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.

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We took the route up Langrivierkloof – as I have done often before – and to my delight, we spotted Protea coronata along the way. After filling up our water bottles, we tackled the steep slopes up to the saddle. This was the first time I was back up here since the Banghoek fire of late 2016. Unfortunately the rich heath that covered the slopes of Die Pieke was all but gone.

The mass of fires of 2016/2017 have wrecked the mountains and make it a difficult task for someone like me, on the hunt for fynbos. My heart is eased with the knowledge that there is a delicate game at play between fynbos and fire. However, the emphasis is on the word delicate. Fires that are too frequent do not allow for the fynbos to regenerate and flower.

Reflecting on this, we made for the southern peak and rested here. Die Pieke is rather special for me, since it gives a unique vantage point to see Stellenbosch, the Swartland and Cape Town. This mountain is also such an iconic landmark, and looks all but impossible to climb when viewed from Stellenbosch.

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From here we made our way to Nerinakloof, via Vensterkloof. On the descent of Vensterkloof, make sure to take the exit on the right and head north through the “venster” (or directly around the side of it). Do not keep going down Vensterkloof, because you will need abseil gear to get down!

From here there is a small slightly technical scramble, whereafter you reach Nerinakloof. This has to be one of the most gorgeous places in Jonkershoek. The kloof is lined with blood orange Nerine sarniensis flowers and gigantic Alsophila capensis (Cape tree fern).

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Total distance: 17.54 km
Max elevation: 1489 m
Min elevation: 246 m
Total climbing: 1818 m
Total time: 06:34:16
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