Steenberg Peak Hike, Cape Town

This is one of my favourite short hikes in the Silvermine area of the Table Mountain National Park, taking no more than 2 to 2.5 hours, and being suitable for those with below average to average fitness. It’s a great starter hike, too, and gives one unparalleled sweeping vistas of the Cape Flats, Constantiaberg, Table Mountain, False Bay and beyond to the mountains to the north.

As is the norm with all hikes in the Silvermine area, a camera is a must, as there’s just so much to see – the fynbos, with its vast variety of flowering plants, the wind and rain-sculptured sandstone rock formations, the many species of birds, as well as the views. A camera allows one to capture these images, and savour them many times over at a later stage, as I often do. As the song goes, “Memories are made of this”!

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Cecilia Forest Hike, Cape Town

hiking-southafrica-cecilia-forest-01This one’s a great introduction to hiking in the mountains behind Cape Town, is easy, but nevertheless makes for a delightful morning or afternoon’s outing, with much more than expected in the way of views, flora and fauna. Your total walking time there and back won’t be much more than 2.5 – 3 hours along excellent tracks, but with all there is to see, it will take at least twice that long to do it justice. Before you go, download a free Kirstenbosch map from www.themaps.co.za – worth it, as it’s a large place. Remember to take plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen – and don’t forget the camera! Also take some cash or a credit card for any purchases at Kirstenbosch. Continue reading

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Echo Valley Hiking Trail above Kalk Bay

Before coming to New Zealand my stamping grounds, in tramping/hiking terms, were the mountains behind Cape Town – that’s where I cut my hiking teeth, and spent many happy hours trudging the myriad of tracks which criss-cross most of them in the company of family and friends.

Hiking Echo Valley Cape Town False Bay

The first hike I ever did was as a teenager with the YMCA Adventure Club, up Echo Valley to the Amphitheatre, where we camped a night, and spent the next morning exploring some of the many caves which dot the Silvermine Mountains between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek. To be honest, I hated it, and didn’t do any more hikes until I reached my 20’s, but once the bug bit, it bit hard! I’ve done this hike many times since, and it’s almost a must-do every time I return to Cape Town for a family visit. Continue reading

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Hiking to Awatere Hut

The tramp to Awatere hut is the ideal one to do when you haven’t been out in the hills for a few months, and want to get back into it. It doesn’t take more than an hour’s walking to get to, yet gives the feeling of being away from it all. It also has magnificent views, open tops, river and bush. You seldom find all these different landscapes in a short tramp, which makes this the one where you get maximum bang and enjoyment for your buck. I’ve done it numerous times, and never get bored! Continue reading

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Trio of Tramping Tracks

If you’re passing through Central Hawke’s Bay on your way north or south, or visiting friends or family, there are three lovely short walks/tramps in the area that are well worth doing. They are all fairly close together, and will occupy no more than a morning or afternoon, including a stop for coffee along the way. An average or moderately fit person should have no trouble doing all of them in one go.

The best place to start your journey is from Waipukurau, as the first reserve, Lindsay Bush Scenic Reserve (also known as the Tukutuki Reserve), is only 5 minutes out of town. To get there, take the Hastingsroad (SH2) north, and immediately after crossing the bridge over the Tukituki River, turn left into Lindsay Road. Keep going until you arrive at a t-junction, turn left into Scenic Road, and follow this until you arrive at an entrance way by a stop-bank. Turn right on the stop-bank and the car park is just 200m further on, on the left. Continue reading

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Bell Rock – a shorter hike

Bell Rock is one of those iconic shorter hikes that stand out in one’s memory long after you’ve done it. It’s an easy 3 hours return, and takes a bit of travelling to get to, but ultimately is supremely worth the effort in getting to. Don’t do this hike without a camera! It’s also best to do it on a clear day, as views and scenery form a huge part of the enjoyment of this walk. Take a packed lunch and thermos – there’s nothing like sitting on top of the world, enjoying a sandwich and a cup of tea or coffee!

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