We did part of this hike last year, in a two day effort, and when we got to the turn-off on the second day, we could see that we were going to miss the best part of the trail. We promised ourselves that we would come back this year with an extra day in hand and complete the entire trail. The route we took this year started at the gate to Vermaakskloof, on the northern side of the Kammanassie near Middelplaas, and ended near Buffelsdrift on the southern side.

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Clive, Evie, Jane, Cheryl, Werner, Dave and Tony at the start. The Turners had left already.

The hardy souls who pitched up for the hike were Di and Bill Turner, Evie and Tony Bowen, Clive Louw, Dave Collett, Werner Frei, Jane Luck and Cheryl and Greg Devine (Leader). Di and Bill drove themselves to the start at some indecent hour for a head-start while Cheryl and I parked my old bakkie at the finish and drove around to meet the others at Domein Doorkraal, supposedly at 09h15. We hopelessly underestimated the time that this would take and got there a bit late. Part of our delay was caused by flooded low-level bridges. One bridge looked so bad that Cheryl had to ford it in her underpants to see if it was safe for the car. It was. Unfortunately my camera was not to hand to get the photo of the year.

We dragged the rest of the party away from the Domein coffee-shop, parked at the start and set out. The whole area had totally burnt out, which had evidently caused a heavy rain to flood the rivers and to wash a lot of the road away. The walking was quite hard as the path had turned to rocks. At least there was water everywhere, with no need to carry any, in contrast to last year. The path rises quite gradually to a col and then drops steeply, and roughly, to the first night’s camp at the perennial water at Bakneskloof. Bill and Di had built their commando-style shelter using string, bubble-gum and an old poncho, while some folk bivvied and others had luxury tents, the poshest of which was Dave’s, which is probably why he acquired a young female puff-adder as a bed-mate.

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A Berg-adder along the path

On the second day the path rises to a col and a three-way junction. Last year we turned right, but this time we turned left and had one of our best days ever in the South Cape. The path is almost a contour and affords easy walking with great views. There was a lot of plant life to keep Di in a state of ecstasy. After a while we came to the half of the mountain that had not burned, though there was then less water. There is a game fence across the path, but it is no problem to go around rather than through or over.

Since we were planning to climb Kammanassieberg the next morning, we camped as close as we could to the peak at a spot that had water and a few flat spots. The next morning we set off at about 06h30 for the summit. Di, Bill and Dave decided not to go for the peak, so Di asked us to get samples of and photograph all ericas and proteas. We are not sure yet if we found anything really important or not, but it was a lot of fun looking. The views from the peak were outstanding, with the great northern kloofs looking particularly alluring.

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The summit of Kammanassieberg

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A small ground-dwelling protea near the summit

After a bit more fossicking we headed down the mountain and all met up at the bakkie at 13h00. We loaded all the baggage onto the roof-rack and managed to squeeze three in the cab and seven in the back for the long ride back to the cars. So, all in all, it was a great hike with good company, good weather and a summit thrown in as well. It is definitely something that should be repeated at some time in the future.

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Tony in his characteristic “Ten-Peaks” pose

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Along the way

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