It’s not often that I get some of my favourite mountain people together for such an epic trip. Even though Dalene couldn’t make it, it was definitely still a blast to have the likes of Alex, Oliver, MO, Donna and Willie with to head up Duiwelskloof.
Table Mountain has always been a tricky place for me to wrap my head around. On the one side the function of nature reserves and (maybe more so) national parks is to a) protect our fragile biodiversity and b) do so in a way that the people can benefit from this too. On the other hand, when I go climb a mountain I do so to get away from fast-paced and claustraphobic feel of daily life. This is very easy to find in the Boland or the Outeniquas, but not so easy in Cape Town. Table Mountain is thus a juxtapostition of these ideas and I have stuggled to find my place in this. Luckily the Twelve Apostles side of Table Mountain has shed some light on the solitude and beauty that this national park can provide.
This is one of those peaks that eluded me for quite some time. With the knowledge that there is a healthy population of Protea rupicola on the summit, it made it all the more enticing. I contacted MO and we arranged a keen party of hikers to summit Sneeukop.
What a pleasure to hike with the Cape Town section of the MCSA and to get properly acquainted with MO! With an early start at Nuweberg, we followed the Spinx route to up to the Landdroskop hut, managing to spot some beautiful proteaceae along the way. Amongst the most stunning were Protea speciosa, Protea stokoei and Mimetes argenteus.
Another great trip with the Outramps CREW group! We tackled the De Hoek circuit, documenting the fynbos along the way. Although rather recently burnt, the landscape still has a beautiful dynamism to it. The regrowth of the fynbos in the Swartberg is slow, due to the lower rainfall, but there are definitely signs of life returning.
Easter weekend saw a return to the Outeniqua mountains. We spent four days hiking, starting at Beervlei and ending (70km later) at the Gouna forest station. This trail has a special significance to me, seeing as it was my first hike back in ’97. I saw this trip as a chance to reflect on that which has changed – both for me and for this fragile landscape.
After about two years of wanting to see Nerinakloof, Joe and I finally set out for it! The last time I attempted this route I mistook Vensterkloof to be Nerinakloof and ended up in a bit of trouble. Nevertheless, I learnt a valuable lesson on the dangers of the mountains.