Hikers:-
Janet and Austen Byrne, Janet and Greg Moore, Romy and Mike v d Heyde, Gill and Dave Manley, Magriet and Eric Brack, Wolf Schneider, Elaine Smith, Wendy Thompson, Werner Frei, Margie and Dave Barnes.

Just before reaching the start, those in the lead cars had a good sighting of a bushbuck family. The weather was ideal, a perfect Garden Route autumn day.

The group of sixteen started and completed the easy pleasant hike through the somewhat dry indigenous forest, all as oxygen charged afterwards as if we had spent time in an oxygen tent. It was a surprise that the hike took only 2.5 hours, including stops, for the advertised distance of 9 kilometres. There were unfortunately no GPS to verify the distance.

It was interesting to meet a group of hikers, mainly youngsters, all from the Eastern Cape, who believed that they were doing the Outeniqua trail, heading for Millwood hut! They in fact did the circles hike in reverse, and later ended up at the start where our group was relaxing at the braai. After a rest at the picnic spot they happily set off on the road for Millwood.

Many of the party stayed for the braai afterwards. Thanks to Eric for the fire. The facilities at the picnic spot are all in good order.

Dave Barnes – meet leader

From apple orchards in Waboomskraal,
through the unspoilt Doring River Wilderness Area,
this circuit is special and filled with much variety.

Hikers :
MCSA members – Gonny Houtsma; Janet & Greg Moore: Wolf Schneider; Erich and Margrit Brach; Clive &Sandy Louw; Dave & Gill Manley; Wendy Thompson; Karen van Niekerk; Hannah & Dave Edge; Amelia Spargo; Werner Frei; Fred & Nicky van Berkel; Tony& Evie Bowen.

Visitors/ new membership – Sanet van Meersbergen: Ed Shuttleworth

Hike statistics: Hiking distance is 15.1 km, consisting of numerous up’s and down’s. This path was originally laid to be walked in an anticlockwise direction. This enables the group to reach the swimming hole for lunch. We however, walked in a clockwise direction. This entails a longer uphill section (which can be rather steep on the downhill) and ensures reaching the Peak of the day around lunch time to make the most of the good views.
Our total ascent and descent for the day along an undulating path was about 1266m.

Grade: 2M for most of the way- small rocky sections as one reaches the Peak.

Trail Condition: The trail is in good condition. Most of the original yellow markers are very faded or non-existent. Since the fire of 2 years ago the main ascent from the river is a little more difficult to find- however it is noticeable that previous hikers have been marking the path with good sets of cairns.

Access: Is along a Cape Nature servitude next to the farm called “Imbezza” in Waboomskraal. There is some limited
parking along the road before the servitude is reached. Self-issue permits are available at Witfontein Forest Station.

Duration of the Hike: We spent about 5 hours on the hike. Start time: 9.15 am / Finishing time: between 2.30 to 3.00 pm/this included breaks for snacks along the way, and lunch on the Peak. As no one swam no swimming time was included!!

Let the hike begin.

Hike description: the views are billiant and amazingly varied throughout the trail.The pool level was distinctly low – probably due to the drought situation- most hikers missed even seeing the pool! We set a good pace on the downhill gravel jeep track to our first teatime snack. However thereafter the uphill assent to the peak had the group very spread out. Tony as our sweep for the day ensured that we all reconnected for lunch in the vicinity of the peak.
Peak height is 1107 m.
A leisurely pace ensued for the mainly downhill sections thereafter – with some of the group shortcutting across the
Fynbos and rocks, then descending steeply to Amelias house. The rest of the group found the path less of a slippery
experience.

Thanks to the hospitality of Amelia – we all gathered on her stoep to continue enjoying the stunning views of the area and some cold refreshments. This is where the hike ended. It seemed to the meet leader that a great day was had by all.

Enjoying our first snack of the morning -knowing that the
mountains shown here await us.

The slower uphill section

Ed and Wolf – Hanging out at the Peak

Janet and Greg and the rest enjoy lunch just below the peak

Views looking to the horseshoe mountain known as Camphers Berg, and a rather pensive Amelia in a turquoise hat

Lucky for us – this particular day our Doring River day’s hike ended on a STOEP!!
Thank you to all who supported this meet. Also my thanks to Ed for the” Mountain Panorama” photo and Nicky for the group shot.

Evie Bowen – Meet leader

 

Instead of walking from the Robinson Pass to the Attakwaskloof Hiking Hut, we decided to walk in the reverse direction, starting from Perdekop Farm.
The starting time was brought forward to 07.30 as the temperature was predicted to be quite warm and fifteen people assembled bright and early for the start. Eleven to do the full trail and four the half trail.

The party consisted of Bill & Di Turner, Tony & Evie Bowen, Dave & Gill Manley,
Clive & Sandy Louw, Karin van Niekerk, Cheryl Devine, Robyn Reid, Janine Smith,
Brigitte Aubery ( guest ) and Janet & Greg Moore.

On the gate to the Attakwaskloof Reserve there is a new sign, proclaiming the reserve a World Heritage Site, and we complied with the instruction to only enter if in possession of a permit.

The road loops round past the Attakwaskloof Hiking Hut and then the trail starts behind the hut and up over the Attakwasberg. On the way up, Janet felt unwell and decided to go back. The trail is good and clear up to this point, but the next section of about a kilometre, which is just on the south side of the ridge, down to the corner of the plantation, in the next photo, is unclear and not good.

From the corner of the plantation, to the end, the trail is clear, easy to follow and well maintained.

The trail then traverses the southern slopes of the Attakwasberg and we shortly stopped for a tea break and to split the party, the ones doing the full trail to go on ahead and the group doing the half trail to press on at a more leisurely pace.

The party doing the half trail went as far as the swimming pools where a vehicle was left for the return. As Janet, the designated navigator for the return, had left the group early, Karin volunteered to swop groups and navigate back to the farm.

This photo shows the trail going off over the ridges of the slopes of the Attakwasberg, with Ruitersberg on the Robinson Pass, in the far distance.

We stopped for lunch at the swimming pools on the Molen River, which flows into the Kouma River, with the braver persons taking a dip. Dave, in his haste to get out of the water after dipping his feet to test the temperature, promptly slipped in. Gill, in a surprised voice was heard to say, ‘Dave never swims in cold water’.

After lunch, we walked up the valley to the point where the Attakwaskloof Trail joins the Kouma Circuit. This part was rather hot and humid, but as we joined the Kouma Circuit a welcome cool breeze refreshed us.

From the junction of the trails, there is a long downhill to the Kouma River, but by now the Robinson Pass was getting comfortably closer.

Clive and Brigitte used the opportunity to cool their feet off and everybody filled their water bottles, for the long pull up to the Robinson Pass.

The trail is just over 19km with 1225m of climb and 1000m of descent and took us eight and a half hours.

Cheryl asked, which way is the harder? The way we did it this year, there is more ascent, by almost 25%, but the path was much easier to find and much clearer and so not so tiring. So I think the effort involved was the same as last time.

Thanks to Evie, Karin, Janine and Robin for some stunning photos.
Everybody enjoyed their day out in the mountains.

Greg Moore – meet leader

We started our hike at Middelplaas (De Rust) on Friday morning at 9.45 in slightly drizzling weather. It takes a while to sort out the logistics of getting a car to the end of the hike. Greg and Cheryl kindly offered to leave their bakkie at Buffelsdrif and Tony and Evie picked them up. The 60 km drive along the dirt road from Buffelsdrif to Middelplaas takes at least 90 minutes.

The hikers: Tony Bowen, Kyle and Dave Underwood (for CREW), Cheryl and Greg Devine,  Evie Bowen, Clive Louw and myself (Karin van Niekerk – leader)

We had cool weather and light rain most of the day. Distance hiked (according to Tony’s GPS) 16.9 km in  6 hours 7 minutes. The hike up the valley is very pretty with beautiful rock formations but not much in the way of plant diversity.

When we crossed into the Kammanassie reserve there was a sign to remind us that we were now entering a world heritage site for the Cape Floral Region.

Crew members Dave and Kyle Underwood.

The jeep track has eroded badly and in places completely washed away. Towards the end of first day it is very overgrown. A big fire swept through the valley 2 years ago and the vegetation along the jeep track in the river valley grew back very thick, in places completely obscuring the jeep track. I don’t know if it will be passable at all in a year’s time.

First part of the hike through the kloof  – scenic grasslands. Evie and Cheryl saw some mountain zebra running away.

We found a flat, sandy place to camp on Friday night and we all settled into a comfortable camp next to the river in Bakneskloof. Some sensible hikers did some grass clearing (gardening) for a flat comfortable bed while others left the grasses in place and had a lumpy restless night. Clive decided it won’t rain and brought his bivvy bag instead of a tent. He survived the drizzle and fortunately Saturday was warm and sunny to allow him to dry his wet equipment along the way to the next camp.

Early morning in Bakneskloof – our camp.

Saturday – the 15.2 km hike took 8 hours 34 minutes (Tony’s GPS) to an elevation of 1302 m. (We had started the hike at 520 m elevation on Friday).

Pristine fynbos, beautiful views and great weather. We camped below a ridge where there was small trickle of water. Tony and Evie pitched camp an hour earlier than the rest of us.  Tony had eaten something the night before that didn’t agree with him and he felt quite ill during the hike on Saturday.

Heading in the direction of Kammanassie peak on Saturday (cloud covered – the jeep track visible on the far left)

Sunday morning:

Clive, Greg and Kyle climbed the ridge peak above our camp. Dave hiked along the ridge looking for plants for CREW. He found lots of interesting specimens and hopefully some rares. Tony and Evie caught up with the rest of us at our overnight stop.

Greg on his way down from the ridge

Cheryl and I hiked back along the jeep track to pick up another old track that runs on to the plateau above Kleinberg. We had a lovely walk and beautiful views. (Looking north from Kleinberg with the Swartberg in the distance).

By midday we started packing up for our hike back down the mountain.

The road down, looking south towards the Outeniqua mountains.

5.8 km 2 hours 37 minutes (Tony’s GPS). We were back at the bakkie by 3 pm and back at Middelplaas just before 5 pm.

Thank you to all the hikers who came along and contributed making it such a great hike!

Karin van Niekerk – meet leader

Hoëberg has been tickling me for a long time. It is the most prominent peak when I look north from where I
live and work near Sedgefield. Because peaks must be climbed, it was a good reason to put this meet on the
program. Climbing it from the north, is definitely the better option.

The group. Photo by Daniel Carter

Fourteen enthusiastic people gathered at the meeting point at Molen River, north of the mountain. It was
partly cloudy and we could only see parts of the Outeniquas. In the group was Bill Turner, Clive Louw, Greg
and Cheryl Devine, Tony and Evie Bowen, Greg and Janet Moore, Dave and Gill Manley, Charles Smith, Gina
Pelser, Daniel Carter (guest from Australia) and Derek Odendaal.

The Outeniquas near Molen River

We drove further towards the mountain along a farm road and then through a wasteland of wattles and
other exotic trees until it seems clear that we will not get another place to turn the vehicles around. We had
to stop in a line, with only a small space into the thicket behind us to turn around the vehicles one by one. If
one of the drivers lost a car key, we would have a difficult situation…… And awkward things can happen on
the 1st of April.

Through the dense fynbos

We started walking up a spur of the mountain along the jeep track for more than four kilometres. The last
part towards the neck, just north of Hoëberg, was very overgrown and clearly not used any more. From
there, we began our ascent of 500 meters to the summit. We had to find a route up the fynbos-covered
slope. The first bit was dense and difficult, but once we got onto the slope left of a gully running down from
the peak, the going got better and the fynbos was not too high or dense. But it still was not an easy ascent
and quite steep in places. Fortunately, it was a mild day and that also helped us to get through with our
water supply, which we had to carry all the way from the start.

Ascending Hoëberg

Taking a break on the high neck

We made good progress and all reached the neck to the left of the peak, from where we could get a view to
the south. We had another rather steep 150 meters up the mountain and 8 of the party ultimately reached
the summit just after 1 pm. Unfortunately, it was in a cloud and we could not get the nice views we hoped
for. The peak played an April’s fool joke on us! At least we had great views towards the north and the west
along the way.

Summit party, without Greg Moore. Photo by Derek

Strawberry everlasting

After having lunch, we started the descent. On the way down, one of our group members became a bit lost
and had us worried for quite a while. Besides the safety of this person, another concern was the fact that
one of the vehicles in our line would block 3 others from getting out again, should this person remain
missing. At some stage I was even seeing myself sleeping somewhere on the farm while the search for the
missing one was being done by Drew and his crew!

Hoëberg as seen from the north

Wearing coloured clothes proved to be of great value, as we were able to spot Number 14 coming down the
mountain slope when we reached the neck at the base of the slope. With some vocal and physical
assistance, we could guide Number 14 further down and towards the waiting group. I was very relieved
about this and could enjoy the beautiful mild afternoon in the mountains even more on the way down. We
only reached the vehicles after 5 pm and were glad that we could manoeuvre all of them out again!
I think it’s okay to climb a mountain on the 1st of April.

Derek Odendaal – meet leader

At 2502m, Kompasberg near Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo, is the highest mountain in South Africa outside the Drakensberg/Stormberg range – higher than Seweweekspoort peak. Dave and I were doing a butterfly survey for SANBI in the Nieu Bethesda area in December 2016, and happened to be on a farm called Wilgerbosch, which lies at the foot of the Kompasberg, so we thought it would be a cool idea to get some of the MCSA members to climb it with us when we were going to be there again. We could see a jeep track going up the side of the mountain and identified it as a possible route from the South and South Western side.

Kompasberg from the south – showing the jeep track

I put in on the calendar not expecting too many responses as it is a long drive from the Southern Cape, but almost immediately I had 12 people on the list. Eventually the 12 changed into 10, with the following people joining the meet:
Dave and Hanna Edge, Fred and Nicky van Berkel, Werner Frei, Ian Cameron-Clarke, Dennis Lange (our good friend from the Cape Town Section) with his friend Maretha, and Shane Stein and Sarah Fowldes (friends of Dennis and visitors from Port Elizabeth).

There are various routes up Kompasberg, the most popular one from a farm called Kompasberg to the north of the mountain, but a long drive on a bad road from Nieu Bethesda. Then there is also the South Easterly route from the farm Dalveen, favoured by the MCSA. And then there is the route that we wanted to attempt, from the South.
My first problem was to get permission from the owner of Wilgerbosch, who lives in Cape Town, to start on his property. A new farm manager had just been appointed and try as I might, the phone just kept on ringing. Time to make Plan B – I got hold of Werner Illenberger from the Eastern Cape Section, who gave me the Dalveen farmer’s phone number, as well as a GPS track of his route. Problem was that one needed 4x4s to get to the start of the route, or ‘walk for about an hour along a track and then take any route’. Eventually, when I tried the Wilgerbosch manager again about 2 weeks before the meet, he answered, and promised to ask his boss, but sounded very sceptical. I sent him an e-mail outlining all our collective experience (climbing Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya, Aconcagua and various treks done, including Dennis having summited Kompasberg 4 times) and on the Monday before the meet, he phoned to tell me that his boss has ‘hesitantly’ given his permission. So we would do our proposed route after all.

Dave and I met a local farmer, Peet van Heerden, who knew our particular route quite well, and explained what to do after the game fence that we would encounter. I did not listen properly but luckily Dave did.

We all met on Friday at the Zonnenstrahl campsite in Nieu Bethesda (a lovely shady and grassy campsite with beautifully clean ablutions – well worth recommending), and with the master fire maker, Werner Frei, in the group, made a good fire and had a braai. On Saturday morning we left the campsite at 6 am and after Dave took us on a ‘high clearance vehicle needed’ route, parked the 3 bakkies and started our hike. Maretha stayed in the campsite and Nicky wanted to botanise so we were 8 people setting off into the veld, through a donga and finally reaching the jeep track.

The climbing party – Fred, Dennis, Dave, Hanna, Werner, Shane, Sarah and Ian

Going up the jeep track

The imposing cliff face

After about 2 hours walk we got to a game fence, over which we all clambered with grace and elegance. Ian decided here that his metal ankle would not go further and turned around, leaving the Super 7 to continue.

Dennis conquering the game fence

We then had to go up a grassy gulley and meet up with the recognised route from the North. However, I only remembered half of Farmer Peet’s instructions and carried straight on up the gulley instead of turning left. After reaching a vertical drop I realised that I had led everyone to the wrong place.

Going up the wrong gulley

The vertical cliff at the top!

We then followed Dave, who had listened to the farmer, back down and then up the gulley to the left. Fred’s GPS told us that we were now on the right track and from there on it was a rather strenuous scramble, following stone cairns, for the next hour to eventually reach the top at 1 pm. We could all feel the altitude by then – 2500 m is high for us people coming from sea level.

Scrambling to the top

On the summit – Sarah, Shane, Dave, Hanna, Werner and Dennis (Fred took the pic)

Unfortunately it was rather hazy but we could still enjoy the stark beauty of the Karoo, looking out over the plains, dappled with shadows from the clouds.

View from the summit – the three white dots are the bakkies

View from the summit

After a 30 minute break for lunch at the top we started our descent, being very careful with the loose dolerite boulders. The way down was made treacherous with loose pebbles and gravel on the track, and we all reached the bakkies again at about 4 pm – all unscathed, with tired legs but happy that we were able to stand on the top of the mountain.
We were fortunate with the weather – after predictions of rain, which would have scuppered the whole trip, we started off in slightly cloudy weather, but had a clear sky and absolutely no wind at all at the top.
We visited ‘The Karoo Lamb’ for dinner, had a great night’s rest and headed off in various directions on Sunday.

Aerial view of track up Kompasberg

Isometric view of entire track and hike statistics

Thanks to Dave for listening to Farmer Peet, Fred for the GPS work, and all the others in the party for being such reliable and responsible climbers – it made the climb all that much easier!

Hanna and Dave Edge (meet leaders)

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There was a large turn-out for the trail and the party consisted of Don Bands, Hettie Esterhuyse, Karin van Niekerk, (photographer) Dave & Gill Manley, Charles and Lindsey Smith, Maretha Alant, Werner Frei, Bill Turner, Tony & Evie Bowen, Gary & Valerie Thompson, Fran Hunziker, Greg & Janet Moore and guests, Ingrid Vis, Sally Adam, Santa de Jager.

The previous evening, Dave Manley and I left 4×4 vehicles deep into the mountain, at the end of the trail, to give us more time the following morning. Thanks to Don Bands for driving us out.

We all met at Mooihoek farm entrance on the R328. There was heavy overcast with growls of thunder and a shower in the distance. We drove into the farm and parked, by prior arrangement, at the hiking huts.

As we started the ascent to the neck, on a good path, a brief thundery shower had some reaching for their waterproofs.

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From the neck we descended, with fine views of Engelseberg, to the camping spot on the Moordkuil River, where we had a break for tea.

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From here we turned south and followed the river through the mountains. It was ten months since we last walked this trail and on that occasion, the path onward was easy to find. This time, with such an abundance of water, the path had become seriously overgrown and hard to follow and unless some work is done, the path will be impassable within six months.

We crossed the river back and forth many times, passing large swimming pools, where several had a welcome dip. We passed through large stands of indigenous forest and fynbos, where we climbed out of the river bed. Most of the crossings were rather slippery and the vegetation very dense, as can be seen in the photo.

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With the large group and unclear path, we had to keep checking that the people at the back were able to find the path, which resulted in many stops and generally slow progress. As we climbed out of the river bed for the last time, through a lovely path of indigenous forest, the path again became clearer.

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At the lunch spot, Sally spotted some dead ants clamped to grass stalks, it was thought that they were affected by a fungus with mind altering properties.

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The walk out after lunch was through rugged country and beautiful fynbos, dropping down to cross tributaries with steep climbs out.

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The hike took quite a bit longer than the previous year, most of the group taking seven and a half hours, mainly due to a much bigger group and an overgrown path.

The distance was 12 km, with 573m of ascent and 741m descent.

As we drove out it started to rain, which made it most unpleasant for those on the back of my bakkie in the twenty odd km back to the start.

To quote Evie, “It was a truly wonderful day out in the Outeniquas, lovely mountain views and a very interesting and enjoyable hike. And to quote Dave, “The best hike he has had with the MC”

Thanks to Dave and Don for help with the logistics and Karin, Evie and Sally for photos.

Greg Moore – meet leader

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Hikers attending were: Cheryl and Greg Devine, Karin van Niekerk, Charles Smith, Charl du Plooy, Werner Frey, Clive Louw, Wolf Schneider, Fred van Berkel, Hans van Ameyde (Meet leader).

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The weather was fine, overcast but fortunately no rain. Just as well, considering the climbing awaiting us later in the afternoon. We got to the official coastal route west of Sinclair Hut by 10h30 to enjoy the impressive view to the west along the coast. As it was rather windy, we decided to have our morning break at the Hut. From here we proceeded east through the Fynbos and descended to sea level and crossed the Grooteiland River, most of us keeping dry feet.

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We enjoyed our lunch at the tidal pool a bit further on. However, nobody was keen on taking a bath due to the lack of sunshine. From here the terrain becomes challenging, rounding Grootkop and beyond towards Kranshoek view point.

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After we got to the area below Kranshoek, we climbed up through the indigenous forest on a decent path and reached our parking area, high up around 15h30.

Only then, the rain in the form of a light drizzle started falling. So glad about that! We all felt very satisfied with our accomplishment doing this beautiful scenic and challenging hike.

Thanks also to Fred van Berkel for sharing some of his pictures.

Hans van Ameyde – meet leader

The day shone bright and clear with no hint of rain. A perfect day for a river outing.

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On Saturday 21 January 26 members and non-members arrived at Strawberry Hill to start the walk down to the river. After the usual meet and greet and roll call we were off. Bill and his faithful dog accompanied us to the Kaaimans where we met up with Maretha and Clive, who had decided to get into the river further upstream, which added a further one and a half hours onto their time.

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It was a motley crew that entered the water for the first swim, some with gusto and enthusiasm others with a little trepidation and a few misgivings. So began our journey down to Wilderness via the Kaaimans.

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Four children participated in the fun, which improved the age demographics of the SC MCSA greatly. With the use of pool noodles for the younger ones they navigated their way to the end with absolutely no problems, smiles on their faces most of the way, as long as they were fed at regular intervals and could lie on a nice warm rock from time to time to warm up.

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The oldies did exceptionally well, with the thought of warm clothes a cold beer and braai at the end, there was no holding them back.

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There were no major hiccoughs on the day but with such a large group it is impossible to all stay together, so big thanks to all who helped me get everyone safely down and back to Strawberry Hill.

While we were in the river Sandy, Nicky, Di and Avril walked the Fern Trail on the farm. Three non-members were
very late in arriving at the start but did manage to do the river by themselves.

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The cherry on the top of this fantastic day, was a bring-and-braai at the Turners. Thank you Bill and Di for your wonderful hospitality.
Those who did the Kaaimans:
Members: Greg and Cheryl Devine, Greg and Janet Moore, Karin Van Niekerk, Fred Van Berkel, Charles Smith, Evie
Bowen, Stewart Stiles, Alice Jagger, Eugene Fichardt, Rina de Leur, Maretha Alant, Clive Louw, Peter, Clara and Stella Adrian (Jo’burg members).
Non-Members: Lindsay Smith, Kat Webster, Charl Du Plooy, Henry, Kiran and Marley Greyling, Jeannine McManus, William vd Poll and Harry Lewis.
Irmela and Tony were a big help with transport.

Meet Leader: Cheryl Devine.

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Clive Louw (leader), Cheryl Devine, Fran Hunziker, Irmela Kohlsdorf, Hans v Ameyde, Greg Devine, Maretha Alant, Fred v Berkel, Lindsay Smith, Saartjie v d Merwe, Charles Smith, Karin v Niekerk, Nicky v Berkel (taking photo).

The weather was perfect with light breezes and ample cloud cover to take the sting out of this summer’s day hike. The start is from Sparrebosch down a well maintained Fisherman’s Trail, mainly through indigenous forest to a lovely beach at the bottom. This is as far as Nicky and Karin had planned to go.

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The others were to follow a very rugged coastline with plenty of scrambling and the occasional sign of a local fisherman track. The day was chosen with low tide at 11h00, since the route is often just above the water level. The ocean swell was rather large that day, and the waves caught us at times.

We soon came across our first rock barrier, which we got around by climbing a steep chimney with dubious rock in places. The rope was taken out here to assist some of the party.

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The next hurdle was a gully with a steep descent. The scramble down and gully crossing were quite easy, but the big waves caught many by surprise. A few of the members were soaked from top to tail, but importantly nobody lost their footing during the wave distraction.

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The next feature was East Cape, a small peninsula, which is about half way. A shortcut is taken across the peninsula on an old fisherman path through the bush. The path is overgrown, and the bush had all sorts of thorns. We arrived at the other side with some clothes torn, and exposed epidermis worn through in places. Some were donating blood quite generously, while somebody was muttering that mountaineering is not supposed to be a blood sport!

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Straight after that is an impressive huge rock buttress with a tunnel right through it. The obvious way is through the tunnel. We then found a convenient shady overhang for our lunch break, but had to share it with flotsam in abundance.

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We did not tally for long, because we knew about another important rock scramble just at the end. We did not want to be caught by the high tide, which had given an earlier party a lot of trouble.

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We were then surprised by a gully we were not told about. You can’t get around it as there is impenetrable bush at the head of the gully. We had to wade across and got more than just our feet wet.

Towards the end of the route, some of the party chose to take a popular fisherman track that detours around the top of the last rock challenges. The remaining six members stayed low and continued with the scrambling. We arrived at the last big challenge well in time and the waves were of no concern. The challenge is a short undercut face that is steep with poor footholds, but compensates with very good handholds. The rope was taken out again to assist some over the hardest technical challenge (Rock grade C).

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Soon we were at the Eastern Head where there is a sandy beach. For those who wanted to, the route was finished off in style by having a swim. We were then able to really feel the force of the big waves that had been bothering us. We were all happy and safely back at the carpark by 14h30.

This is truly an impressive and challenging part of our rocky coastline. Hence the so-called short route of 6.5 km route was completed in 6.5 hours. Yes, that is 1 km per hour, and we don’t want to hear any snide comments about our speed!

Clive Louw – meet leader

Mountain Club of South Africa