This hike was EPIC!!! I love only 20 minutes drive from the Cape Point Nature Reserve which is found on the Peninsula on the southern tip of Africa.
I had just completed almost 90 kilometres over 5 days of hiking on the Outeniqua mountains and now we were about to hike another 40 kilometres over the weekend. One major difference is that it was slack-packing!!! Whoop whoop! It means that you drop off your big bag and it gets delivered to the overnight hut for you. Hallelujah!!! Because day 1 was a long one.
We started at 9am from the entrance gate of the reserve. The hike can be walked in one of two circular directions, either the longer 20km beach walk day and then the more technical rocky 14km day OR the other way around.
We decided on the long day first and I’m so glad we did!!! We climbed the first hill and descended the other side immediately losing our small fynbos covered path and bushwhacking through the low bush to eventually find the path again.
We got to Circle vlei (lake) after trudging through around 4 kilometres of low bush and lots of wetland. The lake made for an excellent photo op and a couple of the group jumped at the opportunity for a quick swim.
Another 5 kilometres through the bush and we decided to cut towards the beach to have lunch at the old wreck.
Luckily another of the giant Logs has washed up on the beach and made the perfect picnic spot for us to rest our feet. There nothing better than a good old peanut butter sandwich and hot tea. But Richard took it to the next level and pulled out his cooker to make his own rooibos (red bush) tea to enjoy with his avocado crackers with coleslaw. Then he cracked us all up with a Mr Bean moment when he shook out his stinky socks and laid them in the sun to air 😂
We had options. The official path would have taken us along a rocky ridge and then eventually down towards the beach but we were already on the beach so we opted to take the route less travelled and followed a tiny beach path all the way along the coast. It was a far softer path and kinder on the feet than the rocky path.
We encountered two troops of baboons on day 1 and we had been warned that they are quite accustomed to humans and not afraid to steal any snacks they spot in your hand or bag. Just to our left on this rocky section, were 2 large male baboons foraging for food so we quickly stowed away any food and then quickly walked by in a big group to deter them from making any advances towards us.
We knew there was going to be wildlife on this hike and we got to see tortoises, baboons, ostriches and eland buck.
The path got more and more sandy until we were confronted with sand dunes and plenty tracks from buck and baboons. And then opened up to white beaches for the next few kilometres.
Yo ahead we could now see the small peak that would be our home for the night at the resteo and protea huts.
Half our group decided to take a longer route via Diaz beach on the point while the rest of us were content to head towards the hit and rest our feet. Unfortunately we followed the group taking the longer route a d had to turn back to find our small path that cut across the mountain side to our huts. Our little detour and taking the coast route added and extra 4 kilometres to the days 20.
The hut was a sight for sore eyes (or rather feet!!) after a long day of hiking in the sun and the fact they had solar electricity and HOT SHOWERS was just the best news ever! I jumped at the outdoor heated shower and hot tea from the basic kitchen.
And did I mention the views??? They were spectacular!!! The huts look back up the peninsula towards “mainland” and I use that term beach’s with feels like you’re on an island especially as the fog rolled in and the sun began to set over the Atlantic Ocean to our left with the Indian Ocean on our right.
The next morning we were up before sunrise after an early night, ready to conquer the day. Sunrise was beautiful…
We set off still surrounded by low fog down below heading along the headland towards the rocky beach below. The baboons luckily ignored us as we walked by through the mist. I was having flash backs of “gorillas in the mist” from when I was a kid!
Day two hugged the east coast and took us past a tidal pool, boat slipway and we go to see a “mist-bow” - a trick of the light shining on the mist that forms a rainbow with no colour!
As the mist burned off the temperature rose and we reached the lime kiln which was our lunch spot for the day. Everyone pulled out their snacks and cookers and rested on the top of the Lime
kiln. I can’t imagine how hot this kiln must have been when it was up and running.
The next section really killed my feet and I’m pretty sure it’s time for new hiking boots. My trusty salomans have seen better days after 4 years of hiking and this hike tipped them over the edge. They actually still look perfect! But the support is worn away and my feet could feel it.
The paths led us over and around a couple big peaks adding to our elevation until we looked back to see Cape Point and our huts in the distance behind us. And up ahead we could see smitswinkel bay with the finish just to the left at the top of the cliff.
The feeling that we were almost done fueled me to keep moving. The last 10 days I had now walked almost 130 kilometres and it felt good to be heading home for a break with the family.
The multi-day hiking bug has definitely bitten. And now I’m more in tune with my body, my capabilities and the gear that I need to upgrade.
I’m not one to sit on the couch for very long so watch this space for 2 picturesque day hikes that I did this last week.
Life is good when you’re outside….