Hike Reports dd July-Oct 2008
COAST HOTEL HOP - Sep 2008
Reporter: Rosemary Paul
Holland-Ramsey and Anthony Sneath
Hopkins, Rosemary Hilton and Rosemary
my first trip to the Wild
and now I know why
it is so called. Us Capetonians are complacent and think only we have
views and scenery. Well I now know how wrong that is. I saw beauty and
that I have not witnessed before in all my years in Africa.
Thank you Mary and Anthony for taking us there to see for ourselves
amazing sights. And thank you too for your kindness and consideration
many laughs we shared during our week together
Rosemary and myself (the other Rosemary) flew up to East London on Sunday 21 September. Mary and
Anthony met Denise and I
at the airport and Rosemary was met by her family and we were
Haga Haga. What a bad 13km of gravel road. Nice for 4x4 owners! We were
impressed with the hotel, ground floor rooms opened onto a deck and
onto the lawn and down steps to the beach. The bad weather from the
before had wrecked havoc to the beach. In fact the whole trip presented
everywhere. No holding back nature! Once unpacked we walked on the
were amazed at the pavement marks on the flat rocks. All squared off
chess board, I think its called crenellated, but maybe I am wrong? We
for a pub meal dinner which was good and wholesome.
morning we were collected from the hotel by the East Coast Shuttle
driven to Mazeppa. The main road was fine and our driver very talkative
informative. But once we hit the bad gravel road it was shake rattle
and nobody could hear a thing. I was appalled at the poverty we passed.
the villages were well run some downright slums. I think I saw one
the 18km stretch of gravel. Lots of skinny cattle and dogs and people
At the end of the 3 hour drive we were all very happy to arrive at the
Bay Hotel. Once shown to our rooms we immediately set off for the Kob
we were booked to have lunch. Our first excitement was all fitting into
small rowing boat to be ferried across the river to the Inn.
We had a plain but ample meal with lovely home made bread. Then it was
Mazeppa with a strong wind in our faces but our dinner was worth
So many courses and we ate them all!!!
A day I
think all three of us hikers were dreading as it was a 22km hike
Wavecrest Hotel. Good weather, which we were very grateful for. Packed
and porters to carry our heavy packs for us plus a guide. The porters
mostly very loud talkative ladies who were often dwarfed by the packs
carried, but always cheerful and smiling. Because of the washed away
beaches we walked were rather sloped so we wished we could add a couple
inches to the left leg. The views were stunning when you dared to take
eyes off where you were placing your feet. Lots of boulder patches to
also some nice sandy stretches. Our guide and porters were changed at
way point. We eventually arrived at the hotel only to find the river
strongly. Our ferry man had a real battle to fight the current with his
get us across to the other side. We were very tired but exhilarated too
had 'made it' in one piece. Once again lovely front rooms with amazing
over river, estuary and sea. Three of us went off for leg and back
wonderful after a long walk. Good food too and once again we went
sunny day thank goodness. Off to Seagulls Hotel today and only 14km to
Rather windy but we made good time and only had porters, no guide. We
stop at the Jacaranda for lunch. I pictured a lovely cliff top cafe.
wrong - it was a ship wreck LOL. We managed to find a place out of the
our lunch stop and the adventurous ones inspected what was left of the
made good time to the hotel and after a shower we explored the place
relaxed with a drink in the bar watching the sun go down. The hotel had
entertainer so we went back to the bar after dinner and listened to him
his guitar and singing. Seagulls has just been taken over by a very
enthusiastic lady who says she is soon to start renovating the place.
hope she does the bathrooms first!!!
Off to Morgan Bay
today and weather still good for us, 12 km so a short hike! Just
and they took us along a very long stretch of gravel road which was not
terribly tiring actually. The hotel was stunning. I think the best one
it has been recently refurbished and was still sparkling and fresh. A
with plenty of stuff for children to do. The main beach full of large
from recent storms and plenty of fishermen catching nothing!!! My dad
say a fool at one end and a worm at the other when he saw a fisherman.
whole trip we only met one man who said he had actually caught a fish,
my father was right after all!!!
day. Rather sad even though we were walking wounded by now. Rosemary H
sore knee, Rosemary P a bad blister and Denise a wonky hip. None of us
had walked every day for so long it was catching up on us. But we were
game and hobbled on to Haga Haga, our full circle of the Wild Coast
complete. We were anxious as a 65km hour gale was forecast for the
arvy. So we
needed to set a good pace over the 14km, which we did even though it
rough going in some places. Those of us interested in shells collected
beauties along the way which are not seen on our CT beaches. The gale
half an hour after we arrived and it was a sight to see. The people
weren't so lucky and had to walk into it for their last km.
Trail & Hogsback (Eastern Cape) : 5-13 July 2008
Participants: Marie-Paule Henshall-Howard,
Gesine Pasche, Carol Coetzee, Gudrun Oberprieler, Julie Ward, Robin
Victoria Cooper and Deborah Shearing-Cooper
We left Cape Town the week of the floods,
trailer from under an umbrella. Once over the mountains, the weather
dramatically and we saw no more rain except for a light overnight
the Alexandria Trail.
Part of the journey involved a coffee shop
crawl and the much talked about sweet potato cake at the Tsitsikamma
Restaurant, and the wonderful delights and roosterkoek of Nanaga
farm stall and
Harkerville overnight ended in a 4 am
awakening as the cyclists arose for their cross country race. Gudrun
snorers stripes on this night and was isolated for the rest of the
to the best single quarters.
The Alexandria Trail is a tale of
contrasts, from forest to farmland pastures, to pristine shore and
best to Sousosvlei. The gasp of wonder at our first sighting of the
was noteworthy. Climbing the dunes led to faster gasps of a different
Ascending from the beach to the top of the dune was our first
entailed a C grade climb, with full pack, to hoist ourselves along the
up the ladder by whichever undignified means worked for one. The view
top was a wonderful excuse to collapse in the sand and catch up with
The grandstand view from the deck of the hut made a very pleasurable
The start of the second day was tough as we
had to haul ourselves over the first dune using a rope. On top we had
negotiate the due field where the way was vague with few markers in
Robin thought he knew a better way through the bushes and persevered
time, eventually turning back to the dunes with his legs cut to pieces
It as a 'Lawrence-of-Arabia' experience not
to be missed. A photographer's paradise presented itself with wonderful
dunes with ripples in the sand and miniature plants, undulations and
combinations. A tiny lone figure wandered in the distance.
The long trudge back through the dune
forest was punctuated by exciting bird watching opportunities. However,
viewpoints were lacking and made it a reward less climb to the top of
The temperature plummeted at lunch, but the rain only arrived that
were very grateful for the idealic weather we had for crossing the dune
Trans locating to Hogsback via Salim was
very scenic. Hogsback seemed to have collapsed into an uncooperative
slumber and nothing complementary can be said. However, we made it a
experience of hikes and good cuisine. The highlights were hiking to Tor
Madonna and child waterfall
and the frozen landscapes in the early morning.
The return journey was highlighted by
Mervyn nearly flattening a pig that ran across the road just outside of
and the wonderful scenery on the Overberg with tongues of
mist spread over the land. Distant snow on
the mountains with yellow canola fields completed the picture!
Reporters: Mervyn, Marie-Paule, Carol and
Click to see the pics!
the peninsula from Simonstown
to Slangkop on the new section of the Hoerikwaggo Trail.
Hoerikwaggo is set to become the iconic
trail of not only South Africa but the continent when it is completed
in two years' time. On Monday September 1 bookings open for the latest
section of what will be the third day of the Tip to Top trail, from
Cape Point to Cape Town.
five-night, six-day trail will follow the spine of the Peninsula within
the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).
new section of the
Hoerikwaggo is the easiest and, coincidentally, falls mid-way offering
a more relaxing day.
Red Hill, above
Simon's Town, the path is flat and sandy with views behind of what will
be the previous days' hike, crossing peaks from the old forest station
beneath Grootkop, the path follows the northern edge of the dam through
pristine fynbos. From here the path has been purpose-built for the
trail and is testament to the skill of path-builders who come from
informal settlements surrounding TMNP.
Bokramspruit before contouring the mountain above Ocean View with the
next days' hike unfolding. Following Noordhoek beach, hikers pass the
remains of the Kakapo before climbing another section of purpose-built
footpath on Chapman's Peak. After lunch, there is another ascent
towards Noordhoek Peak before joining the Amphitheatre Path above
Silvermine reservoir and the final stretch to the tented camp at
Back on our path, we
gently descended to cross Slangkop Road to what
must have been an old farm, marked by graves.
The ascent to Cobra Camp,
a disused radar station in World War 2, passes through pristine fynbos.
the highest point,
hikers look down onto Kommetjie, where they try to make out the
Slangkop tented camp, almost hidden in vegetation.
path zigzags to the
road before passing through dense milkwoods and reaching a boardwalk,
crossing a wetland next to the beach and below the lighthouse, built in
1914 and at 134 feet, the tallest in the country.
to the tented
camp is from the beach, following boardwalks and embracing the
philosophy of "touching the earth lightly", conveying the principle of
the relationship between man and the earth.
All structures are hidden
in dense undergrowth which will eventually cover the entire camp,
including the surrounding fence (electrified to keep out thieves and
As with the other camps,
the site is a celebration of wood in its colour, grain and glory,
expertly crafted to fit together.
Each tented camp has a
theme and at Slangkop it is the sea, with whale bones used as light
fittings and over tent entrances, as well as information boards
explaining sea themes and the surfing history of the coastline.
Silvermine, the theme
is mountain fynbos, marked by plants in the wooden and rock walls of
the lapa and outside the tents, while Orange Kloof is almost concealed
in afromontane forest.
to the lapa area at
Slangkop, a dead tree has become a feature with a toilet being built
around it. The domed tents are named after things hikers are likely to
see in the area: Galjoen, Southern Right whale, Black Oyster Catcher,
Milkwood, Cape Clawless Otter and Cape Cobra.
After a hot shower hikers
can enjoy a braai in the lapa and then fall asleep to the oceans'
rhythm and the reassuring flash of the lighthouse.
After a restful night on
thick mattresses, woken to bird chorus, follow the coastline on day
four of what will surely become another Otter Trail of SA.
Capetonians, there is
no longer the need to travel for hours to escape the rat-race, and with
the high price of petrol. The luxurious 'slackpacker' Hoerikwaggo is on
our doorstep, sleeping on thick mattresses with fully equipped kitchen,
braai wood and facilities, guide and porterage.
more information and
to book visit: www.hoerikwaggotrails.com or call 021 465 8515/9 or
DETAILS: The trail is
professionally guided and portered with hot showers and self-catering
in a fully equipped kitchen with gas cookers, fridges and braai
For more information visit
for Wild Card visit www.wildinafrica.com
For previous hikes written
by Karen, go to http://www.uncoverthecape.co.za
TIP: Call now because,
although the trail is not officially open, bookings have been made.
|Hike Reports from Yvonne Hiscock
July - Oct 2008
RAVINE: 20 JULY 2008
Every couple of
years, Tommy leads
this one, the last time being a year after my hip job. It’s still
as awesome as ever, with views almost to Oz. The upward haul no longer
bothers me, the trick being pace, pace, pace and with this leader, I
can call the shots! Our “fast four” pushed ahead, and then
patiently waited on each saddle, so everyone was happy. The path on the
summit is always under water, but more so this year after all our
recent rains, but no one fell in the mud nor complained, hey, the sun
was shining! A hop and a skip down KP and another wonderful hike
under our boots.
See the pics @ http://mareas.atspace.com/Trails%20Club%20Hikes.html
24 AUG 2008
We had never done this one
before, but being
one of Mervyn’s last hikes in sunny SA, we definitely had to join
him. There are just not enough adjectives to describe this great hike.
The terrain, views, fynbos accompanied by chilly but invigorating
weather. One we’ll certainly do again, perhaps spending a couple
of nights in the reserve bungalows and exploring more of the area
– all and more 1 hour from Cape Town. We shall miss you
tremendously Mervyn, but you’ve introduced us to all these
magnificent country hikes which no doubt other Club leaders will
continue in the future, while thinking of you “down under”
in the hot sandy desert. Totsiens & good luck till January.
21 SEP 2008
I quivered and quaked in my
hiking boots at
the thought of doing this beautiful blighter, but we thought we’d
support Conrad as it was to be Mervyn’s very last hike with
us. But, everything changed, neither of the previously mentioned
gentlemen could make it (C – swollen knee, M. plain
busy). So Tony stepped in as leader (also nursing a sore
knee) and opted to start at the Smitwb.end which got me even more
anxious! As it turned out, it was the better, easier choice up.
There were only 4 of us (Tony, Margarethe, Tommy & I) and oh how we
ambled up, with lovely rock scrambles for good measure, ticking off the
meters on Tony’s pedometer as we went. No stress, high
blood pressure, palpitations, just sheer pleasure. I kept saying over
and over “so glad we came”. There are very gentle ups and
downs at the top from where we could look across to the snow capped
peaks of the Boland Mts., Hangklip and as far as Gansbaai. An
incredible sight was looking DOWN upon a jet performing at the
Ysterplaat air show (but had forgotten to brake!). Again a
perfect pace and weather. Thanks Tony. This one could be tackled
annually, and everyone within my range of unfitness could manage
– at that PACE.
BOSS 400 -
12 OCT 2008
The path on this route
improved since last time thanks to the unsung silent heroes, the
hackers. Thanks guys. The spring flora was colourful and varied and I
always think of this area as a mini Otter Trail. One hugs the coast,
yet still goes in and out of the indigenous Milkwood and other tree
tunnels. The old barge is still there but for how long? A couple of
workers aboard were slowly dismantling the rusty scrap, but we reckon
not in our life-time! Do all join us in a few years time to check on
their progress. Thanks to Anthony, Mary, Tony, Alison and Tommy for
another great hiking day. We finished off at the Look-Out Restaurant in
Bay Harbour for refreshments while
watching the unhealthy yuppies devour prawns, linefish, steaks, pizzas,
|Arniston, Skipskop and ander skop: 17
if this was a non-hiking
weekend, it was still exhausting.
Saturday morning we
amalgamated at the Overberg Test Range run by Denel and were ushered
into buses built for amputees, people with no legs. We first visited
the control centre and were shown the consoles behind which the Denel
staff directed operations tracking jet aircraft from the local airforce
base testing missiles and keeping a check on shipping out at sea using
radar in case they wandered too close to the testing area. They showed
us an explosive video of what damage their missiles could do and
explained that they operated strictly to ecological and environmental
standards. What they destroyed they rehabilitated or recycled. After
the missile testing demonstration we felt well informed and felt safer
in the reserve than on the N2.
saw different species of
buck and ostrich throughout the journey. The ostriches were magnificent
in flight and matched the busses for speed. We stopped for a
refreshment break opposite the De Hoop Nature Reserve near De
Mond and at lunch time stopped at Skipskop (Skepskop to rugby
followers), an abandoned settlement of houses where fisher folk lived,
some with thatched roofs. These houses were abandoned about 30 years
ago when Denel came into being. A huge marquee tent was erected for our
comfort containing tables and chairs and lit braais for those who
couldn't see their feet from a vertical position. Entertainment was in
the form of kontrei musiek or sakkie-sakkie boeredans. All the more
reason for a long walk along the beach. There was a fishtrap down below
at the water's edge built with little rocks and sand which had been
there for many decades to trap fish when the tide ran out. Fishing rods
I take it hadn't been invented then. We stopped at another abandoned
seaside resort with only one derelict cottage in evidence and had
another stroll along the coastline. This cottage, now with a sunroof,
was built extremely close to the beach and in fact was already
beginning to disappear under a sand dune. One could walk up the sand
dune and onto what was left of the roof.
Sunday we (7 of us) visited
Kassiesbaai, the old fisherman's quarter of Arniston
or Waenhuiskrans well known for their limewashed cottages with thatched
roofs and had some coffee at a local coffee shop while waiting for the
tide to go out before going to visit the Waenhuiskrans cave. At the
little coffeeshop, we watched a 9 year old boy giving a ride to three 6
year olds on a quad bike. There was no speed limit and the pilot opened
throttle threatening to lift the vehicle (a ground to air missile) off
had lunch in the
Waenhuiskrans cave and then visited the ship-wreck museum in Bredasdorp
before driving to Napier for pancakes and coffee at a very nice
farmstall run by an extremely friendly hostess. Our official club press
agent then proceeded to take photos of
the farm stall from every angle almost causing traffic on the main road
to come to a standstill. We were given permission to act as extras but
one of us had to remove our vehicle from the filmset as it gave
the farmstall a scrapyard look.
to Maré and
others for organising this weekend and we look forward to many more
See the pics @ http://mareas.atspace.com/Trails%20Club%20Hikes.html