Cape of Good Hope Two-Day Hiking Trail
For those of you who are moderately fit, love hiking and thrive on nature, the Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail in Table Mountain National Park, is a must. Mandi Cramer explores the two-day trail.
Six of us repeated this trail one weekend in November last year, setting off from the office entrance to the park at 7am on one of those magnificent Cape mornings. We took the easy option of leaving our overnight bag and a cooler box at the office, which is transported to your hut (what a bonus to walk without a heavy pack!)
We took off to the west side of the park, climbing a fairly stiff uphill, platforming at the top with breathtaking views of both oceans.
We were astonished by the abundance of flora – stretches upon stretches of 'sewejaartjies' appearing as if a layer of light snow had fallen. Magnificent tree pincushion protea bushes, the odd king protea in bloom plus an abundance of sugarbushes, were frequented by sugarbirds and sunbirds. The Cape of Good Hope Park is an integral part of our Cape Flora Kingdom having a treasure trove of 1100 species of indigenous plants to its credit, a number of which are endemic to the area. The coastal walk takes you through areas of fynbos, coastal flora, marshlands, beach and dunes.
We stopped at Sirkelsvlei (a large fresh water vlei thought to be fed by underground springs) for coffee and snacks, everyone peckish from having been up early. We were entertained by a herd of eland drinking at the vlei, grazing bontebok and an ostrich family with chicks, plus a pair of inquisitive dassies and gorgeous coloured geckos visiting our picnic spot.
We continued via Olifantsbos Point to Hoek van Bobbejaan, settling on the rocks by the sea for lunch. There are a variety of seabirds to spot: oystercatchers, Southern blackbacked gulls, Hartlaubs gulls, various terns, strandlopers, darters, and cormorants.
On our last leg to our hut, via Platboom, we spotted zebra and a troop of Chacma baboons with young, foraging in the earth, taking no notice of us as we walked past them.
If you are a party of six, I would recommend Erica Hut, perched up on the mountain. We all groaned at that final slog up to the hut after a longish day of approximately 20 km. Once you have a glass of wine in your hand, settle down and gaze at the awesome views stretching 360 degrees, it makes it all worthwhile!
All of us revelled in a hot shower, followed by a sumptuous braai and turned in for the night on comfortable bunk beds.
Sunday morning, the weather turned – grey skies and high winds added a different beauty to the setting. The east side is more majestic and certainly more demanding in hiking up and down the mountains, but scenically, spectacular.
At Buffelsfontein Visitor’s Centre, our group decided to abandon the walk along the coast because of a thick mist and a storm approaching. Having done this walk before, I believe this section from the visitor’s centre back to the entrance is the most magnificent section of all.
The cost of the hike was R180 per person to overnight at Erica Hut + R30 portage each for your bag plus an additional R35 for a smallish coolbox. Wood can be purchased and delivered for R25 a bundle. If you have a Wild Card, entrance is free.
Capetonians – go out there and do it – you will not be sorry!
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