Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, Grabouw
While we are preparing for our next adventure commencing soon, we would love to take you to more of the beautiful places in and around Cape Town … trips we’ve enjoyed in the past.
It would probably come as no surprise to our regular readers that we are telling you about yet another hike! This time (May 2015), we were on the overnight Sphinx Route in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve close to Grabouw (70km from Cape Town).
We left our car at the parking area at the main gate and started our hike at Nuweberg. The trail winds up and down along a rugged and mountainous terrain and ends at Shamrock Hut where we have spent the night – a total of 12km (7.4 miles). The next morning, we enjoyed walking down the mountain with a jeep track to end our hiking trip back at Nuweberg – about 10km (6.2 miles).
There was a forecast of rain and the presence of heavy clouds made it evident that we would experience rain somewhere on the trail.
About an hour and a half into the trail, the wind suddenly picked up and we could literally see the rain down in the valley moving towards the mountain. It was time to quickly make a cup of coffee before we get wet.
We were quite surprised to see the mountains so green, because it was only the start of winter.
Just after our coffee break, the rain arrived and we had to quickly get our rain jackets out. It rained hard for a while and then just a light drizzle until we’ve reached our hut.
We could see our hut already from far away, but when we came around a corner (and thought we’re almost there), the trail took us deep into the valley and back up the mountain … it was only about 40 minutes later when we finally got to our hut.
There was a sleeping hut and a short pathway took us to a sheltered area where we could sit and eat (and have a ‘braai’ later that evening).
Our lunch was quite simple (and very cold) for this chilly afternoon. We enjoyed mini sausages, cherry tomatoes and cheeses … fortunately, we had hot coffee and tea to drink with these!
For the rest of the afternoon, we explored our surroundings. But it became so cold and wet that we decided to go back to the hut. Berto decided this was the perfect time to try and explain declination to me … something about geographic north and true north … I decided it was better to rather enjoy a glass of red wine 😁 … hmm, maybe I wasn’t a good student!
With no electricity available at the hut, we packed a fire early (for light, heat and to prepare our dinner). We had a big piece of steak on the fire and enjoyed this with a green salad we made at home.
In our hut, there were a couple of bunk beds with mattresses, as well as a fire place in the middle. It was bitterly cold and raining when we went to bed … but Berto had a plan in order for us to stay warm! He made a big fire and we placed our mattresses close to the fire place … we then snuggled into our sleeping bags and it was quite cozy!
The next morning, we were happy to saw the rain clouds were gone. There was a thick mist over the mountains and down in the valley, but we were excited that our hike down the mountain would be in sunny weather.
We only had to cover about 10km (6.2 miles) back to our car and it was most of the time on a jeep track … an easy walk. But first, we had some breakfast before getting back on the route. Berto fried bacon in our camping pot before adding a couple of eggs … perfect to take us all the way!
At around 9:000, we took a few last photo’s of the beautiful scenery before packing our backpacks and hiking down the mountain.
On this side of the mountain, is a zipline adventure. It starts high up in the mountains and then works its way down on 11 cables of over 100m. We saw some of the adrenaline junkies enjoying this activity (we actually heard them before we saw them) 😄.
It was such a beautiful walk down the mountains. The mist completely disappeared and the sun was actually quite hot – perfect day to be out in nature!
I was complaining to Berto yesterday evening that I have not seen my favourite flower – the protea. And then, on our way down today, I was fortunate to see this beautiful flower … love this beauty!
The last few kilometers were on a gravel road and took us all the way to the main gate and parking area.
This was another great hike in the mountains close to Cape Town and definitely a hike we would like to repeat (maybe this time with our friends).