over the Constantiaberg and across to Silvermine and Muizenberg Peak. Looking down to the Constantia vineyards, there is stark contrast between the green of agricultural area and the burnt National Park and…

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Cederberg Heritage Route – Sevilla Trail

The final day of this particular option is a guided walk along the Sevilla Rock Art Trail. After breakfast we were met by local guide and rock art expert John Mountain, for transfer to Traveller’s Rest, where the trail starts. The road out of Wupperthal is quite spectacular and a visit to this area, via the Biedou Valley, is worth just for this drive. The gravel road showed sign of being worked on and for the most part, was in excellent condition. Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0266 Although the trail is only 4 km in distance, it has nine rock art sight with an incredible variety of images. I have walked the Savilla Trail several times myself, so was familiar with the area. John, with his expertise, gave new insights in to the history and the interpretation of the rock art.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0294

The terrain is fairly flat, following the bank of a riverbed and the walking is easy. John has so much to add and so many stories to tell, that it took us a bit longer than anticipated, with the only negative was that we could easily have spent another hour or two with this interesting man. Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0292

For a full album of images from the Cederberg Heritage route click on the image below.

Cederberg Heritage Route – Dec 2014

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Cederberg Heritage Route – Wupperthal

The town of Wupperthal is small, picturesque and has an interesting history. It is famous for it’s rooibos tea and has a small factory outlet with a full range of the local product. As we were in self-catering accommodation, we wasted no time in finding this and stocking up for both immediate consumption and to take home. Apart from the natural, original flavour there are a few variations such as mint and lemon, as well as a number of combinations such as honeybush and buchu (also a local product).

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0263

The town’s history is based on the Moravian Mission Church, a beautiful building in the centre of town. Unfortunately there is very little information on the history of the town available there or at the museum, which is a very disappointing collection of unrelated artifacts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wupperthal Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0258

As we were there during a holiday period, there was not much activity at the famous shoe factory, although there was a small range of products on display. Much could be done with this as an attraction.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0253

Being a small town, it does not take long to explore and within an hour we had seen all that there was to see and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere. Dinner that evening was at Leipolts Restaurant, named after Rhenish missionary, Johann Gottleib Leipoldt, one of the founding fathers of the town and father of C. Louis Leipoldt.

Once again we experienced the wonderful hospitality of the area and enjoyed an excellent meal based on local cuisine.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0264

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Cederberg Heritage Route – Day 4

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0183Today Klaas takes over from Riaan as guide for the day and once again we head out early to escape the heat. We are heading for our final overnight stop in the historic mission station village of Wupperthal. It is the shortest and easiest of the days, but there is the promise of an interesting river walk with waterfalls and pools and later in the day, the opportunity to swim in the river.Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0180

We start on the back path that takes us through Grasvlei, whereas the day before we had come in along the road. Here we join the road to Kleinvlei. Much of the days walking will be along this fairly substantial jeep track, with occasional detours off the road to see a view point, a waterfall or to take a short cut.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0189

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0210

There are two very special waterfalls on the route, Nooiensgat and one that appears to be nameless. We would not have found either of these without a guide and both are quite unexpected and wonderful. In the one case, the slow running river is suddenly forced in to a narrower channel and over a 50 metre (I am guessing) cliff face; in the other it is spread out over a lower, moss covered ledge and in to a large and beautiful pool, surrounded by lush trees and bushes.Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0217

The path passes through the little settlement of Agtervlei, before the heading off towards Kleinvlei. From here it follows the valley of the Tra-Tra River towards Wupperthal. It is on this section that the promised swimming spots are easily accessible and we had no hesitation in jumping in to the cool water.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0233

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0226

From here it is difficult to see exactly where the path goes to get to the village and it has a somewhat surprising turn in to a small valley and up on to a ridge which overlooks the town. The terrain changes quite dramatically here with the rock formations around Wupperthal completely different from the sandstone of the Cederberg. The picturesque town sits snuggled in to a triangle where three valleys meet.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0239

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0247

Within a very short period we had dropped down in to the village, once again pleased to be there as the temperature was beginning to rise quite quickly. We arrived shortly before lunch time and had some difficulty in locating the key to the self-catering cottage in which we were to spend the night, but once Klaas had organised this for us we settled in to the cool and comfortable venue. Once rested and lunched, we would explore the town.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0219

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Cederberg Heritage Route – Day 3

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0115Predicted to be the hottest day of the trail, once again we opted to start early to tackle the 15 km to Brugkraal. The short route along the road would only take a two or three hours, so the walking path takes a detour that will take us via the Boontjieskloof mountain hut.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0116 It was a gentle start along the road before a turnoff took us on to an old jeep track that was once a road. One is continually reminded that the pioneers who travelled the area in the early years built roads and tracks over terrain that would challenge today’s engineers. As easier routes have been found the old ones have become ‘off-the-beaten-track’ hiking trails. By this time we were immersed in the on-going beauty of the area and the constant changes in the terrain and rock formations. The trail winds slowly up, with a few short climbs and drops and constant changes in vegetation.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0119

During rest stops Riaan keeps us entertained with stories and his slightly off-beat sense of humour. He has a wonderful talent for this and should develop this.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0125

We arrived at the Boontjieskloof overnight hut by lunch time, to find it a hive of activity, with a scout group having taken occupation for a few days. Nevertheless we were welcomed by the scout leader who identified the best swimming spot on the river for us. It was welcome relief to plunge in to the cool water of the Boontjieskloof River.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0175

By this time the day was warming up considerably and we were pleased that the afternoon walk took us down in to a steep shaded gorge, with tempting swimming pools leading to the small settlement of Grasvlei. Riaan informed us that the water from this area was used directly for the settlement and that swimming at this point was frowned upon. From there it was a short walk along the road to Brugkraal and our delightful overnight cottage, which we reached by about 2.30 in the afternoon, pleased that we had made an early start, as temperatures had begun to climb once more.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0141Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0162

Again we were welcomed with true Cederberg hospitality and quickly made to feel at home. Once we were settled in, our host left us to tend to our evening meal and we were happy to shower and relax for the rest of the afternoon.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0179

Later that evening our hosts arrive with pots, bowls, plates & dishes. Suddenly a table full of delicious dinner was laid out, roast chicken, lasagne, salads, sweet potatoes and more. If anyone has the idea of losing weight on this trail, it is not to be.

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Cederberg Heritage Route — Day 2

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0052

This was reputed to be the longest and toughest days hiking of the trail and although it was not predicted to be the hottest day, the temperatures in the Cederberg can easily get in to the 30’s (°C) – +86 °F. At Riaan’s suggestion, we had breakfast at six and were on the trail by shortly after 6.30. The Mountains glowed a reddish brown colour as the sun reflected off them and we headed up the path to a rocky ridge on our way to Groot Krakadouw Peak, the goal for the day. Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0074The path was well defined and the walking fairly easy initially, with a few short climbs, sometimes sandy and sometimes rocky underfoot. We passed a variety of beautiful ericas, restios and proteas, defining the area as firmly fynbos. Riaan stopped from time to time as we passed a bank of Cedar trees, from which the area takes its name, to talk about a plant, tell a story or discuss some point of cultural interest and to give us a chance to take photographs and subtly take a rest. Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0064As we walked slowly higher the views over Heuningvlei valley became more magnificent and one could see how this flatish section of the valley, interspersed with rocky outcrops, attracted people to the area, in the early days the San people, probably at some stage the Khoi people and then later the European settlers.Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0076

As the path began to climb steeply in to the gorge that leads to the Groot Krakadouw Peak, the temperature was rising at the same time. The walking was becoming more strenuous and the path less distinct. I was pleased that we had a guide with us who knew where he was going.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0078

At the same time, our walking companions who had recently arrived in South Africa from Europe, were struggling to adapt to the heat. Rest stops became a bit longer and breath a bit shorter. Eventually it became apparent that a member of the party was not going get there. We were still approximately two hours from the summit when we decided to turn back. It was a good lesson in Mountain safety and the only practical optiCederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0094on at the time.Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0053

We were back in Heuningvlei by lunch time, after a pleasant walk back. In the afternoon Riaan took us down to a magnificent swimming hole and waterfall twenty minutes walk away. The silver lining was that we would not have been able to do this, if we had made it to the peak.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0112

Dinner with Izak that evening was beautifully tender lamb chops, served with sweet potatoes, sweet pumpkin and salads. Another excellent meal.

Cederberg Heritage Route - Dec 2014_0114

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