My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Hiking

Ascension isn’t for everyone…

Hiddingh Ascension that is. One of the lesser known routes up Table Mountain and also one of the most difficult. I had heard about it from a colleague at work and asked him to let me know when he did it again as it is definitely not a route you should even think about attempting unless you go with someone who has done it before.

Hiddingh Ascension-0749

 

From the start in Newlands Forest the first trick is finding the turning off the contour path which is only marked by a small rock cairn and a vague path leading up through the trees. It is a steep scramble until you are in the river bed itself which you follow up the ravine.

Hiddingh Ascension-0753

Hiddingh Ascension-0760

You continue up the rocky riverbed until the ravine narrows and a large cairn signals where you must turn right and traverse along the bottom of a cliff face. Once around the cliff face you (more…)

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Hiking a charred Chapman’s Peak

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

I had wanted to hike on the mountains above Cape Town since the fires last week to see first hand the extent of the damage and seeing as I had never climbed Chapman’s Peak before it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so. A new friend from China asked if they could join me and I don’t normally like taking people on hikes that I haven’t done myslef before but after checking the route and map in Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula it looked straight forward enough. So after an early rendezvous in Hout Bay, and a despite a cloudy start to the day, we took our first steps along the ash covered path.  It wasn’t long before we saw our first signs of regrow. The hike was very easy, possibly aided by the lack of grow along the path as a result of the fire damage and we made it to the peak in under an hour. The visibility wasn’t the best with cloud hanging over table mountain so we couldn’t see across to Gordon’s Bay but Noordhoek Beach and Kommetjie were bathed in sunlight and the view back towards Hout Bay is much like what you see when driving over Chapman’s Peak Drive, only


My failed attempt to reach the wreck of the BOS 400

BOS 400 wreck hike

I have been wanting to try this for a while now, that is hike to and photograph what remains of the BOS 400, a French derrick barge that ran aground in 1994 after it’s tow rope broke in heavy seas. I got up at 5:00am and set off towards Sandy Bay beach in the darkness with a headlamp hoping to reach the Oudeschip Peninsula at dawn and then make my way around Maori Bay to the shipwreck at sunrise to make use of the best light for photographs. Things did not go according to plan however….

BOS 400 wreck hike
I made it to Oudeschip and across the bay I could now see the wreck of the BOS 400 but where I thought the path would continue around along the coast around the bay, it didn’t. I scrambled over the rocks thinking I could find my own way until the boulders turned into sheer rock faces and I could go no further without jumping read on + see 8 more photos


My Lion’s Head Resolution

Lions Head hike

For the last two years friends and I have started the year off with a hike or two on the numerous mountain peaks that surround us in Cape Town. While enjoying ourselves on these hikes we’ve all been guilty of saying that we really should do it more often given the proximity and access to great hiking trails we have in our very own city. Then work starts getting busier, our social calendars get booked up and inevitably the hikes become fewer and further apart until it’s the end of the year again and as everyone gets bored os sitting on the beach we end up hiking again. Well not this year, 2014 is going to be different.

Lions Head hike

A friend from gym said they wanted to start a weekly climb up Lion’s Head on a Wednesday evening and of course I was in but the first week it clashed with one of the Summer Trail Series runs and was one of the hottest days of the summer but I had made the resolution and climbed up anyway. The second week however there were a group of us that made it and what a great evening it was for a climb to the top. Starting at 6:oopm we were half way up as the shadow of Lion’s Head was slowly creeping towards the foreshore but my favourite view on the way up is continue reading + 7 more photos


Hiking the India Venster trail up Table Mountain

India Venster hiking trail

In another first for 2014 I climbed Table Mountain using the India Venster trail. I have lost count of how many times I have hiked up Table Mountain but I had never been up India Venster until last weekend. The week before I had climbed Lion’s Head with a couple of friends and we all said we should climb Table Mountain again but we all agreed the usual route, up Platteklip Gorge, was boring so I suggested we try something new. India Venster is said to be more technical and not for the novice hiker but we were up for the challenge and so the date was set.

India Venster hiking trail

I always advocate an early start when hiking, so you get to climb in the cool of the day and before the suns rays get to harsh. The plan was to meet at half past six at the lower cable station. Well, that was the plan but there was a slight mix up in communication which saw me only waking up at 6:10 not ready to hike. After a slew of messages and slightly desperate phone call from the rest of the group who were already there (because I was the one who supposedly knew the route), I told them to start hiking and I’d catch them up. continue + see 8 more photos


Finally hiking Hout Bay Corner

I don’t like doing hikes that I haven’t done before, I prefer to tread paths that I know. Last year I broke with tradition and was reminded of why this is, after following a path that came to a dead-end and retracing our steps several times decided the prudent action would be to go down the way we’d come up. I look up at the Twelfth Apostle mountain every day from the garden and for the last 10 years have wanted to climb up the back to the top and come down the front. And there is a path, I just didn’t know where it was until now.

The Twelfth Apostle above Llandudno Beach

The Twelfth Apostle above Llandudno Beach

My dad saw an advert in our local community newspaper to join The Peninsula Ramblers on a guided walk up Myburgh’s Kloof, known as one of the few spots to see the Red Disa flower, continuing to the top known as Judas Peak and then down Hout Bay corner. This was exactly the hike I had wanted to do before and so I was very keen to go along and finally learn the route. continue reading + 10 more photos


Beginning 2013 on a high!

What better way to start the New Year in Cape Town then a hike with friends for a champagne breakfast on top of one of many mountains we live beneath.

Rory Alexander Photography

Cheers to that and if this view is in any way indicative of things to come it should be a great year!

Rory Alexander Photography


Lion’s Head – by the light of the moon

A hike up Lion’s Head at full moon has been on my list of things to do since my family moved to Cape Town in 2002 and I first heard about it. Every year it has come up in conversation around the braai on various occasions followed by “we must do it! When is the next full moon?” but it’s never happened; until now that is! Yesterday the weather was as near perfect as can be. No wind, clear skies with great visibility and while the moon wasn’t full (that happens on the 28th) it was very nearly there and more than bright enough for our hike. We met at the start point at 6:00pm and started up the winding path that resembles the ridges of a snail’s shell spiralling up the mountain. Being one of the hottest days this summer, we soaked up the shade on the city side of Lion’s Head where we took a break to sip on some water and marvel at this view of Cape Town.

Rory Alexander Photography

It took us just under an hour to make it to the top, nearly 2200ft above sea level, where we chose a comfy-looking rock from which to enjoy our continue reading & 4 more photos


Flying over Mossel Bay

A couple of weekends ago Hilton Mundyand I drove up to Mossel Bay to cover the PetroSA Cape Regional Aerobatic Competition 2012. The weather didn’t exactly play nice for the practice day on the Friday with pilots waiting in Oudtshoorn for the clouds to lift so they could sneak over the mountains which they eventually did. On Saturday the sun rose to reveal clear skies and the competition was on!

The rest of the competitors flew in from Cape Town and Stellenbosch that morning. There may have been clear skies but there was also a strong wind blowing which made some of the pilots anxious to compete but by mid-morning the wind had changed and after a short briefing the action all started. After very little action the day before we were busy the whole day filming the aerobatic displays and all the action on the ground but I did get a chance to go up with the competition director, Hans Potgeiter, of Mossel Bay Aero Club in his Cessna 337, which is a rather unusual looking continue reading + 2 potos & a video


Walk before you run the Table Mountain Challenge

This morning I joined Nicole Biondi for a hike on Table Mountain. In two weeks time she is participating in the Table Mountain Challenge, a 37km trail run around the iconic Table Mountain. She will be part of a relay team, running the second of three legs which is said to be +/- 12kms from the block house above Rhodes Memorial to Constantia Nek. As part of the preparation she wanted to walk the route and have an idea of what was in store and so that’s what we did. After leaving a car at Constantia Nek we drove to Rhodes Memorial and started the uphill climb to the block house at 7:00am just before the sun rose.

Sunrise from just above Rhodes Memorial at 7:10am

The climb up to the block house, on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, is continue reading + 8 more photos