If you are fit, strong and like a challenge, this is it. If you don’t, live vicariously.
Some 30 km outside of Calitzdorp in the Western Cape is the Gammkaberg Nature Reserve, run by Cape Nature. There are a number of trails in the park, the longest (two days) is the Tierkloof Trail that runs up the Tierkloof canyon stops at Oudkraal, an over night camp and then returns to the base camp the next day. Both days distance is about 14 km. The scenery is magnificent and the going moderately hard. The first day ends with a climb of about 450 m over 3 km. The second day is easier with a sharp down hill and then fairly flat all the way home. I recently hiked this trail and it is, as claimed one of the more beautiful hikes in the Western Cape.
The base camp.
The trail is built on and around the river that carved the klook (canyon). The river does not run often so this is not a problem. It could get tense though….
Thorn trees growing in the riverbed.
Trail markings are very good, this is an informal one that took my fancy
Overnight camp – Oudkraal.
Sunset is a special time
Enjoy the sunset
Before the long road home
More pictures here:
This page old and a repeat from 2004. It is dedicated to the people who helped me fulfill a dream. I climbed up to the Wolfberg Cracks and went through the most spectacular of all of those cracks.
Who are those people?
My sons who cajoled me, blackmailed me and helped me to do the round trip.
Who allowed me to stand on their broad, young shoulders to get through the bits I would never have achieved alone.
My ISIS colleagues and their partners who egged me on, who pulled me through, yelled at me to suck my stomach in and left me in no doubt of their support.
Thank you one and all.
Special thanx to Dave who put it all together and got it all going.
Ok, now follow me into heaven and hell!
We stayed over in the chalets below the mountain Friday night.
Saturday morning, we were up bright and early.
“An hours walk! No more. Three hours for the round trip.”
Those little slits you see at the top of the mountain. Those are Wolfberg Cracks.
After two hours serious slog on a thankfully cool morning, we reached the mouth of the narrowest and most beautiful crack. Who is the “WE”? This is US.
On the inside of the crack looking out.
And in we go. Julia doing a fancy step in the middle ground.
Mike and I taking a breather. Actually, Mike being patient, while I catch my breath.
Yes you do have to go in there and yes, the spare hand is attached to another human further in the crack.
Stepping back and looking at the thing again.
Julia going in first. I had my first SERIOUS misgivings here.
Richard emerging from the crack.
You do actually emerge in one piece. And if you are wondering, yes I did that too.
Here is Dave, he did the round trip twice!
From here on in I will let the pictures tell the tale!.
Front to back: Julia, me, Mike and Richard
Yes, it is me and I am STILL on my feet. Only just, but still on my feet.
And it gets narrower!
And more difficult. That is Fred in the the red teeshirt doing impossible things with his legs, arms and back.
Mike and Julia, posing.
Sunday Relaxation. Maalgat, cold water and huge jumps.
I climbed Table Mountain and found the red disas that endemic to table mountain. Red Disas or more accurately, Table Mountain Disas is the flower that the Western Cape sports teams use as their emblem.
Aside from nearly killing myself in the climb up, it was an amazing experience and well worth the sore legs.
The really nice thing about being in the richest floral kingdom on earth is that there are ALWAYS a number of species flowering, no matter what time of the year you go out looking. This trip was no different.
Just to give you some idea of the difference between our floral kingdom and the rest of the world, Table Mountain alone has more flowering species than the entire United Kingdom has.
Here are some of those pictures:
I went up Skeleton Gorge and you can see the steepness of the trek.
Me. I had to prove I was there and not looking too exhausted.
The top. At last! Muizenberg in the distance and False Bay in the background.
An unidentified blommie until I looked it up and lo and behold, another disa! Disa Ferruginea. Pays to do some reseach doesn’t it?
King Protea (Protea Cynoroides). The dew drops are for real. I was up there very early.
Campylostachys cernua. I was sorry I looked this one up. Blommie is so much easier to spell.
Gladiolus Monticola. I think. If you are a botanist, break it to me genly if I have gotten it wrong, but it is rather photogenic.
And here ladies and gentlemen is the star of the show. Disa Uniflora, the red disa, pride of table mountain. Take your pick. Pretty isn’t it and really worth the walk.
This guy came out to see what all the fuss was about and kindly agreed to be photographed.
More gladiolus? There were lots of them and they really look much better than the pictures make them out to be.
There were literally hundreds of disas. They are DIFFICULT to photograph. They live in dark holes surrounded by bright sunlight. Metering the camera is a nightmare and camera shake quite a common problem.
A waterfall. It had disas in it, but I couldn’t get disas and the waterfall, so just imagine disas!
He joined me for lunch.
This scene was so much like something from Lord of the Rings, I just had to take it. The End of the Road!
Agathapanthus Africanus. Growing wild on the Back Table.
Hely Hutchison reservoirs on the Back Table and the end of the disa route.
The way down. Nursery Ravine. And believe me it doesn’t nurse anyone!
During that photographic session I saw a green deep sky object. I am still battling to identify it and figure out why it is green. The red circle on the right is a hiker, the red circle on theleft is Venus, but what is the green object?
Some friends and I walked the Klipspringer Hiking Trail in the Augrabies National Park. Rated as Moderate to Difficult, it is well worth the effort. A magnificent trail. Here are some photographs of the trail.
The sentinal, watching over the hikers
Leopard foot print (spoor).
Follow the river.
Turning point. Turn away from the river and back into the heat.
The hot river bed.
Berghut and the end of the second day.
Looking back on the Swart Rante (Black Ridges)
If you like trail and a challenge, this one is for you.
With some friends, I did the Greyton McGregor hike. It was incredibly beautiful and incredibly hot. Join me in a short trip up the Riviersonderned Mountains.
Here I am looking fresh and enthusiastic.
Greyton in the distance
The paths are good, but narrow.
The Waterfall from above. You can see people walking the ridge above the waterfall.
Strata along the historic trail. The layer in front of the lady is a 2 cm thick ash layer, laid down millions of years ago during an enormous volcanic eruption.
Flower along the route.
A black eagle. It was at least 500 m away and so the picture is pixilated, but it is a huge creature.
There is a video of the waterfall on YouTube:
Cleaning up my website, I found a page that went missing from my memory and from the web for technical reasons.
A group of friends and I climbed Plattekkip Left B some years ago. The climb provided some really lekker pics.
So join some friends and I in a trip up Table Mountain like you probably haven’t seen it before.
Be warned. This is not a stroll. It can be dangerous.
There is an easier route, the normal Platteklip Gorge route.