privatecoast1

MCSA Members:
Back row, L to R: Karin van Niekerk, Hans van Ameyde, Clive Louw, Werner Nisi, Evie Bowen, Maretha Alant, Rina de Leur, Margrit Brack, Wolf Schneider, Erich Brack and Tony Bowen.
Front row, L to R:  Fred van Berkel (Leader) and Sandy Louw.

Access: This circular hike runs across the coastal section of the farm Kranshoek 432, which forms part of the Robberg Coastal Corridor. Access was kindly granted by the owner, Chris von Christierson.

privatecoast2

In August, Quinten Snyman, the Farm Manager, accompanied me on the recce of the hike across the neatly laid out trail paths on the coastal plain as well as the fisherman’s paths along the coast. As a result of this recce, the meet grading was increased from 2+ to 3 to accommodate a particularly tricky rock scramble towards the end of the coastal section.

Report:

The forecast for hike day, Saturday, improved from 50 mm rain on Monday to 1 mm rain on Thursday to sunny and dry on Friday afternoon. On the day, we had perfect weather, cool, a mild breeze and almost no clouds. Some of the group took the opportunity to have coffee and breakfast at the Saturday Market before meeting at the Plett Airport turnoff at 08h30 from where we drove in convoy to the start of the hike. Parking at the start is a bit of a squash: through a stroke of luck, the cars belonging to those taking part in the 11 km hike did not obstruct those on Nicky’s shorter nature ramble.

The descent to the cliff tops is via the Eerste Kloof trail, one of the many well-laid out and well maintained walking trails on the farm, which winds through dense coastal thicket along a small river.

privatecoast3

From here, the coast is characterised by great slabs of orange lichen-covered sandstone dipping into the sea at about 45 degrees to the southwest from the flat-topped coastal plain which represents a part of the continental shelf that was uplifted by about 200 m some 20 million years ago.

privatecoast4                                                      privatecoast5

The descent down the steep fynbos-covered scree slopes to the boulder-hopping beach section of the hike is facilitated by rough concrete steps cast by Quinten.

privatecoast6

privatecoast7

The first rock scramble (Grade 2+) did not faze any of the party for whom this was their first Grade 3 hike – good preparation for what lay ahead.

privatecoast8

privatecoast9

We had a leisurely lunch at a rock arch carved out of the steeply dipping sandstone. Some of the group took the opportunity to recharge their battery while others were in deep discussion, solving the world’s problems.

privatecoast10

privatecoast11

After lunch and lots more boulder hopping we arrived at the Grade 3 portion of the hike. This was quite a challenge for several of the members, out on their first Grade 3 hike. Although hand and foot holds were aplenty, this section, both up, over and down, has significant exposure and requires focused attention.

privatecoast12

privatecoast13

From here, a steep scramble up a sandstone scree slope leads to a good path which takes you to the concrete jeep track running along the cliff top above. At this point we are 4 hours and 5 km into the hike. The remaining 6.3 km, back to the cars along the cliff tops takes only another 2½ hours.

Walking back along the top, looking southeast along the coast, the “Neusgate” sea caves we walked on top of on our way in looked a bit like a scene from Alcatraz.

privatecoast14

Well done to all, especially the Grade 3 first timers.
Many thanks again to Chris Christierson for permission to hike across this beautiful piece of coast line and to Quinten Snyman for accompanying me on the initial recce.

Fred van Berkel

Advertisements