Tag Archives: Cape Point

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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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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Cape Point Trail in the wind

Doing the Cape Point Trail with the Reydams family group over the weekend of 23rd July proved to me once again that in all but the most extreme conditions this is a wonderful hike. The winds were strong going down the cliff path with one having to step carefully to maintain footing and put your head down in to the wind at times. The Buffelfontein information centre was welcome relief over lunch time and then it was on to the overnight huts.

The group still had the energy to take on the extra 2 km down to Cape Point itself, once they had put their bags down and had a cup of tea. During the time they were away, guided by Binnie, I got on with the dinner prepartion. Fortunately I was aware of the potential for baboon invasion, having experienced it before – the troop layed siege to the kitchen for the best part of an hour and a half – only leaving when the others returned.

The next day started a bit better and the coastal walk was great with a couple of very light rain squalls. A hard squall of rain cut short our lunch and from then on, for the next two hours the rain came and went. We were all quite pleased to reach the cars to warm up, but nevertheless it was a great experience.

Reydams Family Cape Point Trail

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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

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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Filed under Cape Point, Day Hikes, Day Walks, Information, News, Outdoor, Safari, Slackpacker, Table Mountain, Tours, Wine Tours

Cape Point gate to Bordjiesrif

Braving the wind

 

It is always good to walk in Cape Point Nature Reserve. It is one of those places that you can walk all day and except for the occasional sight of cars and tour buses on the distant road to the point, you hardly see a sole – a real get away from everyone experience. At the same time there are spectacular views over False Bay, right across to Hangklip. 

Classic View of Cape Point

 

Saturday was a case in point, a beautiful, but slightly windy day and our party did not come across a single hiker during our 3½ hour hike. The wind seemed to have blown all the haze away and the mountains across the Bay were particularly clear against the background of a bright blue see. This section is a particularly rewarding one, as you can get quite close to the cliff face if you want to go to some of the viewing points and you have a view of both the Atlantic coast and the False Bay coast for almost the entire hike. 

The mountain and the sea

 

Leaving at about 9.30 after shuttling cars from the starting point to Bordjiesrif, we reached our lunch stop at Kanonkop by 12.30 and then the end by 1.30. A great morning excursion. Thanks Sue & Eugene for organising. 

Rocky shoreWho's for a swim

 

Who's for a swim

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Wind Blown to Cape Point

Wonderful wind at 65 km / hour made walking a challenge. Certainly blew all
the cobwebs away and well done John & Ned, not only for braving the
elements, but enjoying them. Not a great day for photos but the wind blown
bush gives an idea. Conditions gave a feel for what it must have been like
for sailors rounding the Cape in a gale. One brave yacht sailed past at
pace.

Preparing the evening meal, I knew we were in Cape Point when a little
‘lady’ baboon tried to raid the kitchen. I thought we were lucky when she
ran out, only grabbing the remnants of a packet of crisps on her way. Not so
lucky – lesson 1: don’t leave the kitchen door open if you not in the
kitchen – probably even if you are. The little ‘lady’ was just the decoy and
while attention was diverted in came the big guy. One bunch of bananas, four
sandwiches, two onions and a block of cheese later and he escaped from the
kitchen, taking his troop with him. Lesson 2: Don’t leave open coffee on the
table; baboons don’t like coffee, except out of the packet and distributed
on the kitchen floor. We were lucky – evening meal mostly still intact – no
toasted sandwiches with dinner and on coffee, except to clean up.

Early risers, John and Ned – breakfast eaten and on the path by 7.30. Wind
dropped for a wonderful walk along the beach. Close up and personal with a
small herd of Bontebok, a couple of Ostriches and a large herd of Eland away
on the hill – no more baboons. Heading across a sea of white everlastings
for lunch as Sirkelsvlei, pleased for the early start as the sun heated up.
Back at the gate by 2.30, great hike, great company – superb views as
always.

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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!
read more

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