Formosa Peak must be one of the best kept secrets of the Tsitsikamma mountains. The ascent is something similar to that of Cradock Peak, yet the scenery and experience is wholly different.
My father and I set off from home around 5:30 am and around 7:00 am we arrived at the dam on Marius Strydom’s property near Joubertina. The first kilometre had us fighting our way through dense fynbos, with an abundance of Proteacea, Ericaceae and unfortunately pine too. However, we soon started the steep climb.
The path follows the watershed all the way to the top, which allows for contrasting views of the afrotemperate forest of the Tsitsikamma to the south and the dry landscape to the north. Further, the view of the gorge created by the Bloukrans river makes for an impressive landmark and point of reference – especially if you have hiked the Tsitsikamma before. You are in a unique position to view the full 5-day trial from above!
Eventually we reached the infamous knife’s edge and gully. The knife’s edge is completely safe if you keep your footing, but I do warn that it may be slightly terrifying for anyone with a fear of heights. The only part of this trail that I consider slightly technical is the gully, which directly follows the knife’s edge. I would advise holding onto the available grasses and vegetation for the scramble up!
In no time at all, we reached the top and enjoyed lunch on this majestic peak, right on the border of the Eastern and Western Cape. There is always something special about being up higher that anywhere else in view. It seems to put more than just the landscape in perspective.
I always comment on how I love the Outeniqua mountains for its combination of forest, fynbos and palpable isolation. I now realise that the Tsitsikamma mountains offer this too. It is perhaps this that keeps drawing me back to the Garden Route. It is most definitely a place that I love more than anywhere else.
Max elevation: 1666 m
Min elevation: 732 m
Total climbing: 1246 m
Total time: 05:32:24