Category Archives: Outdoor

Simonstown to Smitswinkel section of Hoerikwaggo Trail

By no means the longest or the toughest section of the trail, nevertheless it is a good five to six hour walk with an uphill pull at the beginning and a steep downhill at the end. A word of warning, although the path is good on the descent to Smitswinkel, there is some easy down hill scrambling (hands need to be used) and there is some mild exposure on a narrow ridge, that may be challenging for those who suffer from severe vertigo. There are no ledges or cliff faces however.

Hoerikwaggo – Simonstown to Smitswinkel April 2011

It was a cool day with a slight breeze, ideal for hiking. Looking up from the start, the ascent to the top of Swartkop looks steep, but the zig zag path up from the mule track to the Blockhouse, makes the going reasonably easy. The path is good, although overgrown by stands of magnificent proteas in places. It is a bit steeper from the Blockhouse Gap (437m) to the highest point of the peak (678m). This was a good place to stop for tea, in a sheltered spot slightly down from the ridge.
The views from the top are quite stunning, overlooking Simon’s Town and False Bay on the one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. From the top there is a fairly sudden descent into the valley below and you can see the path stretch up on the other side. The path is clear and although it is steep, it is a reasonably easy walk, follow by a long slow trek up the other side. The views are changing constantly and the flora is wonderful, with some outstanding examples of both pink and white King Protea and plenty of sunbirds and sugarbirds around on the day.
The path undulates up and down until the final short plateau provides a vista over the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and beautiful view all the way to Cape Point. Just after this you start the very steep descent down to Smitswinkel Bay. The wind had come up a bit at this stage but we were able to find a sheltered spot to sit and admire the view and enjoy our lunch.

Hoerikwaggo – Smitswinkel to Simonstown

The path is good all the way down, although overgrown with proteas in places. You need to be careful as there are some places where you need to use both hands and feet. We took it fairly slowly and I was lucky to spot a Table Mountain Beauty butterfly that sat still just long enough for me to photograph. At the bottom there is a stand of huge protea bushes and the presence of the long tailed sugarbirds was particularly noticeable. The path ends at the superb Smitswinkel Bay tented camp. Although we were not staying overnight on this occasion it is certainly the most luxuriously appointed of the camps and well worth a visit.

For guided Table Mountain day hikes and overnight trails contact Frank: frank@slackpackersa.co.za

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Filed under Day Hikes, Day Walks, Information, News, Outdoor, overnight trails, Slackpacker, Table Mountain, Western Cape Hiking Trails

Slangkop Redhill section of Hoerikwaggo Trail

Slangkop Redhill March 2011

Probably the easiest and shortest section of the Hoerikwaggo Trail, nevertheless, challenging on a really hot day at 35 degrees C. Starting with a short and easy up hill section to veiws overlooking Kommetjie and Slangkop Lighthouse. Pass by some interesting WW 2 look out points and old barracks. Fairly easy going from there, until down hill to Ocean View. Lots of alien vegetation at this point and lets down the prestine nature of the rest of the trail. Up and down some long, rocky, but easy going slopes through some wonderful countryside – looking forward to the promised swim in the dam. About three hours to this point and welcome lunch and dip. After lunch about one hour walk, almost flat, going back to Redhill and the cars. Lizards, sunbirds and a beautiful Rock Kestrel. Now to find a way down in to Simonstown for overnight on this section.

For details of guided hiking or overnight trails in Table Mountain contact Frank

Your Cape Town Host

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Green Mountain Trail – Peter

Hi Frank,
 
We continued last Friday pm from Porcupine to Tsistikamma and Saturday all the wat to the hole-in-the-wall (1200km) and were without tv and internet until now where we are near Nottingham Road in the MIdlands Meander.
 
The trail. Extremely good value for money. Interesting varied trails, ups and downs – but while long never excessive scrambling. Weather behaved although a couple of days it was hot or humid. But again nothing in excess.
 
The guide on the first two days (the Fynbos Guy – Dominic) was extraordinary good. It was a tough taks for the two guides (Tony and John) to take it up next two days (they did not know what we knew from the two previous days)
 
The lay-out with surprises (lunch in the middle of OAak River vineyard with two lovely girls), the wine tasting (Eerste Hoop in Porcupine, In Paul Kluwer and Wildekransw andn Beaumont) were all extarordinary well done and full of pleasant palate surprises (and quite a few cases were bought)
 
Murray and Alison had fantastic accomodation and food arrangements for us. Transport in between was well organised.
 
All in all thanks for getting us included – with a very nice crowd – an English couple, a RSA couple from CPT, a lady Portugues RSA resident and a photographer/ journalist who is goin to put us all into Country Life in a couple of months. Not a single disagreement or unsatisfaction for the four days and four nights.
 
Hope this answers your queery -0 which you are welcome to share with others
 
Hike on-on
Peter

PS My wife reading above mentioned two issues. At Oak River lunch they should ensure shadow sitting for all – and maybe there was one wine tasting too much (I disagree with the last point)

 

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Sevilla Trail – Cedarberg

The Cedarberg is always an amazing place to hike, make contact with nature and generally experience the outdoors. I expanded my own experience of this with a hike down the Sevilla Trail, led by Kevin Matheson of Afruka Eco Tours. It is an easy two hour walk that takes you to a series of nine sites of bushman paintings. There is a real feel of what it must have been like in the years before European settlers inhabited the Cape and the indigenous people lived off the land.

Hunting

This is part of the experience offered by Kevin on the Cedarberg Wilderness overnight trip.

Slide show

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Aardvark experience

Beware Aardvark crossing

A wonderful siting of this unusual creature at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve. Usually a nocturnal animal here he was crossing the road in broad daylight. I have attache a link to Wikipedia if you want to find out more about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aardvark

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Great to get good guest feedback

from Forster - New South Wales

It is wonderful to get some good customer feedback. Thanks Cheryl, we enjoyed hiking with you and showing you the majestic beauty of Cape Point and the wonders of the Cape of Good Hope.

Cape Point Trail thanks

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World Cup Safaris and Tours with Afruka Eco Tours

With the World Cup Soccer come and gone it is good to record some of the activities, sites and scenes that we were able to offer our visitors in addition to the soccer. The overwhelming comments from the people that I came into contact with were the amazement at the diversity of the tourism product that South Africa has to offer, including game safaris, wine tours and tasting, whale watching, fantastic scenery and more. Although hiking is my particular focus, not many of our clients have made the time for this, this time around and most were not sure what to expect. I was fortunate to in being able to host visitors from Brazil, Mexico, U.S.A, England, Canada, Russia and France over the four week period and I am sure many will be back to experience this and more of what we have to offer. I have put together an album of some of the tours, the sites and the people, including a few of the Cape Town games, the Fan Walk and more. Afruka Eco Tours

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The greater flamingoes – Cape Town bird tour

What amazingly beautiful birds. These flamingoes were one of the many species we saw during a tour of the settling ponds adjacent to Baden Powell Drive on False Bay. The walking tour of Rondevlei was equally rewarding in spite of the rain. Thanks to Mariana of Cape Eco Tours for her knowledgeable guidance.

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Walking in Constantia – sensational wine walk route explored.

Another stunning wine walk

This was not planned as a walk in the Winelands, but when you look at the views from high above the Constantia Valley and the experience wine tasting at Groot Constantia at the end, this has to rate up there with the best in the world.

Saturday was a stunning early winters day in Cape Town, ideal hiking weather. This, plus the planned route up to Vlakkenberg Peak and the end point in Groot Constantia attracted a big group of Meridian Hiking Club members, plus visitors from Germany (Thomas & Katrina) and the USA (Trika & Kim). The short trek up from Constantia Nek up to Vlakkenberg Nek needs a bit of effort but once into the natural fynbos vegetation higher up the slope it is a real pleasure. The sound of grassbirds, sunbirds and sugarbirds is endless. After the rain and mist of the previous two days, the birds were ready for a bit of sun. Less than an hour up to Vlakkenberg Nek and the one of the three rocky peaks for a tea break and the view overlooking Hout Bay – what a treat. There is a bit of scrambling up there for the more adventurous, but you need to know where to go.

Back to the main path to join the route to Vlakkenberg Peak and the traditional group photocall. The fairly level section from there to join the path down Vlakkenberg Ridge has some stunning Proteas and a display of flowers & fynbos. The real treat (and surprise for those who have not done this route before) is the view over the Constantia wine farms from the top and forest of Silvertrees on the way down. It is a fairly steep path down, a bit tough on the knees but firm underfoot and well maintained. Once in the Silvertree forest it is a real pleasure. Back into Groot Constantia it is short walk past the historic swimming pool and on to Simon’s Restaurant for a drink and a snack. Wine tasting is available and a cellar tour is an option. For those with an interest in history there is an excellent museum in the old manor house.

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Wow what a wine walk!!

Looking North

What could be better than a day out in the Stellenbosch Winelands? This time not just sitting in a vehicle driving from one tasting to another, but walking through the vineyards, interacting with the winemakers and workers, admiring scenery and getting close to both the cultivated and natural environment.

Guided by knowledgeable local wine guide, Annelee Steyn, this was a day to remember. Starting on the popular Delvera Estate, this is going to be part of a three day / two night, ‘slackpacker’ style hiking trail. Not only will you walk through the vineyards and meet the locals, but you will sample a wide variety of wines derived from the vineyards you have walked through, taste local cuisine and get some good exercise – reasonably easy walking, but with a level of fitness required for full enjoyment.

Looking South East

There are opportunities to sample food at a few different venues, served by the most delightfully hospitable waitresses and restaurant supervisors. There was an amazing impression that the managers were there in the background but that they preferred and trusted the staff to interact with customers. This was not unique to one establishment, but was a trend found at all the places that we visited.

Depending on the season, wine making activities can be followed and experienced, pruning, picking, crushing and possibly blending your own. Watch his space – there is more to come.

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