This was an exploratory hike into unknown territory, with the aim of ascending the highest peak and also give it a name. Since the weekend of 12 and 13 November was to be a cloudy and rainy one, the meet was moved to 19 and 20 November. Fortunately, most of the original group members could attend. They were Bill Turner, Greg and Cheryl Devine, Clive Louw, Charles Smith, Maretha Alant, Fran Hunziker, Janine Smith, Werner Illenberger and Zeta Michau from EP Section, Derek Odendaal (leader), as well as two guests from the Klein Karoo Hiking Club, Danie and Wessel Steyl.

We gathered in perfect weather at Misgund on Saturday morning and drove through the farms and orchards towards the Niekerksberg Nature Reserve, managed by EC Nature Conservation. The entire hike was in this reserve. There is a rough jeep track running into the reserve for almost 10 km and goes up to a height of 1400m, where it ends between Niekerksberg and the unnamed highest peak. We followed this track and enjoyed the mountain scenery, with the Misgund River winding its way up the valley on our left side. Unfortunately there are quite a lot of hakea and pine trees invading some of the mountain slopes. We could see not much is done to eradicate these.


Walking in the Niekerksberg Nature Reserve


Erica trachysantha grows in abundance

Early afternoon saw us near the end of the jeep track. We left our packs where we thought would be a good overnight spot and proceeded to climb the highest peak (1618m). It was still some 200m up and the going was a bit rough. The whole group made it to the top. There was some mist coming and going, but we could get great views of the surrounding mountains, as well as southwards over the Keurbooms River catchment area and towards Plett in the distance.


The group on the summit of Goedgegund (photo by Derek)


Afternoon mist flowing over the peaks

We camped for the night between this peak and Niekerksberg, at a height of around 1350m. After sunset it became very cold and at times we were shrouded in mist. We also woke up in mist the next morning, but it soon disappeared and we then had perfect clear weather. We climbed Niekerksberg (1595m) and reached the summit around 8 am. This offered fantastic views, especially to the east with Peak Formosa prominent in the distance. We could see 6 mountain ranges: The Langkloof range, Tsitsikamma, Outeniqua, Kouga, Kammanassie and Swartberg.


The great view towards Peak Formosa from the summit of Niekerksberg

After packing up our tents, we walked back along the jeep track. The sun was fierce and it became a bit hot at midday. Many of us took a nice plunge into the large dam near the end of our hike. All of us were back at the cars by 2 pm. It was really a pleasant meet in this unknown area. After a number of proposals and discussions around a name for the highest peak, it was decided to call it Goedgegund (meaning well-favoured), and which is the positive for Misgund.


The cool water down below invited us for a swim

Derek Odendaal – meet leader