In 2013 my parents had hiked the Doringrivier. With overgrown proteas and an ill-marked trail, they managed to lose the path. Luckily my father’s GPS came to aid and they managed to find their way once again – all the while lightning was striking on the mountainside. Needless to say, they have attained a certain reverence for the Doringrivier trail.

Me, wanting to hike the trail, convinced my parents to do so once again. We visited the Witfontein office to obtain a permit (given that the trail if officially closed due to its overgrown state).

We drove over the Outeniqua pass, turned left into Waboomskraal and parked outside the fence at the border of the Doringrivier wilderness area. We set out in sunshine (the day promising to be sweltering) and made our way up the road. The first 2 km is an uphill struggle surrounded by black wattle and pine, but upon reaching the second gate at the neck, the landscape changes. One is welcomed by valley of Fynbos – absent of pine and wattle.

To my parents surprise, the thicket of fynbos of two year prior had all been burnt. We were to walk over freshly burnt earth – surrounded by pioneer species.

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For the next 4 km, we followed the main road, stopping 2 km further to take a swim – this made for a refreshing stop amidst the searing heat.

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We set out again and made for the base of the mountain. From here the ascent was steep for the next 3 km. With the sun heaving reached its full potential, we wetted our towels and placed them over our heads. This climb proved to be one of the most challenging I have done recently – the heat made it all but impossible to breath.

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We finally reached the top thourougly fried and ever so thankful for the mountain breeze. Here we could see Cradock peak to the West and the Swartberge to the North.

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After a quick stop at the top of Witberg, we started the gentle descent. We did the trail in reverse and in hindsight this was not the best idea. Had we done the trail counterclockwise, we would have had an easier time.

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We soon reached the car, exhausted, but with a feeling of accomplishment. We inquired at Witfontein, and it seems that the trail will be reopened soon. I do hope that Cape Nature follows through, since this trail is a true wonder of the Outeniqua mountains.

Total distance: 14.84 km
Max elevation: 1084 m
Min elevation: 600 m
Total climbing: 897 m
Total time: 05:22:17
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