Tag Archives: Hoerikwaggo

How to book the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

Read our summary of the Hoerikwaggo Trail on the Table Mountain Hiking Trails blog and decide how you want to do it. For additional information you can also read the background History & Present development status.

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1. You want to do it all yourself

Contact the SANParks booking office and book the accommodation directly. Rates, availability and on-line booking of the various tented camps can be checked on-line via the SANParks – TMNP web site.

Table Mountain National Park do not provide logistical support, guiding or catering and you need to ensure that there is accommodation availability at each of the tented camps in the sequence in which you want to use them. The trail is planned to be walked from South to North, but can be walked in the opposite direction.

2. You want us to provide one or more of guiding, transport or catering services

You do the booking, but you want one of the above services, look at our Slackpacking Rates under Individual Services, fill out the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM and tell us what you want.

3. You want us to do everything

Option 1.

Make up a party of between six and ten of your friends, tell us when you want to do it and whether you want to do all or part of the trail. If you want to do one or two nights only tell us which part. We will do the rest.

Option 2.

Plan your holiday or your hike well in advance around one of the fixed departure dates. This means that you will join a group that is leaving on a specific date, usually a Mondy. We only do this about four times a year and departure is subject to a minimum booking by at least six people. In the case of individuals, there may be a single supplement if you want your own private accommodation.

See Trail Departures on our blog or ask about dates on the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM. These dates are fixed 6 to 12 months in advance and have to be confirmed at least three months in advance in order to secure the accommodation.

Option 3.

Book a private trail on a date that is convenient to you. This is a more expensive option if the party is smaller than six and price would depend on the number in the party. We would quote for this on an individual basis.

Option 4.

Give us a date, or range of dates, that is convenient to you, together with the size of your party and we will try to market it as a fixed departure date. The further in advance this is done the higher the chances of success, but we can never be sure that we will get additional bookings.

For more information:

complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za

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The Hoerikwaggo Trail History & Present (part 2)

The Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail

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Cape Point – where the Mountain meets the sea

The original plan for the longer route from Cape Point to Table Mountain took a bit more time to develop. The concept was for a trail from the lighthouse at Cape Point and finishing at the lower cable station on Table Mountain. Altogether a six day trek, with five strategically placed comfortable, fixed tented camps. The trail was to be guided by specially trained guides, self-catering, but with luggage and food transported.

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Tented Camp – Orangekloof

The site chosen for the construction of the first of the tented camp, was in the restricted area of Orangekloof. This valley was a bit of a mystery to many Capetonians as it was always a place with access by permit only. Originally controlled by the City, management of the area passed to SANParks with the establishment of Table Mountain National Park in 1998.

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Woodhead water tunnel on Disa Gorge

The camp, made up of fixed tents was opened in September 2006. The construction is on permanent wooden bases made from timber from cleared alien trees. There are four two sleeper tents and one four sleeper tent, with central ablutions and a communal kitchen and braai (barbeque) area. The kitchen is fully equipped with cutlery, crockery and cooking utensil, as well as a gas hob and wood burning Agar stove. There are electrical plugs in the kitchen. All buildings and furniture are of wood made from alien timber and the construction has been done on a ‘touch the earth lightly’ principle. Should the camp be decommissioned at any time in the future there should be little, if any evidence of its existence. The first trail on this section of the trek, took place shortly after opening. The route was from Silvermine to Orangekloof via Blackburn Ravine and Vlakkenberg (Day 1) and Orangekloof to Table Mountain via Disa Gorge and Echo Valley (Day 2).

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Disa uniflora – end of January & February

The next camp at Silvermine was opened in April 2007, with the next section of the trail being from Kommetjie (Slangkop Lighthouse) to Silvermine. Located close to the Silvermine Dam, the camp has a similar configuration: four two sleeper tents, one four sleeper, a central ablution area and a communal catering area with gas hob, Agar stove and braai area. There is electrical lighting but no plugs.

Silvermine camp kitchen & braai
Tented Camp – Silvermine

It was expected by many that the rest of the camps would follow fairly quickly after this and that the trail would be open and operational within a year or two. This was not to be and the Slangkop Lighthouse camp followed only in 2009, with six two sleeper tents. This was the first camp to be fully electrified, with a gas stove and oven replacing the wood burning Agar stoves. Finally the Smitswinkel Bay camp was completed in August 2010, with six two sleeper tents with en-suite showers and individual kitchens. Each camp is unique both in design and décor, being built to blend in with the environment and adapted for local climate and environmental conditions.

Looking in to Hout Bay from Chapmans Peak path

A hikers view of Hout Bay

By the time the final camp was built the concept of a regular trail between Cape Point and Table Mountain, managed and marketed by Table Mountain National Park had been abandoned. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but the long time-line between the building of the first camp and the last one, was probably a contributing factor. Most of the guides trained originally to lead the Trails had left SANParks or moved to other positions within the Table Mountain National Park. The planned camp at Simonstown has never been built and the walking route between Smitswinkel Bay and Simonstown has been excluded from the Trail.

Current situation:

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Tented Camp at Slangkop

Each of the tented camps can be booked as accommodation only, with no requirements to hike the trail or even do any hiking at all. The tents are sold per unit, with a minimum booking being for a two man tent. With the exception of Smitswinkel Bay camp, ablution and kitchen facilities have to be shared with other guests. Beds with comfortable mattresses are provided, but guests need to provide their own pillows, bedding or sleeping bags. Hikers wishing to trek the whole route need to plan strategically and book the accommodation according to their own itinerary and group size. It is important to plan well in advance to ensure the accommodation is available.

The diving board at Kasteelspoort

The diving board overlooking Kasteelspoort

SANParks do not provide guides, nor do they provide logistical support, catering or any other support services. Hikers wishing to do the trail have to arrange their own logistical support, including road transport between Smitswinkel Bay and Simonstown. This route can be walked, but then private accommodation would need to be arrange in Simonstown, as TMNP do not provide facilities there.A fully guided and catered option for this trail is provided by Slackpacker SA, a minimum number of six people is required to operate the trail, with fixed departure dates being arranged from time to time.

Platteklip Gorge the steep trek up

Platteklip Gorge – the end of the trail

For information on guiding, catering, transport and logistical support services visit Slackpackers SA, complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za

The route that is promoted by Table Mountain National Parks, is:

 

  • Day 1: Trek from Cape Point to Smitswinkel Bay along the False Bay coastal path.
  • Day 2: Hikers arrange their own transport from Smitswinkel to Simonstown, starting the hike at Red Hill, via Kleinplaas Dam to Slangkop. There is an alternative start in Simonstown at the Klawer Steps, for a slightly longer route.
  • Day 3: Slangkop  to Silvermine via Noordhoek Beach, Chapmans Peak and Silvermine Ridge.
  • Day 4: Silvermine to Orangekloof via Blackburn Ravine, the contour path, Manganese Mine, Vlakkenberg and Constantia Nek.
  • Day 5: Orangekloof to the end on Table Mountain cable way via Disa Gorge, the Dams, Echo Valley and the ladders to the cable station. Descend via cable car or walk down Platteklip Gorge.
The finish (or start) on Platteklip Gorge

The finish at the bottom of Platteklip Gorge

The trail can be done as one complete five day trail or in sections of two days or more. The route is marked with yellow painted HK posts at strategically important places; nevertheless there are still a few places where a wrong turn can be made at an intersection, particularly in adverse weather conditions. It is advisable to have at least one member of the party who knows Table Mountain and the route, hike with a hiking club or enlist the services of a trained mountain guide.Details of each camp and the description of the routes are provided on a separate page.

For more information complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za

Hoerikwaggo Trail History & Present (part 1)

Hoerikwaggo Trail – History & Current Situation

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Hoerikwaggo Trail start – Cape Point

The idea for a hiking trail running the down the spine of the Table Mountain chain was probably dreamed about by many enthusiastic hikers over the years. It was first seriously thought about during the nineties and finally planning started in the early part of the new millennium. The original idea was to create a backpacking trail supported by a series of strategically situated camps.

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The goal – Table Mountain

Further investigation resulted in the proposal to establish four different trails:

  • the first, a guided trail adhering to the original plan, with the trail starting in Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve) and finishing on Table Mountain;
  • a second, unguided trail using the same route in reverse;
  • a third, shorter, three day trail aimed at the top end ‘slackpacking’ market, using refurbished accommodation at the Platteklip Wash House and Overseers Cottage and the existing paths to finish in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens;
  • finally a two day one night, educational trail for community, youth & school groups using the Peoples Bungalow on the Back Table.
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The finish – Platteklip Gorge

Although the trails were to be separate trails, with separate routes and separate accommodation facilities, they were all to be marketed and operated under the name Hoerikwaggo Trails.

Hoerikwaggo is the original Khoi Khoi name for Table Mountain, meaning the ‘Mountain in the Sea’ or ‘Sea Mountain’. The Khoi Khoi were the indigenous inhabitants of the Cape at the time of the establishment of the settlement by the Dutch East India Company in 1652.

Table Mountain Trial

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Platteklp Wash House – luxury hiking

The third option, initially named as the ‘White Cloud Trail’, was the first to become operational, with the refurbishment of the Platteklip Wash Houses, above van Riebeeck Park, on the boundary of the Cape Town city bowl suburb of Oranjezicht. The venue has great historical significance and was tastefully refurbished and redecorated to provide comfortable accommodation for up to sixteen hikers. The original trail started in the V&A Waterfront and included an historical guided tour through the Waterfront, the City, the Company Gardens and the suburbs on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, finishing at the overnight venue in time for rest, drinks and dinner.

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Hiking trail comfort – Overseers Cottage

On the final day, included an exploration of the Back Table and the historic reservoirs, with a visit to the site of the original construction cable way docking station at Kasteelspoort. This includes magnificent the views over the Atlanitic Coast and Camps Bay. The finish was in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

This trail was opened in 2005 as a fully catered trail, with guiding provided by specially trained ‘Hoerikwaggo’ guides. The accommodation was fully serviced, with white linen, warm duvets and hot showers. Unfortunately it did not attract quite the attention it deserved and after undergoing various adaptations the accommodation was converted to self-catering facilities at some stage during 2009.

Current situation

This trail is no longer operated in this form by Table Mountain National Park. The facilities are still available, fully serviced and can be booked on a self-catering basis through SANParks booking system. Guiding services are no longer offered directly by TMNP. It is not necessary to hike the whole trail in order to use the accommodation, but groups do have to walk up to the facility using one of the various routes from the Southern Suburbs, Table Mountain (City) or the Atlantic Seaboard. Transport of luggage and food is provided by TMNP, by arrangement.

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Hike through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

A fully catered and guided version of this trail is also available through Slackpacker SA. We refer to this as the Table Mountain Trial, which usually starts in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and finishes at the lower cable station on Table Mountain. The walk up through the Gardens makes an interesting start and the route to the Cottage is an easier option than that up of the trek up Platteklip Gorge. A minimum number of six hikers is required to operate the trail as standard rates. The guided city tour is no longer offered as part of the this package, although guided walking tours of the city can be arranged as an optional extra. All our guides are fully accredited mountain guides and tour guides.

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Group and trail guide – Overseers Cottage

For more information complete the Trail Enquiry Form or e-mail info@slackpackersa.co.za .

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.

Simonstown to Smitswinkel section – Hoerikwaggo Trail

This is a write up of the section of the Hoerikwaggo Trail between Simonstown and Smitswinkel Bay. It is not included in the official trail as there is no SANParks managed accommodation in the Simonstown area. On the official brochure it is the section between Smitswinkel Bay and Simonstown where transport is required.

Nevertheless it is a stunning section of the hiking trail and the natural link between the two points. It is challenging trek, particularly starting from Smitswinkel Bay, with a steep walk up the ridge.

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Slangkop Redhill section of Hoerikwaggo Trail

Slangkop Redhill section of Hoerikwaggo Trail.

A description of this section of the Hoerikwaggo Trail, done as a day hike March 2011.

Wake Up on Table Mountain

Table Mountain Hiking Trail – Overseers Cottage Overnight

Table Mountain is distinctive not only in it’s position, shape and stature, but in that it is part of a National Park surrounded entirely by the municipal boundaries of the city. It’s position at the most South Westerly point of Southern Africa has had a profound impact on global history and cultural diversity and it is probably the most recognised element of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site.

 Most people’s Table Mountain experience is limited to a day-time hike or cruise up in the cable car to marvel at the views. However, those in the know choose the complete and privileged experience of walking up the mountain to spend a night in the comfortable surroundings of the Overseers Cottage. Perched above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, with views over False Bay and the distant Hottentots Holland Mountains, you can feast your soul on the fynbos, fresh mountain air and stunning views. In addition, to the stimulating walk, you will enjoy the specialist knowledge of local guides, indulge in sundowners, fireside conversation, fine food, good company and comfortable beds. To top it all off, imagine waking up to a panoramic sunrise and the smell of fresh croissants and coffee – all in a mountain setting, in the middle of the city.

The Table Mountain Trail provides a unique opportunity to hike through this exceptional part of a the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site, experience the flora, the spectacular views and get a unique exposure to an unusual aspects of the history of the city.

 Some routes and activities are weather dependent. Professional guides will also assess the group’s ability and requirements, to select the most suitable routes.

Wake Up on Table Mountain’-Kirstenbosch Excursion (2 Days / 1 night)

 

Tour highlights

Collection from accommodation in Cape Town

Dedicated driver and qualified field guide

Guided walk through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Route through pristine Afro-Montain forest

Visit the historic Waterworks Railway Museum (on top of the Mountain)

Veiws on day 1 from 650 metres and day 2 from 1087 metres

Over 2500 plant species

Warm & cosy cottage with good traditional South African cuisine

Night views of the City

Maclears Beacon – the highest point on the Table Mountain chain

Views over the city of Cape Town from the Western Table of the Mountain

Cable Car ride down (optional – weather permitting)

We overnight at the Overseers Cottage, located high above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the Southern Suburbs of the city, overlooking False Bay. By the evening all the day walkers have left and we enjoy the experience of the tranquility of this unique facility.

Description

Day 1

After collection from your accommodation** in Cape Town you meet your guide/s in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the eastern side of the mountain at 09h00. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the Gardens until you reach the contour path, where the mountain hike begins. From here your mountain guide will select the route to be taken to the top, according to the group’s ability and the weather. The walk to Overseers Cottage is approximately 2 – 3 hours.

Arrive at the Overseer’s Cottages for an early lunch, before taking an afternoon walk around the Back Table to the railway museum and the old reservoirs. On to Kasteelspoort for the vital photograph of ‘the diving board’ that overlooks Camps Bay and the Atlantic Coastline, far below. Return to the cottage, where, after a hot shower, enjoy pre-dinner drinks while overlooking False Bay and the distant mountain ranges, or Orangekloof and Hout Bay on the other side. Then it is time for a South African braai (barbecue) or potjiekos (cast-iron pot-on-the-fire) stew, which is served around the fire – either under the stars, or inside on cooler evenings.

Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast you will set off along the historic Smuts Track towards Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine and Echo Valley, on your way to Maclears Beacon and the highest point of the mountain. The pace is easy as you enjoy the interesting rock formations, the spectacular views and the wide variety of fynbos species, including proteas, ericas, restios and many others. A lunch spot is chosen to take best advantage of prevailing weather conditions and then it is on to the top of Platteklip Gorge and the Western Table en route to the cable station. The final challenge is the walk off the Table, down the steep, but well defined Platteklip Gorge route. Weather permitting, there is an optional alternative of taking the easy way down with t a ride in the cable car.

You will be met at the Lower Cable Station, where you can put your feet up while we transport you back to your accommodation.

** Note: Accommodation can be arranged at the Platteklip Wash House for the night before the start. This is a self-catering venue within the Table Mountain National Park, on the lower slopes of the Mountain, on the border of the suburb of Oranjezicht and close to the Cape Town CBD. Catering at this venue is available by arrangement.

Table Mountain Trail itinerary & cost

For more information contact us