Hike – Bergriver Dam, Franschoek

Hike Bergriver Dam FranschoekOn Saturday, 14 January 2017, a group of 23 hikers from Stellenberg Stappers and also Mountain Club of South Afrika (Paarl/Wellington Section) took a hike in the mountain around the Bergriver Dam near Franschoek.  The hike is somewhere around 16.5km in length and not very strenuous at all.  See the map below for what the hike looks like.

The first section from the entry gate is along the dirt road and then one turns left to make a steady climb up the mountain to reach the highest point of the hike.  From there the remainder of the hike is basically level and downward back to the road that runs along the river back to the gate.

It was very hot, close to 30 degrees so take a lot of water and as can be seen from the photos below, there is no trees or any shade to hide under.  Also the river is very low so no possibility to take a dip to cool of.

After about a hour of hiking we reached the first crossing of the river and spend some time next to the river having tea and some snacks.

Photo Gallery:

Route map:

Although the hike is a fairly easy hike, I once again recognizes how easy it is for a hiker to get injured.  One of the hikers in our group fell not that far from the end and got seriously injured and had to be evacuated by a rescue team.  Does not matter how experienced or well known the area are for you, be always vigilant and careful since accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

Would love to hear your opinion in the comments if you have done this hike and what you think.

Happy hiking and please remember to keep the area as you have found it, what you take in, you take out and nothing gets left behind.

Majik Forest Hike – 1 January 2017

Majik Forest HikeWhat beter way to start a new year than taking a walk in your own neighbourhood. I am priviledged to stay close to Majik Forest and put on my hiking shoes and took a brisk walk from where I stay to Majik Forest and back — see map below. Since this is my first post of 2017, I wish all my readers a great 2017 and may you hiking shoes/boots take you on interesting paths and trails.

On my way I past the ruin shown in the picture above. Google decided that it needed some enhancement and must say it did a fairly good job at it.  Here is the original photo that was taken,
If you are a bird lover then there is ample to keep you occupied and you can relax next to the dam having a bite to eat or follow the various trails that run through the forest, just be on the lookout for the mountain bike riders. Some more photos to give you some idea.

Distance: 4.97km
YTD 2017 distance: 4.97km
Hiking shoes: KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe
Did you do any hikes to start your 2017, I would love to hear what hikes you did in the comments below and also interested on whether you are planning any long hikes during 2017.

Hike Happy Valley Trail, Limietberg, Bainskloof

20160924_084514On Saturday, 24 September 2016, I drove via Durbanville and Wellington to the top of Bainskloof to join a group of about 18 hikers on a hike organized by the Paarl/Wellington section of the Mountain Club of South Africa.  The hike was to do the Happy Valley Trail in the Limietberg Nature Reserve that start at Eerste Tol and take the trail all the way to the Junction pool and then back the same way to where we parked our cars.  See the map below of the trail.

Although the trail is fairly long, about 16km out and back, it is relatively easy with no climbing or any scrambling. That being said, remember that any hike can be difficult when you not fit or have some ailment so be prepared always.

Along the way you will come across various historical landmarks like this monument for students from Wellington college that drowned in the early 1900’s.

Part of the trail is called Murasie which mean ruins and although nothing remains it is where a house was built around 1930.  The story goes that a person from Germany build the house but before he could complete it, he died.  He only had one son and he died during the first world war.  The house was eventually completed by the German’s wife but she did not want to stay there all by herself.  It was rented out and the house burned down and only the ruins remained which then got occupied by vagrants. The story goes further that a hiking couple was murdered by the vagrants that was staying in the ruins and it was then decided by Cape Nature to get rid of the ruins.  Here is a photo of all that remains, an open clearing that is perfect for having breakfast on your hike.

The last history lesson for today is that when Thomas Bain build the pass over the mountain, he was asked to build a duct to relay water from the river down to the farms and town.  The price that he quoted was too expensive and the farmers decided to build it themselves and the story goes that it costed them twice as much as was quoted.  No explosives was used and the duct was cut out by hand, this is what it look like today and still being used.

Photo Video, sit back and enjoy

Route Map – Happy Valley Trail, Limietberg, Bainskloof

Summer is upon us here in the Southern Hemisphere and clean those hiking shoes or boots and hit the trails.  This one is just the right one to get going without to much strain.

Happy hiking and see you in the mountains.

Equipment I use (Affiliate links so I get small commission)

I use Canon Powershot SX20
Latest listed below 
I use Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Suggest the one listed below
I have a pair of Keen’s and HiTec.
Suggest Keen for better grip

Discovery Vitality Active Rewards discriminate against hikers.

I am a member of Discovery Vitality Active Rewards program which encourage exercise through exercise.  Each week, which run from Saturday till the following Friday, a points goal needs to be achieved for certain benefits and awards needs to be obtained.  For example, 100 points gets allocated for taking more than 10000 steps.

However the points allocated are highly scewed towards gym exercise, running or cycling and totally discriminates against hikers.  I am going to use a hike I did past Saturday, 21 May 2016 to explain my point.

I hiked for 23.27km in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve over rugged terrain and up and down mountains carrying a daypack with water and food for the day.  I use Runkeeper to track the hike and here is a screenshot of the hike with the details:
Runkeeper map - 20160521

Here is the splits per km:
Runkeerper splits - 20160521

and below is a Google Map which show the terrain that was hiked.

With Samsung SHealth app I also tracked my steps (37000+ steps) for the hike (This is from Discovery site and as reported to Discovery):
Steps - 20160521

and here is what Discovery allocated to me for the hike (100 points):
Vitality points received - 20160521

So Discovery have awarded me with 100 points for a 23.27km hike that took 5 hours and 25 min of actual hiking with over 37000 steps taken.  The total time with breaks was 7 hours and 30 min.  Am I the only one that think this is discrimitarry when 90 min in a gym will get you 300 point and a hour run will also give you the 300 points. Even a short Parkrun will get you 300 point. If I spend 5 hours plus running or in the gym or cycling then I would get much much more points.  And please do not tell me that hiking in the mountain at an average pace of 4.3 km/hour for over 5 hours is not as strenuous as gym or running. This just does not make any sense??

Me being an active hiker and the way I do my exercise will never get more than 100 points for a hike irrespective of the distance or the difficulty and most hikes are strenuous and difficult. My current weekly goal is 600 points and since I will never get more than 100 points per day, it is almost becoming impossible to reach my goal so why should I even bother to take part in the program.  I will however not stop hiking.

Would like to hear the views of others so please comment below.  If anybody from Discovery reads this, then I would really appreciate a comment.

Happy hiking and exercise.

Hike – Kogelberg Nature Reserve – 21 May 2016

On Saturday, 21st of May 2016, together with the Mountain Club of South Africa (Paarl/Wellington Section), I hiked the longest route in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve.  The reserve is on the left as you drive from Betty’s Bay to Kleimond.  The entrance to the reserve is on the left just before you cross the Palmiet river.  From Cape Town, it is about one and a half hour drive to get there.

I met up with 13 other hikers from the club and at 8:30am we started our hike.  Below is a map of the route we took and when we finish back at where we started at about 4pm, Runkeeper showed a distance of 23.27km covered with an elevation from 53m at the start and finish and 523m at the highest point – se elevation map below the route map.

Kogelberg elevation

It is a fairly easy hike with steady uphill to the highest point and then a quicker decent down the ravine and forrest.  But since it is so long, almost 24km, it take its toll and is not for the fainthearted and although there are lots of streams with fresh flowing drinking water, ensure you carry enough water also. The veld is mostly fynbos and open areas as can be seen from the photo gallery below. The mountain vistas is just amazing and we were even lucky to see a King Protea in bloom, rare for this time of the year.

Photo Gallery:


Hike @ Silvermine Nature Reserve – 14 May 2016

On Saturday, 14 May 2016, myself and another 17 members of the Gantouw Hiking Club did a 9.2km hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve.  The reserve was closed for a long time after a devastating fire in 2015 but opened again earlier this year.  The hike is a fairly easy hike (about a 2a or 2b maybe) and below is the map of the route we did. The only part us the piece on the left which include a bit of scrambling up rocks and little bit on the edge of the cliff but nothing dangerous.

The morning started out very misty but since rhe reserve is high up on the mountaing range, we were way above the misty clouds below.  However this made for some great photographs.

With the sun above us and to out backs and the clouds and mist in front below us, I had the rare experience of seeing a Brocken Specktre … yes I had no idea what it was either but had a person in the group who explained it.  It is basically your body that throw a shadow against the cloud below and form a rainbow around your shadow.  Tried to photograph it but did not come out very clear but you should get the idea.


We had lunch at  Noordhoek Peak bench, on the map above, the point top left.  Here we had a view of the sea below.

Gallery of photos taken during the hike, enjoy and comments welcome.


Hiking shoes – Keen

As a follow on to my post where I asked what the best hiking shoes are and what I should get.

I eventualy settled for pair of Keen Koven shoes and not boots.  When I tried the boots on, I did not like the way it sat against my ancle. This is what they look like:

I have done 2 shortish walks over that past couple of days to just walk them in and they feel great.  Now of the the mountains and see how they behave.

They available at Cape Union Mart for R1299.00 … and no this is not a sponsored post at all.

Drone footage – Angel Falls, Venezuela, highest falls in the world.

I am facinated by waterfalls and my favourite hikes are to waterfalls somewhere in the mountains.  This drone footage of Angel Falls in Venezuala is just amazing. I quote from Gizmodo article:

Breathtaking. This drone footage of Angel Falls in Venezuela is exactly that. Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall at 3,212 feet tall and it is totally stunning to see the water makes its way down the side of the mountain and disappear into the mystery below.

On my bucket list to visit one day and see for myself.


Hike – Wolvekloof, Franschhoek – 12 March 2016

Joined the Mountain Club of South Africa (Paarl/Wellington) on a hike to Wolvekloof, just outside Franchhoek. What a hike, highly recommended for anybody but be aware, if you not fit and do not like boulder hopping then stay away.  No need for lots of water since there is water all along the hike, but make sure you pack in something to swim in since the swimming pools are just great, cold but great.

Also be aware that you will need to have a 4×4 to get to the starting point of the hike.  We were 12 people with some cars and 2 4×4’s.  The drive to the parking area where we left the cars was not that great but if you take it slow then it will be ok.  We left the cars at the parking area and all got into the 2 4×4’s for a 6km ride up the  mountain on a small narrow track.

We drove past Berg River Dam with the 4×4’s which hardly had any water in it, it is very dry in this part of the world at the moment.

And then we were off

From now on it was just hopping over boulders and sliding down rocks.   Along the way was lots of small waterfalls and  cliffs all around with vegetation.

Eventually it was time for a breakfast and a nice swim.

After breakfast, the last stretch was ahead to get to the waterfall with beautiful scenery.

We reached the waterfall in time for lunch and well deserved swim.  Seeing the waterfall and just standing and feeling the water fall like little stones on your head made all the effort to get there worthwhile.  It is just magic.

Then it was time to hit the way back down which went much faster, like a magnet dragging you down.  The hike from where we left the 4×4’s and back to it is roughly 5km but it will take you 7 to 8 hours to complete.



Hike – Majik Forest – 7 March 2016

Did a quick hike from my home down to Majik Forest and back.

Spend some time just sitting next to the dam and reflecting on live and all that is going on in my life.

While walking through the forrest I took a couple of photos to show the magic of this place.

If you have some time to spare and is in the area, this is a wonderful place to spend some time and have a picnic.