OORLOGSKLOOF (Day 2)


October 2021

8.5km (5.2 miles)

  • Estimated time to complete according to brochure: 6-7 hours
  • Our time: 11.5 hours 😳

By just looking at our time spent on the trail today, you can imagine how this day turned out …

After our “night out of hell” (you can read about it here), we were not in the happiest mood to start walking … those damn mouse (or mice)! But we would get nowhere if we were not hitting the road soon and strapped our backpacks on after enjoying a big bowl of oats and two cups of strong coffee!

Let’s go:

We left our hut at around 7:30 and followed the double-track towards the river. Here, the water was overflowing the road and we had to make a choice of how to cross this. There were two poles next to the road (that serves as a bridge) and Berto took that way. I thought I will not be able to balance myself and my heavy backpack on those poles and just walked (in my Bedrock sandals) through the water – how easy was that!

Oorlogskloof River crossing (the bushes on the right are obstructing the view of the poles)

Almost immediately after crossing the river, we got to an uphill which continued for about 15 minutes … I was silently wondering whether this is how our day will turn out.

A steep uphill after we crossed the river

Halfway up the hill, we found a sign reading ‘Brandewynvoetpad’ (loosely translated, it would mean Brandy footpath) where we had to turn right.

Turning right at the ‘Brandewynvoetpad’

Although it was another uphill, the path ascends steadily to the base of the cliffs and it was not that difficult to walk … perhaps also because it was still early in the morning 😉.

Halfway up the hill, we could look down on our (mouse) hut of the previous evening

We also had some pretty flowers and plants close to our footpath – unfortunately, we don’t have the names of these … but can show you some pictures.

We saw so many of these bushes with their tiny yellow flowers over the next couple of days
How pretty is this? Two different flowers growing out of one flower stem

It was also on this path that we saw our first kilometer marker. Remember that I told you (for some unknown reason), the first 4km are not count as part of the trail? Well, I will have to let them know that it CERTAINLY is part of the trail!! We would see the kilometers ticking off for the next 4 days … sometimes it would took hours from one kilometer marker to the next 😳.

We just completed 1km … no, we did not!!

According to our map, we were on our way to the river … however, we first had to walk all the way to the plateau before descending down to the river.

The river was on our right as we continue on the hiking trail

Close to the plateau, we had to find our way through low lying tree trunks and (of course) over a few more rocks!

We had to make sure here that our backpacks did not get tangled in the tree trunks
And find our way over these rocks

Shortly after the 2km mark, we found a seep in the rocks where we could taste the cold mountain water … and it was really refreshing!

Berto tasting the cold mountain water

We then had to choose our steps carefully as we walked on a very narrow path close to the rocks to get to the plateau.

A VERY narrow path

Then our first ladder, rope and chain awaited us! We had to use these to get on top of the plateau. I can’t remember … did I tell you about my fear of heights

Anyway, after taking off my backpack (Berto climbed up first and used a rope to get my backpack on top) … I took a deep breath and grabbed the ladder, rope and chain to get myself to the top of the plateau.

You can see part of the chain on this picture
On top of the plateau
Berto rolling up the rope after using it for my backpack (he has done it so MANY times on this trail)
Small pools of water on top of the plateau

Now it was time to get down to the river, which included a 3-minute detour scramble down to below the cliffs again and then a steep descent to the river (we had to negotiate a section with quite loose shale here).

We came down this path to get down to the river

When we reached the river, it was time for a well-deserved coffee break! There were some lovely pools and we were looking forward walking along the river … if we only knew – this is not the river path as we know it!

Time for a coffee & cappuccino break

Once we packed up and got back on the road, we soon realised we will not enjoy a stroll on a well-laid out pathway … no, it was steep up hills, a scramble over rocks (again and again) and narrow spaces … did I mention up hills?

This is called ‘Eland stone house’ … not sure who stays here
Some of the trail was under cover of the riverine bush
This green ‘botterboom’ (butter tree) seemingly growing out of the rocks
We enjoyed the lovely view of the higher rocks (not knowing that we will have to go there later)
Yes, we came from down there …
Berto carrying my heavy backpack over the large rocks

After walking for almost 5km close to the river, we emerged from the riverine bush and were now ascending a VERY steep uphill towards the cliff base … this continue for 1km (doesn’t sound like much, but it was probably the longest 1km of my life)!

A STEEP uphill – sometimes on loos shale and negotiating our way around huge rocks in the narrow pathway

It took us more than an hour to complete this 1km uphill pathway to the top!

At the 8km mark, we reached the cliff base – finally! After walking in the sun for more than an hour, I was just so glad to sit down in the shade of the cliffs and trees!

My tired (and dirty) feet

We have now reached the Driefontein Waterfall, but since we’re already in spring, there is just a small stream of water flowing down the rocks.

With winter long gone, the Driefontein Waterfall is almost dry
Although the waterfall was almost dry, the rocks were still slippery from the spray of water and we had to choose our steps carefully here

With the sun now starting to set, it was quite concerning to see that the path leading down to our hut, is not really a path!

It was now only the high peaks of the mountains that still had some sunshine
The ‘path’ down to our hut

The route now descends steeply to the Oorlogskloof River, where we will find our hut. At times we had to literally went down on our bums to get down some of the big boulders. The sun has now set and it was getting dangerous to walk on these big rocks … that’s when I decided the best way of getting (safely) down to the hut, was to stay on my bum and use my hands, arms and feet to negotiate my way down! Not surprisingly, we have no pictures of getting down … no free hands!

It took us again more than an hour to walk (or crawl in my case) down to get to our hut!

Reaching our hut – almost in the dark

After more than 11 hours since we started earlier this morning, we fell into the hut … tired and exhausted!

Only to realise there was no water in the hut! We saw a sign close to the hut that indicated we could find some water in a small stream and we walked down to fill a bucket. (Each hut has one bucket – presumably to collet water).

We barely had energy for anything else! Berto prepared our dinner, while I wobbled around in the hut to make our beds.

Dinner tonight – lamb tagine and couscous
It was super delicious – the highlight of my day!

Hygiene time:

Berto mentioned that the only way we will feel better, is if we wash the dirt of the day off our bodies … but how?

I can tell you this … we realised during this hike that you can get clean with just a little bit of water! We each used one cup of lukewarm water to wash our hair (of course outside on the hut’s balcony). Berto then boiled water in our little pot. We applied some of the eco-friendly soap on our bodies and using our washcloths to rub it in. Then we soaked the cloths in the pot of water to wipe ourselves off! How does that sound for a bath?

Oh, and there is one more picture I would like to share with you … the evidence of a difficult descend down the mountain!

The back of my hiking pants

And once again, here are the maps of the day:

Day 2 – Route map
Day 2 – Elevation map (do you see that steep descent at the end?)

After barely sleeping 3 hours the previous night and more than 11 hours on today’s trail, we were totally and utterly drained and hoping for a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow … tomorrow is the tipping point for me on this trail! We will tell you all about this in the next post!

Categories: South African Break Aways

48 comments

  1. Great job completing that hike, actually I’d call it more of a trek! Sleep was no problem that evening I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! What a wonderful accomplishment! Love the photos!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Stacy 🌸. This surely was a difficult day (as was the very next day – I will soon post that one) … but looking back, I’m astonished at what I was able to do. I’m glad you love the photos – wish we took more! Thanks for always reading our posts – much appreciated. Take care, Corna.

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  3. Those narrow ledges, ladders with ropes and huge boulders you needed to get over must have been so challenging, I would never have managed it and would have resorted to sliding along on my bottom too. Hope you slept well that night and your calf muscles didn’t feel so stiff the next morning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marion, if someone told me before this hike that I would do all of these things, I would also said ‘never’! But turning around wasn’t an option … so, then one do things you never thought was possible! We had indeed a great night’s sleep (though my dreams were filled with rocks, ladders and ropes ☺️) … but it was needed after the previous night and especially for the next day’s challenges!
      We will be “off the grid” again for a couple of days as we’re going camping, but will be back soon. Take care, Corna.

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  4. Wow 11 hours on your feet is such a long time!!! You guys are amazing for doing this 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The path is so narrow and quite rough in places, it is sure to tax the average hiker, especially constantly scrambling over large boulders. But then again, the views are stunning and so is the surrounding landscape. Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right Aiva … looking back at our photo’s, we only now realised how beautiful our surroundings were! But this second day on the trail was quite exhausting and I don’t think we really appreciated the landscape so much! Hope your day is also a good one. Corna

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the picture of the shorts – I can really identify with that!
    I went rock climbing and was told to keep at least three points of contact. I came back with the knees ripped out of my trousers – I’m not sure that’s what they meant!

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  7. This trek is becoming more and more appealing. Love how it’s calling on lots of different skills and is a bit (just a little bit!!!) more than a long walk!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Daai 2 voete se als. 😁💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG, what a day! No way could I do this and I’m full of admiration that you managed it, even though it took you so long – 11 hours, almost all on your feet (or bum!) Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, hats off to you both for completing this challenging trek. Never before, I imagine, has a Lamb Tagine been so well earned!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow Corna! Jy en Barto het dit sowaar net betyds gemaak voordat dit te donker was. Sjoe, dit was regtig ‘n moeilike roete wat julle moes loop. Julle bene het seker soos jellie gevoel! 😀 Soos ek al gese het my ou beentjies sou dit beslis nie gemaak het nie. Ek sal nog hoede moet afhaal en nog baie gaan soek! Welgedaan! Kan nie wag vir die volgende aflewering nie!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tough day but awesome views. I love the narrow leader. Good for you to do it with a fear of heights! Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

  13. How very proud you must be that you accomplished this! My toes curl up just reading and seeing the pictures. Those steep slopes…no way I could have done that at my fittest!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This sounds like such a challenging trail even without a heavy backpack! Glad to hear that you made it to your hut before it got too dark outside. I’m always worried about getting stuck on the trail after the sun sets.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Seems like an amazing hike through wonderful terrain. (Why aren’t you wearing hiking shoes/boots?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rough terrain, but amazing views. After we’ve done many hikes, I realised the only shoes that gives me no blisters (well, almost), is my trusty Bedrock sandals!
      And yes, I know the right shoe for this kind of hike is most likely boots … but I have a lot of confidence in these sandals! We’ve imported it from the USA and many hikers there use these sandals to complete long trails (such as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail) … and so far, they have not disappointed me!

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  16. Wow, you guys are amazing, Corna! Looks like such fun – I would love the ascending & scrambling! (Descending, I wouldn’t love so much.) I’ll be tuning in for the rest of the story! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lisa! ‘Fun’ is not necessarily the word I’ve used much on this trail 😉. And yes, I don’t like descending either. We’ll have day 3 shortly on the blog (and it was quite a day)! Thanks for continue to follow our Oorlogskloof hiking series – much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Lack of sleep, rough terrain, plus facing your fear of heights, wow, that’s amazing. Well done in completing such a tough hike and for an incredible share, thank you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thank you so much Henrietta … I’m glad you enjoyed our post. Yes, facing my fear of heights was definitely one of the toughest things I had to do on this hike (don’t miss our next day 😉)! I will see you again on day 3 – thank you so much for reading) 💌.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Okayyyyyy so that is one trail I will not attempt. It sounds horrendous. The scenery is stunning but 1 km uphill and over rocks is not quite the same as 1 km on the flat.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Looks like a quiet, remote area, a tough hike though. The cool mountain water must have been so refreshing and welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

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