Table Mountain Fires

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The area of Table Mountain between Noordhoek & Clovelly in the South and Muizenberg and Tokai in the North have been badly devastated by fire over the last week. The area covers approximately 6000 hectares and stretches between the Atalantic Coast to the False Bay Coast. Many of the hiking paths and trails have been badly damaged and are effectively closed for the foreseeable future. Although access my not be completely controlled we do not recommend hiking in these areas until Table Mountain National Park have done an assessment and reported on the safety or rehabilitation on the paths.

There are a great many photographs in the social media and we will publish appropriate photographs as the situation becomes clear.

Table Mountain Multi-Day Hiking Trails

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Table Mountain and Lions Head

These pages are dedicated to trying to unpack some of the confusion about the various multi-day trails in Table Mountain and how the overnight facilities operate.The pages are managed by Slackpacker SA and although we offer catering, logistical support and guiding by qualified mountain guides, we provide you with the information that will assist you in assessing the alternatives.

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If you are looking for any or all of these services, please complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM

From Blackburn Ravine - towards Hout Bay

Hout Bay from Blackburn Ravine – Hoerikwaggo Trail

All the overnight facilities within the Table Mountain National Park, including the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, are managed by SA National Parks and can be booked through SANParks booking system. While we try to keep up to date with the way these facilities are managed, changes do take place from time to time and Table Mountain National Parks (TMNP)management are under no obligation to inform us.

There are two recognised and designated hiking trails: the two day, Cape Point Hiking Trail in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and the five day Hoerikwaggo Trail, from Cape Point to Table Mountain. There is a third trail that we describe as the Table Mountain Trail, based around the use of Overseers Cottage, although there are various paths and routes that can be associated with this facility. These hiking routes are described separately in more detail, together with some background and history on the Hoerikwaggo trek and the alternatives.

Accommodation

There are three types of facilities available that can be linked to multi-day hiking trails:

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Overseers Cottage – Table Mountain Trail

1.       Overseers Cottage

Associated with the Table Mountain Trail:

Situated close to de Villiers Dam on the Back Table Jeep Track, this is a stone built facility providing accommodation for up to 16 people, in two cottages. Klipspringer, the main cottage, sleeps 10 and Disa, just next door sleeps 6 …..read more.

2.       Hoerikwaggo Tented Camps (4)

Orangekloof Tented Camp - Hoerikwaggo Trail

Orangekloof Tented Camp – Hoerikwaggo Trail

There are four tented camps. They are comfortable, permanent structures, originally built as part of the proposed Hoerikwaggo Trail, from Cape Point to Table Mountain  ….. read more

3.       Cape Point Hiking Trail Bungalows

The Cape Point Hiking Trail is the oldest and most established of the trekking routes in the Cape Peninsula. There is accommodation for up to 18 hikers inside the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. The beds are comfortable, but the facilities fairly basic. There is no access by private vehicle and it can only be booked if you are hiking the trail …. Read more .

TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM

There are alternative accommodation facilities within the Reserve for non-hikers.

Cape Point – Day Walk Alternatives

South African Trekking and Catered, Guided Multi-Day Hiking Trails

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015054

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is one of our favourite areas for some reasonably easy but very rewarding hiking. The views down the False Bay side of the coast are quite extra-ordinary and the Atlantic Coast has some beautiful beach and the special interest of the Shipwreck Trail. Our regular, shorter, easier, circular routes are on the Atlantic Coast, with the slightly more strenuous options being on the False Bay coast.

A spate of recent fires in the greater Table Mountain National Park did not leave this area untouched, with a freak lightening strike igniting a fire along the Atlantic Coast, just at a time when the Silvermine fires were being brought under control. For the short term, this means that most of our Atlantic side trails are closed.

Cape Point - Meridian June 2015180With this in mind we have been exploring the options on the more spectacular False Bay coast. The best…

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Kasteelspoort rain challenge

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_001 With winter finally coming to Cape Town, the hiking enthusiasts, especially the weekend are faced with the temptation to curl up in bed with a good book on a Sunday morning, instead of getting out there and enjoying the Mountain in the rain. Hannes (hike leader) thought the only way to overcome this was to issue a challenge to motivate a few stalwarts in to action.
Kasteelspoort rain challenge_015It did not seem to have much effect however as only two of us joined him. Nevertheless it was a very rewarding hike, with the rain staying away for the most part. Parking at Kloofnek, so that we could do a circular route, we hiked along the Table Mountain Pipe Track, meeting plenty of runners and a few walkers on this section, until we came to the Kasteelspoort path intersection. I always enjoy this path as it is steep enough to be challenging but has enough variation and views to distract from the effort.

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_012At the top there were quite a few surprising displays of pink Watsonias, deep blue Arosteas and bright red and white Anaxeton and some fading King Proteas.

It looked as if we were going to have a rain free hike, but as often happens in our Mountain, what it looks like and what happens is not always the same. As we climbed out of the Valley of the Red Gods, the rain started to come down. As it was heading for lunch time, we found shelter in the cave in the Valley of Isolation. In spite of the stream running through the middle and the waterfall on the outside we managed to find dry places to sit and enjoy our snacks and flasks of hot drinks.

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_016As we moved on the rain was more of a light misty drizzle with a weak sun trying to break through every now and again. Hopeful of avoiding the steep trek down Platteklip Gorge, we headed through Echo Valley and up the short ladders to the cable station. As we got closer the clouds cleared for a moment, showing off the beaches of Camps Bay and the rough seas beyond. Very close to the top, was a royal display of red King protea, contrasting with a magnificent golden brown of a fading group retained their shape and beauty in spite of the colour loss.

Kasteelspoort rain challenge_027We reached the cable station just in time to grab a quick cup of coffee, before the cableway closed and we caught one of the last rides down for the day. Pleased with ourselves for having met the challenge we headed for the one of our favourite watering holes and a well deserved beer.

 

Kasteelspoort rain challenge – May 2015

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Vlakkenberg Ridge – aftermath of the fire

Vlakkenberg Ridge - Fire aftermath April 2015_0001

As I get the opportunity to walk through the fire affected areas of Vlakkenberg and Silvermine and all the areas in between, I will publish my photos and reflections on the destruction and the recovery. This is the first of those as I got to walk on Vlakkenberg Ridge yesterday.

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The walk up from Constantia Nek shows just how close the fire came to descending in to Constantia Nek itself and the potential for crossing over the road. We can be grateful that this did not happen as there are huge stands of gum trees and other alien vegetation in this area.

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Looking across from the saddle the burnt area extends as far as the eye can see, over the Constantiaberg and across to Silvermine and Muizenberg Peak. Looking down to the Constantia vineyards, there is stark contrast between the green of agricultural area and the burnt National Park and pine forest. It also highlights how close it came the residential areas.

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The area on top of the ridge is a desolate landscape with contract between the white of the underlying sand and blackened protea bushes. Nevertheless, the green restios with blackened tips are pushing through, growing quickly to provide the signs of new life and the messenger of things to come.

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Standing out among the new growth are the bright orange paintbrush flowers that are popping up in a few places, one of them attracting a beautiful butterfly, quietly going about it’s work of pollination.

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Down in the valley below there is a ridge of Silvertrees that stand out as what seems to have been a barrier to the fire, bearing out what I was told about the fire dying down when it came in to contact with these unique species.

Amazing how the Silvertrees seemed to have stopped the fire there.

There are many small signs of new life, although the recovery to it’s full former condition with the stunning flowering protea, is clearly going to be a long way off. Monitoring the changes over the next few months and years is going to be an interesting exercise. A link to the full album of pictures is below.

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Vlakkenberg Ridge – Fire aftermath April 2015

Tranquilty Cracks

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This is a special place in Table Mountain that has a reputation for being difficult to find. At one time, people who knew the route kept is a closely guarded secret. Although today it is still easy to miss the turnoff, once you know where to look it is not difficult to find.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0001When the day starts with amazing numbers of beautiful sunbirds and sugarbirds feasting on the newly opened yellow pincushion  Proteas, you know it is going to be a good one. It was a perfect Cape Town spring day, with only a bit of high cloud around as we headed up Kasteelspoort. Unfortunately one of the party discovered that his winter hibernation had caught up with him and wisely decided to turn around, accompanied by his concerned family. This left only four of us.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0003One member had never been up the route before, so we stopped a few times to catch our breath and admire the view. A visit to the old cableway docking station and diving board viewpoint is a must, with it’s stunning vista over Camps Bay and the Atlantic Coast.Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0042


From there it is an easy walk down the Twelve Apostles path, past the turnoff’s to Woody Ravine, the Firs and Slangolie before coming to the Tranquility path. A short walk and scramble and we were up above the Cracks, where we put our packs down and spent a bit of time exploring.

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There was time also just to sit and enjoy the environment, watch the cableway ascending and descending in the distance and have an early lunch.

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It is a really short walk from there to the Corridor Ravine path, marked by a large cairn. The route is steep, but short and apart from a few places where there are loose stones, a relatively easy path down.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0031A slip on the slope nearly saw me putting my hand on a baboon spider hidden under a rock.Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0035

The views from this path are magnificent, as it joins up with the Pipe Track that leads back to Camps Bay. Another beautiful day in Table Mountain.

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Reclaim Roodeberg

The Roodeberg is a low peak between Fish Hoek and Kommetjie. There are four sections of land spread over about 5 or 6 km, three of these have already been incorporated in to Table Mountain National Park. The forth section  is private land that used to be part of the Selole Private Game Reserve. SA National Parks are currently trying to raise funds (R9.5 million) to purchase this portion to link all four sections for inclusion in Table Mountain National Park.  Roodeberg - August 2014_0023I did a walk in the area with Meridian Hiking Club in February and then again over this last weekend (10th August). It is really an extremely rewarding area for hiking, not too strenuous, with a great variation of flora. Hold thumbs they can raise a sufficient amount as it is worth preserving. Roodeberg - August 2014_0001

The walk has some interesting surprises and once you have ‘bagged’ the peak, there are a few different optional routes to follow, including areas such as Kleinplasie Dam, or a circular route back to the car park. This weekend the spring flowers were making an early appearance and the yellow pincushion proteas are starting to show signs of flowering.Roodeberg - August 2014_0005Roodeberg - August 2014_0044

Cable Way closed – guided day hike suggestion

Kasteelspoort to Cable Station Hiking Route

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For information on Table Mountain guided day hikes complete Trail Enquiry Form or contact us

 

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One of the most popular hiking routes from the Camps Bay / Twelve Apostles side of the Mountain to cable station, it is a more interesting alternative to Platteklip Gorge, but also considerably longer. The path also gives access to the Back Table, from where there are many options and alternatives. The track is steep with a few minor rock scrambles, but very little exposure to heights. In summer, on the way up, there is very little in the way of shade once the sun is high. There are magnificent views of Camps Bay and Atlantic Coast all the way up and once at the top, an interesting deviation to the site of the original cable way docking station, built during the construction of the dams in about 1898, as well as the ‘diving board’ rock.IMG_2122

At the top of Kasteelspoort, the route is marked with a built cairn but paths branch out to various parts of the Mountain from here. It is important that you go with someone who knows the way, especially in mist or rainy weather. There is still a fairly long trek to the cable station, from here, with the route passing through the Valley of the Red Gods, the Valley of Isolation and the end of Echo Valley before the climb up to the Western Table. At various high points there are views of Hout Bay and the Peninsula and on this part of the route you should be able to find the occasional shady place for a rest.IMG_4557

Generally the path is good and clear, but there are a number of rock bands where the path disappears, to be picked up on the other side. There are a number of steel ladders that need to used to get to the higher level. The path can be accessed from Camps Bay, or can be started from the Pipe Track at the top of Kloof Nek Road. There is a fairly long, flat walk to the start of the ascent from the Pipe Track, but it has the advantage that it can be turned in to a circular route if the cable way or Platteklip Gorge is used as the return route. Allow 5 to 6 hours if using the cableway, with an extra hour for the trek down Plattklip Gorge. There is limited if any water on the mountain in summer, so take at least two to three litres.IMG_2136