Category Archives: Outdoor

Robberg Peninsula – Plettenberg Bay

Robberg Peninsula Sept 2011

It is quite a long time since I have walked around the Robberg Peninsula in Plettenberg Bay. When I last did it, probably ten years ago or more, I think I only did the shorter walk to the island. Prompted by the probability of doing a walk with a client in a month or two, I took the opportunity to do the full peninsula walk on my way back from aGarden RouteandAddoElephantParktour. I had forgotten what a spectacular place it was and what a great hike.

The management at the backpacker establishment where I was staying, assured me that it should take about two hours to hike the full route, unless I was very slow. Well, discovered I was very slow. Allow four hours, if you want to enjoy the environment, take photographs and not rush the experience. Two hours would be ok for a trail run.

It is not a difficult route and the path is well marked all the way. The path does run close to a steep drops into the sea for a considerable distance on the eastern side, so be aware if you don’t have a reasonable head for heights. On the western side, it is mostly at sea level and you would need to be careful at a spring high tide or in rough seas. In most places there are alternative routes that take you higher up if necessary.

One of the highlights of the walk was, first hearing and then seeing the hundreds of seals, after which the peninsula is named, swimming far below. Take binoculars, otherwise they look like little black dots. The barking is very clear and you can hear them, long before you see them.

There are three alternatives: the short route to the Gap (2,1km), Witsand (5,5km), which can be extended slightly to include the island and the Point (9,2km) around the whole peninsula. The scenery is on a par with anything in this beautiful country of ours and one of the many walks that a South African hiking enthusiast must experience. One of the features is the information boards that have been placed at strategic points, to explain the geology, the marine life, the bird life and the sea shore. A real gem, just inside the entrance to the park, is the archaeological cave site. This is really worth a visit if you have any interest in the past and the development of the people of the region.

Wonderful, wonderful walk and looking forward to doing it again with clients.

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Filed under Day Hikes, Garden Route Hikes, News, Outdoor, Western Cape Hiking Trails

Baboons besieging Protea & Restio huts

In my previous up-date I talked about the baboons besieging the kitchen at the overnight huts on the Cape Point Trail. I had an experience with them once before and was wiser for it. This time I put all food away as I prepared it and kept the kitchen securely locked every time I moved in and out. These photos were taken over a period of about one and a half hours. I could walk in and out of the rooms without a problem as long as I did not carry any kind of packet or something that looked like food. When I did walk out with a packet of firelighters, the big male did advance towards me – when I threw it on the ground he went and looked at it, smelled it and lost interest.

They only left when the others returned from their walk to Cape Point lighthouse.

Cape Point Trail baboons

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Filed under Backpack Trails, Cape Point, News, Outdoor, overnight trails, Slackpacker, Slackpacking Trails, Table Mountain, Trekking South Africa, Western Cape Hiking Trails

Caveman’s Overhang

 

Caveman’s Overhang 16042011

We did this awesome route on Saturday with Meridian Hiking Club. We left early from Constantia Nek to join Karen and he hiking club group that had spent the night at Overseers Cottage.

I had done it about three or four years ago with Tim Jenkins, but when I tried to explore the route last year with a couple of friends we ended up at the Hole in the Wall and came back through the hidden forest. That was quite an adventure in itself. It was therefore good to do it with Karen, who knows the route well and also showed us how it links with the Hole in the Wall Route.

The views over Orangekloof are wonderful and scrambling behind the rock faces is quite interesting and surprising in places. There are some slightly exposed paths around the front of the ledge, but in most instances there are alternative routes around the back, where gaps open up unexpectedly in front of you. In some cases you have to look for the entry points and squeeze into places that look a bit inaccessible. Although narrow in places they are easy to get through once you see the route. There are impressive sandstone cliffs above you with some protruding rock overhangs all the way along the route – hence it’s name.

The path is clear in most places, but not always. It is essential to do the route with someone who knows the way. We had tea at the end of the ‘Overhang’ trail, enjoying looking down into Orangekloof and over Hout Bay. The path to the top of the ridge and then down into the valley below is not clear and you really have to look for the cairns. Once in the valley, the path links back to the concrete road and Overseers Cottage around the corner.
Your Cape Town Host

For information on guided day walks and overnight hiking trails in TableMountain contact Frank

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Filed under Adventure, Day Hikes, Day Trekking, Day Walks, Outdoor, Table Mountain, Trekking South Africa, Western Cape Hiking Trails

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

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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Filed under Adventure, Guest Comments, Outdoor, overnight trails, Selected Accommodation, Slackpacker, Tours, Western Cape Hiking Trails, Wine Tours, Wine Walks

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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