Back in March my father and I did the Pass-to-Pass. The main path from the Outeniqua pass to Montagu pass was clear, but the path leading to Losberg was wildly overgrown. We followed the route for a bit, but soon gave up. Forward to December; Nic, Estelle and I retraced the (now cleared) path.
Category: Outeniqua Nature Reserve
The Koumashoek circuit is a perfect example of the beauty of the Outeniqua mountains – from the dense fynbos to the panoramic views of both the Swarberg and the sea. As of date there is but little information on this trail, so here is to hoping that this post proves valuable.
Having not seen Julius over the past few months, I decided the two of us should meet up on a hike. Further, I had been itching to see the Mimetes splendidus (Splendid Pagoda) in full flower – frustratingly it only flowers in Winter.
We found the perfect day to tackle the steep slopes of Cradock and George peak. Starting at the Witfontein forest station, we followed the plantation road up towards the mountain. From early on we could see George Peak towering above us – luckily Cradock Peak (roughly 250m higher) was obscured from view; keeping our morale high. The road soon gave way to a track that lead down to the Power Stream, which we crossed twice. This was the last major water source for the rest of the day. From here on we would be climbing, rising roughly 1300m in order to reach Cradock Peak
The route travels up from Fernridge, through Tonnelbos and around the front of Vandalenspiek, to the George dam (old George dam). From here the path winds up to Tierkop, and finally down to the Saasveld campus.
We walked to the top of 1st Avenue and climbed through the fence, entering the state forest. We soon crossed the railroad the Outeniqua power van uses and continued up the forest road. The gradient increased as the path narrowed into a footpath bordered by fynbos on either side. After about a 3.5 km steep climb, we entered a section of forest called Tonnelbos – the shade was heartily welcomed.
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.