The Swartberg in the Ladismith area offers some of the most dramatic and most pristine mountain scenery in the Southern Cape. These mountains are also the highest in the region. The Liggie Trail gives the hiker a great display of the beauty and grandeur of these mountains. It is a circular day walk of 14 km and takes you high up on the slopes of Elandsberg (almost 1000 m ascent and descent!)

Fifteen enthusiastic members gathered in Ladismith on Saturday morning (Greg and Cheryl Devine, Tony and Evie Bowen, Fred and Nicky van Berkel, Clive Louw, Karin van Niekerk, Maretha Alant, Ed Kay-Shuttleworth, Greg and Janet Moore, Sanet van Meersbergen, Jacolise Joubert and the leader, Derek Odendaal). We were joined by 3 members of Klein Karoo Hiking Club, Danie Steyl, Wessel Steyl and Pieter van der Walt. It was a beautiful sunny day and turned out to be quite mild.

We walked the trail anti-clockwise, which makes the climb rather steep and exhausting. But the descent is softer on the legs and joints! The plan was to include visits to two exceptional rock art sites, both off the route and still higher than the highest part of the trail. Getting to the first one proved to be more challenging and rougher than expected, and we abandoned the effort (also because the exact location was not known).

Reaching the second site (not far from the Liggie) was still a challenge and only three of us had the energy and the enthusiasm to scramble up the slope. It proved to be worth the effort. It is a very special site, at the base of a huge overhanging rock wall with a very thin waterfall raining down on the grassy slope. Many of the images are substantially larger than most San paintings and still well preserved.

After descending the mountain, 13 of us stayed the night at the Kliphuis, a very comfortable and well-equipped house about 4 km outside of Ladimith. On Sunday morning some went home, some explored the area at leisure, while six of us went into Waterkloof, just to the east of Elandsberg. This is a very deep kloof with a nice stream, cut into the ancient Swartberg rock. We had to wade most of the way and we truly enjoyed the scenery and unspoiled nature of the kloof. Going home didn’t seem right – the weekend was too short.