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.
Difficulty: 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.
Pets: No pets are allowed.
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.
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.