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~ I dont blog about things to be liked. I blog about things that I like ~ ... so that one day, on my death bed, I will have said and done what I wanted to do, and die peacefully without regrets.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..' Oh shit....She's awake'

Monday, December 29, 2008

Steenbras River Gorge is perfect for a pic-nic and a swim

Hiking Trail: Steenbras River Gorge
Name of Reserve / Area: Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Steenbras River
Nearest Town: Located between Gordons Bay and Hangklip
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 3 hours max.

Best time of year to go: Any time. Go very early in summer, as it gets very hot in the valley.

Fresh Water:
the main watersource is the Steenbras river. I would not drink the water coming from the little lakes, as people swim in them.

Mike Lundy Rating 2B. Its flat all the way in the valley, but as you head past the 3rd lake, the climb is steep for about 30 min.

No pets are allowed.

How safe is it: The entire reserve is fenced off, and you need to pay to get in. From a crime perspective, I'd say always be careful, but we felt very safe here. The local baboons are a big concern though, because they WILL steal your food from you if they can get hold of your back pack, so be prepared if they come close.

Directions to get there:
From Gordons Bay, take the coastal road towards Betty's Bay. You will soon drive over a very big bridge (the Steenbras River). This is your landmark and where you will see a parking area on your right.

What costs did you incurr to do this hike:
Entry fee is 15 ZAR per person.

Permits can be bought from the Sunbird Guest House accross the road from the Steenbras Nature Reserve.

Pics taken by:
Alex Aitkenhead and Juanita Welgemoed

(Click on the images for a larger view)

Here I did a Google image and mapped out the route in red. The red arrows indicate the 3 main lakes as you approach the cliffs.

There is a small hut by the entrace where you need to show your Permit. Permits can be bought from the Sunbird Guest Lodge (far left in pic above).

Phone: (+27 21) 856 1740 / Fax: (+27 21) 856 2116

There is no need for a map or guide on this hike, as its is only one path leading up to the lakes. At some stage the paths become a mish mash of paths, but they do all come to the same destination.

This (pic above) was the first small lake which is in the river bed.

A short while after you start to climb, you will come accross the second lake with a beautiful waterfall.

Below is a small video clip of the girl jumping into the lake

The pic above is the highest one of the 4 lakes on this route.

This is the view from the top of the cliff, looking down onto the third (on the right) and fourth (on the left) lakes.

We started to climb the cliff and went all the way to the top. One of the most obvious things for me on this hike was the lack in maintenance of the paths. People have trampled the paths and eroded the area that it was very difficult to see which path was actually the main path to take. I can also see that its all been done without bad intention - due to the lack of guidance as to which paths should actually be taken. In the end they all come out at the same place.

At the top of the cliff the land is barren, rocky and pretty boring. It really is not worth your while to scramble all the way to the top if you wish to hike any further - unless you just want to enjoy the view and the flora.

Hikers Ratings: (Juanita) I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to walk inside a riverbed again. This made me think back of my days as a child when I played in the river on my dad's farm close to the Kruger National Park. The four little lakes were great places for a pitstop or a chill-stop. This seemed like a very popular local spot for a pic-nic and a swim on a hot summers day. I would not recommend that you go further than the top lake, as the path becomes blurry with loads of loose rocks and it could be dangerous.

I think I have been spoilt since I started hiking with regards to being exposed to excellent hiking routes / conditions. Sadly this Reserve's paths have been poorly maintained (very much unlike Table Mountain National Park who's paths are in almost perfect shape!). Just a small amount of effort from the local authority with a few sign posts errected to guide a person, would save this route from being erroded any further.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Steenbras River Gorge and associated Cristal Pools hiking trial is open from 1 November to 30 April. Cost is R60 per person and booking is essential. Bookings can only be done via the reserves e-mail address:
Permits requests are administered between 8am and 2pm, Monday to Friday

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