This meet should really have been called the Brenton Coastal Scramble, or the Brenton Baboon’s Way, as a lot of scrambling and clambering was done.
This hike starts at Jaapsebaai (Jaap’s Bay) at Brenton on Sea and follows the old fishermen’s paths along the rocky coast of Brenton on Sea eastwards towards The Heads. I chose this specific date for the hike because of the need for a low tide at exactly the right time to enable us to get around the rocks and through the bays without getting our feet wet. So with low tide at 11:00 the 23 brave hikers started the hike around 9:10 am.
On the Friday beforehand the NSRI issued dire warnings of storms and high seas and said that extreme caution should be taken when on the rocks, and beware of rogue waves – enough to almost cancel the walk. But apart from a windstorm on Friday night the weather was fantastic!

Brenton 1

We started off by descending the steps at Jaapsebaai, and then had to tackle the first obstacle. The sea was not low enough to go around the sea side of the rocks, so we had to go over them.

Brenton 2

Because that part of the path is not walked often, it was quite eroded away, and with some huffing, puffing and sliding everybody made it around the headland. Next obstacle was the ‘step over’, a crevasse of about 50 cm which had to be jumped over. Cheryl provided a helping hand to those who needed a bit of support. We crossed the next bay and then crossed the next headland, this time quite an easy path. A new technique was developed called bumming it, where one sat down on one’s bum and used one’s hands to get down some places or cross some rocks.

At Die Blokke we had our first break, admiring the beach, kelp gulls and oystercatchers, and generally gathering our spirits for the next headland. Here the rocks change to Table Mountain Sandstone, which make for better grip but steeper inclines. The coastline here has deep narrow gullies into which the breakers surge, creating foam that looks just like whipped cream. But first we had to traverse over a sheer cliff, with a 10m drop-off on one side. The path there is very overgrown but I exhorted everyone to ‘watch where you put your feet, and don’t fall!’. We took it slowly over this section, and everyone made it safely to the other side.

Brenton 3

Through and around another gulley and we were ready to descend into the next bay, but only after scrambling down a steep cliff, walking (or bumming) a tightrope over a rock ridge and waiting for the waves to recede before jumping down onto the beach.

Brenton 4

We had our next stop at the far side of this bay, and explored the cave, which has some interesting stalactites, and fresh water dripping down from the roof. This is obviously ground water filtering through from the sand above.

Brenton 6

This is a perfect place to hide away – dry shelter, fresh water and you could always catch a fish or two! And it has a nice view as well!

Brenton 5

Then it was time to turn around and tackle the steep (very steep) sandy path leading out of the bay up to the grand houses of Brenton on Sea. There used to be a rope to pull oneself up but this time tree roots had to suffice. Once on top of the cliff we followed the better known ‘Fisherman’s Walk’ back into civilisation. We arrived back at the parking area at about 12:30, where Sunday Lunch was in full swing at the Brenton Haven Hotel.

Brenton 7

Some of the party retreated to the local pub for a beer, while others just went home (because we forgot to bring money!)

brenton 8

I think everyone had a good adventure. The hike was not long, but challenging, with many different aspects, ranging from just walking on a beach to traversing over a narrow ledge, and coping with exposure.

Brenton 9

Thank you to everyone who came: Greg and Cheryl Devine, Ian Clarke, Maretha Alant, Bill and Di Turner, Rina de Leur, Wolf Schneider, Erich and Margrit Brack, Tannje Strauss, Michelle Nisi, Bill Uren and Carolyn Thomashoff (guest), Fred van Berkel, Sandy and Clive Louw, Werner Frei, Elaine Smith, Hilary and Doug Aubert and Dave Edge.

Hanna du Toit (Meet leader)

Photo’s by Fred van Berkel