Article submitted and written by Anne Foy
The rush of scaling a mountain and witnessing the breathtaking landscape beneath your feet as you reach your victory, of gazing at roaring campfires beneath a sky of stars, of plunging into the refreshing waters of a tranquil river after a long day of hiking and cycling – the joys and challenges of the great outdoors are simply unparalleled. Getting out into the open and escaping the pressures of modern life is something which everyone aspires to do, enjoying the rare chance of reconnecting with nature and experiencing the elements firsthand. For some of us, these moments are just a few steps away, while for others, finding that coveted outdoor time can be difficult, especially for starters. But preparing for your first outdoor excursion is easier than you think. Continue reading
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”!
This 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
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.
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
Not only are we listing as many hiking options as we can in New Zealand, but we’re planning to expand our listings to include South Africa as well. If you have information about hiking trails in other countries, please write to us and we’ll consider adding them too.
For now we’ve listed only those hiking trails around the Hawke’s Bay area in the North Island of New Zealand, which is where I currently live (in Waipukurau) and do my hiking frequently. Being from Cape Town originally however, and having family there I still visit every few years, I have covered most of the hiking trails in the mountains around the Western Cape as well.
It is my wish to provide information to assist hikers and walkers to enjoy the beauty of creation, to marvel at nature whilst getting good exercise too. Join me…