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

Saturday 19 January

KAAIMANS RIVER SWIM – Grade 2+M

Cheryl Devine     083 260 5678    cdcheryldevine@gmail.com

It is time to hit the water again and spend a spectacular day swimming and walking down the Kaaimans River. The start of the trail and access to the river is via Strawberry Hill, situated off Madiba Drive in George.

There is a walk of about 30 minutes on a very good path down to the river. The swimming starts immediately, and we bob and weave our way down the river, walking on trails, on the bank where we can, otherwise compulsory swims are necessary. The longest swim is 200 metres. There is a little rock scrambling from time to time but nothing serious. We leave the river at the N2 motorway bridge in Wilderness. Depending on the size of the group and the fitness of the participants, the trip should take about 2 hours.

Be prepared for kloofing, eg: good shoes for swimming and rock scrambling, sun protection and hat. A small light back pack or waist pack with snacks and your essentials must be in waterproof bags.

As we start and finish at different places there will be a bit of ferrying of cars and people to be arranged a little closer to the time. Have a bag with towel and dry clothes for the end of the trip. This bag will be left in a car at Wilderness.
Meet at the parking area by the Kaaimans River near the N2 bridge at Wilderness at 10 am.

IF YOU CAN NOT SWIM THIS TRIP IS NOT FOR YOU (check out the ‘dry’ option below)

Fern Trail (2+M): Di has offered to lead a group on the Fern Trail while the others swim down the Kaaimans River. This is a circular 3.6 km trail starting at Strawberry Hill farm house. It meanders through fynbos and indigenous forest following the Silver River to the confluence with the Kaaimans River. The return route is along the ridge between the two rivers. Di will take you at a leisurely pace – about 3 hours, with stops for swims if desired. The hills are steep and some of the going may tricky. Hiking poles or sticks are a good idea.

If you would like to join Di on this delightful trail, contact her on 082 900 7089 or 044 877 0055.

Bring and Braai

Di and Bill Turner have once again kindly offered the use of Strawberry Hill for a bring-and-braai after the event. Please bring your own plates, eating utensils and a little closer to the time we can discuss salads and puddings etc.

UPDATE 2019 01 15
The weather forecast for Friday 18 Jan is for 15mm of rain in George. I will assess the river conditions late on Friday and let you know if the swim is on. Di will change her route so that there are no river crossings to be done.

The weather for Saturday is better, with 1% chance of rain forecast. Let’s hope for the best and enjoy the day. The group wanting to do the river this year is small so we should be able to complete the swim in good time and enjoy the braai for the rest of the afternoon. Don’t forget to bring a salad or pudding to share.

If all is well, I will see you at the car park off the N2, near the bridge just out of Wilderness. You can leave dry clothes with me, then continue to Strawberry Farm where you must please park your car in the paddock to the left of the house. As you drive up the road to Strawberry Hill, the parking is to the left and the Turner’s abode is to the right. The house directly in front of you as you drive in, has tenants in situ, so please do not disturb them as you go by.

Cross fingers for good swimming conditions and I hope to see you either walking, swimming or at the braai.

Sunday 3 February

KAAIMANS RIVER WALK – Grade 2+M

Cheryl Devine    083 260 5678        cdcheryldevine@gmail.com

This is a walk and wade trip up the Kaaimans River from the river crossing at the Saasveld campus to the pump station weir, close to the student housing.  The trip takes about 4 hours. The route will have us wading in the river – the rocks and pebbles underfoot can be slippery – or walking along the river bank where possible. There are no compulsory swims, but plenty of opportunities to have a dip along the way.  The depth of the water to wade in is usually knee height.  We exit the river at the weir, where we can swim up a narrow gorge to a small waterfall.  The swim is optional, but I would recommend it.  We will have lunch at the weir then head back to the cars, passing the student housing on the way. The forest along the banks is untouched by the recent fires so the trip up is in the shade of the trees and the forest is a sight to behold as we pass through.

You will need to wear sturdy shoes and have your towel and lunch in water-proof protection just in case you have an unscheduled dip in the water. A stick or hiking pole may be useful if your balance is not so great in the water.

Meet at the entrance to NMMU Saasveld Campus at 9 am.  Once signed in we will park the cars near the swimming pool, then start off to the beginning of the Groeneweide Trail and down to the river crossing. From here we meander up the river to the weir.

This is an enjoyable walk and the swim at the weir is a perfect end to the day.

Saturday 23 February

BLOUKRANS RIVER FLOAT – Grade 2M

Hanna Edge       044 381 0014 or 082 492 0405        hanitadut@gmail.com

If you don’t like getting wet, then this meet is not for you! We will start at the old bridge over the Bloukrans River on the R102 to float and amble our way down to the river mouth.

Put your sarmies in a waterproof bag, wear your cozzie and be prepared to get wet. The course and the swims are not hectic, and you can wear a wetsuit if you want. We will stop under the Bloukrans Bridge to watch the bungy jumping and will then continue to the river mouth where we will have lunch or a snack. Make sure your bag is waterproof otherwise your sarmies will be soggy. We will then retrace our route back to the cars at the bridge.

What to bring: hat, sunscreen, water, food.
Shoes: strops or paddling shoes or something that you can swim in and walk in: no boots.
Rucksack: You can either put a waterproof bag inside your pack or put your pack inside a waterproof bag, or you can bring a dry bag and just carry it for the walking bits. You can also bring a kid’s Lilo to help you stay afloat. Transport arrangements: Meet at the De Vasselot campsite parking lot in Nature’s Valley at 8:00 am. We can then leave some cars there and travel in as few as possible vehicles to the start. This means driving up the Groot Rivier pass and down the Bloukrans pass. Take some dry clothes and a towel along and leave in the cars so that you can have something warm to wear at the end. More information will come later.

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.

Thu 4 – Sun 7 April (Fully Booked!)

SWELLENDAM HIKING TRAIL – Grade: 2H (Fully booked!)

Karin van Niekerk     082 956 2422   karinvn@telkomsa.net

This 5-day and 4-night trail has been opened again for hikers. It is situated above Swellendam in the Marloth Nature reserve in the Langeberg mountain range. It traverses through fynbos and into isolated valleys with streams and indigenous forests. The trail follows a circular route over 5 days. It is described as one of the most beautiful in the Western Cape. The hike covers 58 km and is strenuous. We will leave for Swellendam on Thursday 20th of September and stay in a cottage in the Marloth Reserve.

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!

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.

 

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