Our hike schedule is continually updated, but here is a list of upcoming hikes.

Please contact any committee member or our meets/hike coordinator for details.

Non members of the Mountain Club may only participate in a meet with prior approval of the meet leader. The meet leader may require the visitor to complete a Temporary Membership application which can be downloaded from the “Forms and Constitution” heading on this website. The completed form must be handed to the meet leader before the start of the meet.

Meet attendance confirmation: please let Meet Leaders know of your intention to attend a Meet by not later than two days before the meet, especially if lifts and other transport arrangements need to be made.

Please read the Description of Grades page to familiarise yourself with the new grading system

 

2019

Sunday 17 March

DE GROOTE KOSYN – PATH CLEARING MEET – Grade: 2M

Jane Luck                044 534 8381 or 083 256 0841               dr.luck@global.co.za

Hike to ‘De Groote Kosyn’, (the ‘great doorway’) located in the south-western portion of the Formosa Nature Reserve. The ‘Kosyn’ is a deep cleft carved through the mountains by the Palmiet River, creating a huge cavern with great swimming potential. Meet at the Luck’s house – take the N2 towards PE, 8.3 km east of the Keurboom’s River bridge turn left at the sign ‘Moonshine on Whisky Creek’. Depart for the Kosyn at 08h30, drive through forestry (1hour) then hike (2 to 3 hours) to the Palmiet River. Total hiking distance is 7 km, about 4 to 5 hours walking time. Wear long trousers as there is some bush whacking as the path is overgrown in places. Bring lunch, tea stuff, your cozzie, mozzie repellent, a lilo or flotation device (optional) for a swim or paddle up the gorge.

The MCSA is permitted to go to the Kosyn (an access-restricted area) annually, to help keep the path open for SANParks (kindly organised by Maretha Alant). Please bring gloves, garden clippers, loppers or shears to help clear the path – this is a fun-filled work meet. The path has a lot of dead stuff fallen over it since the fire.

Wed 20 – Sun 24 March

BAVIAANSKLOOF – Grade: 2M

Derek Odendaal    076 292 2866 dodendaal@mweb.co.za

This long weekend will be spent enjoying some of the surprises and beautiful scenery of the western Baviaanskloof. We will be camping at the Bo-kloof camp site (reachable by ordinary car), from where we will undertake day hikes into the spectacular kloofs of the area and hike up the Baviaanskloof Mountains to get the distant views.

The camping site is large enough for many of us, has a lawn with thorn trees for shade, and a dam for swimming. The ablutions are good, with hot water and electricity, but no power points at the sites. The cost will be R320 per person for the 4 nights. We must pay a 50% deposit by 30 November. Please contact the meet leader.

We meet up at Bo-kloof late afternoon on the Wednesday. This is about 110 km from Uniondale. Attendees must be willing to use their cars to drive to the various day walks during the weekend.

Saturday 30 March

NATURE’S VALLEY COMMONAGE TRAIL – Grade: 2+M

Hans van Ameyde           044 533 4076 or 073 202 9974      hansvana@mweb.co.za

We park our vehicles and start from the Nature’s Valley de Vasselot Rest Camp at 09h00, walk across the Groot River and proceed along the lagoon towards the estuary. From here we climb up Pig’s Head overlooking the Groot River lagoon for our morning break and continue through beautiful fynbos, on a good path, to the Covie settlement. Here we turn east towards the coast on an easy track for about 20 minutes. The track becomes a little-used fisherman’s path, zig-zagging down to the coast through patches of dense fynbos. We stop for lunch at the coast. From here, we follow the coastline, on a good path back to the Groot River estuary. Total distance is 15 km, expected time to complete is about 6 hours.

Fri 5 – Sun 7 April 

LANGEBERG HIKE – Grade: 2H 

Karin van Niekerk     082 956 2422   karinvn@telkomsa.net

This is the replacement hike for the Swellendam Trail over the same weekend. This hike will be open for everyone as there is lots of space.

We camp on the farm Leopard Trail Guesthouse in the Langeberg some 20 km outside Swellendam on the road to Ashton. They have good camping facilities at the foot of the Langeberg with a dam for swimming.

Arrive Friday afternoon 5 April – set up camp and braai.

Saturday 6th of April – hike from the campsite up the Langeberg for 10 km – this route takes us close to Nooitgedacht Hut (now in disuse) on the Swellendam Trail. It will be a long day of hiking with a stiff climb at the start. There is a path and it is well used by hiking clubs. We hike back along the same route.

Sunday 7th of April – do short hikes on the farm. They have 4 x 4 trails and the hiking is along these routes. There are different options to choose from mostly 5 – 6 km long. Return home in the afternoon.

The cost of camping R 140 per person per night. I will need to pay a 50% deposit when I book.

Sat 13 – Sun 14 April

PEAK PLAATS AREA – KLEIN SWARTBERG – Grade: 2+M

Derek Odendaal     076 2922 866 dodendaal@mweb.co.za

We explore some more of the Klein Swartberg near Ladismith. This hike is to the east of Elandsberg, between Peak Plaats (aka Peak Wood) and Steenslang. There is a jeep track leading some distance into the mountains, and then we go off-route further into the upper Hoeko valley, where we will pitch tents. We ascend one of the unnamed peaks (about 1700 masl) on Sunday morning for a stunning view, and then hike back. Distances will not be far, but some of the terrain will be rough.
We meet in Ladismith at the Total Garage on Saturday morning at 8 am and then drive a few kilos to the start of the hike.

Sat 27 – Mon 30 April

BOOSMANSBOS WILDERNESS ALTERNATIVE – Grade 2+H

Ed Kay-Shuttleworth             084 737 5882           ekayshuttleworth@gmail.com

Day 1: Instead of the regular Boosmansbos circuit, we will start from Barrydale and follow the Barrydale Trail until we meet the Loerklip Trail which will take us to the Helderfontein huts which will be our overnight stop.

Day 2: We will summit Grootberg which at 1637 metres is the highest peak in the area. From there we will take an easterly path which is not well trodden and find our way onto and around Horingberg which is the prominent peak visible to the east from near the Helderfontein huts. We will have to make our own camp for the second night but there is a stream on our path that will hopefully provide us with water.

Day 3: We head in a south / south-westerly direction to Grootvadersbosch office where we will have transport to take us back to Barrydale.

As this trail is not well known it is difficult to grade but judging by the terrain this should be grade 2+ with an H due to off-trail wilderness nature and camping requirement.

Sat 11 – Sun 12 May

PILLAARSKOP – RIVIERSONDEREND MOUNTAINS – Grade 2H

Ed Shuttleworth      084 737 5882             ekayshuttleworth@gmail.com

At a height of 1658 metres Pillaarskop dominates the Southern edge of the Riviersonderend mountains and offers what is arguably one of the best hikes in the region. We will start this hike from Esperance Farm on the Southern flank of the mountain at about midday on the Saturday and hike for 4-5 hours before finding a suitable campsite more than half way up the mountain. Hopefully there will be some water nearby, but this is by no means guaranteed! An earlyish rise on the Sunday morning will allow us to reach the summit in a couple of hours with daypacks and then we will return to the bottom by mid-afternoon and head home. There is a faint path, but this trail is not that frequently used so might be somewhat overgrown although there was a fire in 2016.

The total hike is about 16 km (up and down) and vertical ascent is in the region of 1 500 metres. It’s quite a drive so let’s try and combine transport – there is also the Khomeesdrift campsite in the area for those who might want to arrive on the Friday and/or depart on the Monday. Who knows – with eagle eyes and a bit of luck we might get to catch a glimpse of the “Scarlet Pimpernel ” that is known to frequent the region!

Let’s feel the fear and do it anyway!

Saturday 25 May

JONKERSBERG FROM GROOTDRAAI PICNIC SITE – Grade: 2M

Dave Barnes              044 343 1478 or 082 269 5705       ittledoo@gmail.com

Meet at the Shell garage near the only traffic light in Sedgefield to depart 8 am. Note: not the Engen which is congested due to Saturday market.

The hike begins at the Grootdraai picnic spot on the Kom-se-Pad road, some 2 km northeast of Gouna. Initially we go along part of the Terblans trail and later join up with the Outeniqua trail near the Ou masjien site. The Ou masjien is no longer there, now housed at a museum. There is a steep incline through a pine forest, and an ascent to great views of the Knysna Heads and coast on a clear day. This is one of the most scenic spots on the Outeniqua trail. The hike has a bit of everything – great indigenous forest, and spectacular garden route views.

A braai is planned at the Grootdraai picnic spot at the end. The hike should take about five hours.

Sunday 2 June

GROENEWEIDE TO GROENKOP AND PADDAKOP – Grade: 2M

Evie Bowen         071 162 0009   eviebowen24@gmail.com

This is a figure of 8 walk in the Outeniqua mountains. A winter hike – the aim is to spend more time on the mountain above the forest in order to enjoy the views and the sunshine.

All uphill from the parked cars to the “2 kops”, followed by a downhill circuit and variation via the Silver River, with good views and vistas. Mostly looking up towards Cradock Peak, Melville Peak and the surrounding mountains to the east. In the lower area some easy forest gravel track, while on our return expect a section along a good forest path. On higher ground we mostly follow a gravel track. However, at Groenkop we leave the circular track, and we will cross open vegetation and follow the ridgeline for a certain distance to reach our goal – Paddakop. After the fires, this area should be reasonably accessible – a few dead pine logs to leapfrog over, and some interesting new growth fynbos to discover!

Height gain is about 700 m, distance about 15 km and expected time to complete is 6 hours.

Meet at Strawberry Hill Farm for 08h45.

Access via the old 7-Passes road between Saasveld NMMU and Wilderness. This is the property belonging to our members Di and Bill Turner. They have kindly agreed to allow parking. Please proceed into the property, as you reach the first house ahead of you and on your right, please continue further along the track until you reach a large open green paddock where you park.
As you will be arriving early on a Sunday morning, please ensure a “degree of silence!” as there are various cottages and dogs who do not need to be woken up! We will walk from here into the indigenous forest north of the 7-Passes road.

Fri 7 to Sun 9 June

TIERKOP – GROOT SWARTBERG – Grade: 3H

Clive Louw    044 343 2558    clivelouw@telkomsa.net

This is an opportunity to climb the Groot Swartberg from the north up one of the classic lines.

On Friday we travel through Meiringspoort to the Groot Karoo. Our accommodation is at the guest farm, Wilgemond, nestled below the impressive slopes of Tierkop of the Groot Swartberg. The choice is a cottage for four, the many bedrooms in the huge Dutch style farmhouse, or you can camp on the lawn. We will retire early for the long climb up Tierkop at 2 130 m, which involves a 1 200 m gain. The final 150 m is up a ridge that involves more technical scrambling and exposure in places. This climb is similar in nature to Formosa Peak and Cockscomb. Return to Wilgemond for a braai and celebration.

On Sunday you can explore the area and the kloofs. There is an opportunity for fine mountain biking through the back roads that take you through to Klaarstroom, where there is a fine country hotel for coffee and snacks. It is a cycling route of about 30 km which is not too demanding. I will lead the cyclist on this pleasant route.

Sunday 25 August

CAMPHER’S KLOOF TO PEAK “TEN67” – Grade: 2M

Evie Bowen            071 162 0009        eviebowen24@gmail.com

Meet for 08h45 at the Engen Garage.
This is an easy hike of about 10 km – under 5 hours – depends on the snack breaks. Lovely sunny winter walk – at higher ground with views over the surrounding Outeniquas.

The 2M grade includes the odd holding on to rocks as you ascend the final peak itself, with a good path over some stony ground to the saddle. We ascend the peak on a less defined path.

Meet at the Engen petrol station on the northern outskirts of George (last one on the right) just prior to starting up the Outeniqua Pass. Here we can regroup in less vehicles to save on fuel cost.

We park at the Herold Hop Farm. From here we follow a good trail winding up through what was “wunderbaar” fynbos before the fires. Now some pockets remain in between the new growth which is coming along rapidly. We ascend to the saddle from which we climb up a smaller less defined path to the actual Peak Ten67.

We return by the same route. Some of the party may choose the shorter return option to the Sputnik descending via the neck to the south. However, for this option, you will need to make lift arrangements. If you are lucky, you may be able to catch a Pizza at Waboomskraal on your return, ……hmmmmm , always very busy on ‘sunny Sundays”!

Fri 6 to Sun 8 Sep

EASTERN GROOT SWARTBERG – RIDGELINE HIKE AT BLESBERG – Grade: 2M and 3M

Evie Bowen           071 162 0009               eviebowen24@gmail.com

Stay at the farm Haggas on the northern side of Groot Swartberg. Drive through Meiringspoort towards Klaarstroom and take the R407 going east. Haggas is about 30 km down the road.

Cottage accommodation: cost around R300 pp per night. The cost includes use of mountain road.

The grading depends on the option you chose: grade 2M on lower sections and 3M for ridgeline hiking.
Arrive on Friday afternoon. Allow for a full day’s hike on Saturday. Sunday morning, further exploring in the area.

On Saturday, after a 4×4 drive, we reach higher ground. The drive is roughly 45 minutes to where we park our cars in Cape Nature area at about 1600 m. The day’s hike involves climbing up to reach the main Swartberg, scrambling along the Swartberg ridgeline (no footpath!! no marked trail and partially new territory for the meet leader). Along the ridge we will take in 2 peaks before reaching our objective, Blesberg 2084 m. We complete our ridge hiking as we move further along towards the next westerly peak. At this point we will drop downhill to meet the 4×4 track and walk back to the cars or cut across country? So far, Evie has only explored Blesberg itself, and a section of the western ridgeline. Interesting rocks, mountain fynbos, and amazing views in all directions into the numerous rocky areas and gorges. Distance along the ridgeline is probably about 6 to7 km with rocky ups and downs and some scrambling. Returning along the road a further 6 km. This trip is very weather dependent.

On Sunday morning – we can hike/explore some of the lower foothills closer to the farm: to be arranged.
Requirements: at least two 4×4 vehicles. On Saturday we will be driving along a well maintained 4×4 track to reach higher terrain. I plan to park cars a short distance after we enter the Cape Nature area. Depending on numbers and cars, a second group wanting an easier hike can take the soft option of driving as far as they like.

Numbers are limited. We will stay on the Farm Haggas where there are 2 cottages sleeping 4 persons: 2 bedrooms with 2 single beds in each cottage. I am hoping we can possibly have at least 1 extra tent for 2 campers attached to each cottage. Good self-catering facilities in the cottages. Ordinary vehicles can reach the farm, however, only 4×4 for the area above the farm towards the main line of the Swartberg.

Note: September in the Swartberg is still winter! The farm is at high altitude – around 1000 m – please be prepared for very cold nights and high chill factor depending on the wind – hopefully milder day time temperatures.
Further details will follow closer to the time.

Thu 12 – Sun 15 Sep

KAMMANASSIE GRAND TRAVERSE – Grade: 3H

Greg Devine             083 378 2587           devinemachines@gmail.com

This is a four-day, three-night trip through the best of the Kammanassie range. The walk starts at Vermaakskloof and ends at the farms below Mannetjiesberg. The first and last days are shortish and involve a bit of car ferrying, but the middle two days are quite long and hard. The walk is mostly on an old jeep track, except for day three when we go cross country without a path. The walk takes in Vermaakskloof, the beautiful Bakneskloof, the deep gorge above Buffelsrivier, the huge north-facing kloof, the huge bowling green that is Perdevlakte and the area below Mannetjies.

There is no shelter, so tents must be carried. There is not much water during the days but there is good water at the night-spots. This is an amazing hike through a little-known wilderness area, with great views of all the surrounding mountains.

Sat 21 – Tue 24 Sept

ROMANSKRAAL AREA – LANGEBERG – Grade: 2M or 2+M

Derek Odendaal         076 292 2866            dodendaal@mweb.co.za

We had to postpone our planned meet (April 2018) in this lovely area near Albertinia after the area burnt in January 2018. The vegetation should have recovered somewhat by September 2019. After our first visit in March 2016, we realised there is a lot more to explore here. There will be different options during this long weekend, from challenging off-route exploration and ascending one of the local high peaks, to more leisurely hiking on the network of jeep tracks in the valleys.

We will hike in for 6 km and establish a base camp next to a stream (370 masl). The explorers will skip this and hike into an unexplored valley to the west and return to the base camp the next afternoon. On day 3, the explorers will take on Paardeberg and try to get to the summit of the impressive Paardeberg Spitz (1220 m), returning to base camp again. The leisurely hikers can follow their own routes and enjoy the scenery of this area from base camp. On day four, we will hike out via a different route and visit some San paintings.

Romanskraal is about 130 km from George. We will meet up at the Engen garage next to the N2 in Albertinia at 8 am on 21 Sept and drive together to the Langeberg from there.

Fri 18 to Sun 20 Oct

KLEIN SWARTBERG BACKPACKING – TOWERKOP LOWER SHELTER – Grade: 2M & 3H

Evie Bowen     071 162 0009            eviebowen24@gmail.com

Evie’s subtitle to this weekend is: Towerkop lower shelter – the tin one!

Grade 2M to reach the camping shelter and grade 3H to traverse around the foot of Towerkop Cave.
Unlimited numbers! For this weekend (2 nights out) we will start on Friday, spend the first afternoon backpacking (allow 5 1/2 hours) to the shelter in the Towerkop Reserve – about 8 km and an ascent of 800 m. Very limited sleeping space in the shelter – so you may have to carry your tent. This makes for a pleasant camp area from which we can do day trips. Fresh water is available in the nearby river. On Saturday we do a day trip ascending a further 600 m to reach the Towerkop cave and explore a portion of the traverse. This will involve some scrambling.

As an alternative, hikers can explore the area around the camp, or laze in the delightful river nearby. On Sunday, we can undertake some further exploring, before heading off down along the same trail to reach our cars. There is a good trail to the Camp area shelter, and a less distinct trail with some scrambling near the top, before you reach the Towerkop cave. You will be camping at altitude – please bring appropriate warm clothing and warm sleeping bags.

Further details will follow. Provisionally we will meet mid-morning, or earlier on Friday in the Ladismith area, drive to where we park our cars on Buffelskloof farm. Return on Sunday afternoon.

 

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