This is our favourite weekend walk. Direct from the front door is a 14 km hike that starts by crossing the Grahamstown bypass and then goes up over the grasslands of Mountain Drive before dropping down ‘heartbreak hill’ and into Featherstone Kloof . Then it’s along the valley, across the stream, through some woodland and bush before the steep haul up the other side and back into the grassland and fresh flowers.
Last Sunday we walked through a very large patch of burned veld from the bush fires a week or two earlier. There were plenty of new flowers coming through and we saw sugar birds on the King Proteas – which is a bit unusual. It’s always a bit of a slog back up and over Mountain Drive but the thought of a cold Windhoek in the fridge at home can, just possibly, urge you on.
My verdict: a good round on a sunny winter’s day.
Midwinter is about the best time to hike the Klipsringer Trail, actually you can’t hike it in the summer months due to the extreme heat and lack of water on the route . We broke up the long drive (900 kms) by overnighting at the Mountain Zebra Park and you can see just how cold it was for camping by this picture … it’s Kate clearing the table of overnight frost (minus 8 we reckon, my water bottle froze inside the tent).
Then it was off in lovely sunshine to Augrabies and the three day trail. There are two overnight huts and the parks board kindly deliver wood for braiing and drinking water, they are both much appreciated. The first day goes up and down and along the plateau skirting the deep trench of the Gariep River with spectacular viewpoints. It also has lots of black fly even in mid-winter … The second day you leave Visarend hut and descend into the gorge itself for the day which is quite hard work with soft sand and scrambling over boulders by the river’s edge. We were pleased to get to Berghut and spent a pleasant night before heading back over the Swartrante and Moon Rocks to the campsite. A cold beer or two at the park restaurant was a fitting end to an excellent time! Here’s a map of our route and then a gallery of pictures.