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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, August 31, 2009

Karbonkelberg Erosion Warning

Hiking Trail: Kapteins Peak / Karbonkelberg
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park
Nearest Town: Houtbay, Llundudno
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 2 hours 30 min

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, follow the beach road which hugs the mountain via Campsbay towards Llundudno, then drive into Houtbay Main Road. Continue straight with this road through Houtbay all the way pass the Houtbay Harbour. Take the first road right up towards the mountain. At T-junction turn right into Karbonkelberg Road. 2nd road right again into Bayview Road. Follow Bayview Road all the way to the top. This road is very windey, but follow your nose in a upward direction and you should not go too far wrong.

Best time of year to go: Any time is good. This is a very exposed route with no trees for shade on a hot summers day, so do be careful if you wish to choose this route in summer.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: none

How safe is it: from a security point of view, I would not recommend that you go up here alone. This is a perfect easy walk for the dogs, so we felt safe having the Dobies to protect us.

Fresh Water: none

Difficulty: easy stroll to the top, but once you reach the eroded sections it becomes a dangerous walk. We did not go all the way to the Karbonkelberg, we only went to Kapteins Peak, and this was perfectly safe.

Pets: Yes. Remember to take extra water for the doggies. On our way down, we happen to pass a lady and her 7 unleashed dogs... (3 were large dogs) all wanting to sniff the dobermans. Lady please... PLEASE do not do this again if you can not control your unleashed dogs. This was not a very pleasant sight for all involved. For me to control a doberman who is being attacked by an unleashed dog proved to be impossible. Had they gone on any longer, there would have been no way that I would have been able to stop them.

I just fail to comprehend what goes on in a persons mind when they think this sort of activity is acceptable. Then again, I could be sarcastic and say that owning 7 dogs is just as questionable.

How will I rate this hike?
We wanted to find Kapteins Peak, which we did. It was fairly easy as it was the first hill on your right, as you start to cross over the steel mesh humps in the path going upwards.

To the left of the main path going up is known as the Long Drop (that we did the last time we came here) which gives you the most stunning views of a very isolated part of the coastline below.

But in our attempts to explore further, and maybe even go all the way to the old Radar house, built on the edge of the real Karbonkelberg, we were very much surprised to see how bad the path on this route was eroded.

It was so bad, that we decided to give it a miss for good, or at least until it could maybe be repaired. This path is still in the process of collapsing, and is in fact at its most dangerous during this time.

Lovely walk, but very dangerous at the time of writing this article - if u wish to go all the way to the top of Karbonkelberg - it is not recommended.

See my other article of The Karbonkelberg hiking trail.

 Easy Walks in the Cape Peninsula

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chocolate Cake the perfect Hiking Snack


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract and your favourite tipple
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to your largest mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using), vanilla extract and a drop or two of your favourite tipple, then mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now you are only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! You are going to forward this straight away, aren't you ... :-).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quantum Adventure Rumbles & Trail Runs

Hi all,

please see dates below of the next Quantum Adventure 'Rumbles'... And a trail run. We did the first of these rumbles this past weekend and it was great fun.

(Mountain Biking & Trail Running all in one)

Date: 4 October 2009
Region/Venue: TBC, Western Cape
Type of sport: Adventure Sprint Race
Format: Long course: 20 km MTB, 6 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Short Course: 10 km MTB, 3 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Categories: Open Male, Open Female, Mixed Pairs, Family, Junior

Date: 1 November 2009
Region/Venue: TBC, Western Cape
Type of sport: Adventure Sprint Race
Format: Long course: 20 km MTB, 6 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Short Course: 10 km MTB, 3 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Categories: Open Male, Open Female, Mixed Pairs, Family, Junior

Date: 29 November 2009
Event Title: Spur HI-TEC Jolly Jester Adventure Rumble
Region/Venue: Grabouw, Western Cape
Type of sport: Sprint Adventure Race
Format: Long course: 16 ­ 20 km MTB, 4 -6 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Short Course: 8 ­ 10 km MTB, 2 -3 km trail running/natural obstacles/kloofing etc
Categories: Open Male, Open Female, Mixed Pairs, Family, School/Junior
Additional Info: The wackiest, fancy dress race of the year, prizes to best dressed teams

Date: 12 December 2009
Event Title: First Ascent Trail Run
Region/Venue: Cape Peninsula ­ Southern Right Hotel, Western Cape
Type of sport: Trail Run
Format: Long Route: 12 - 15km
Short Route: 6 - 7km
Categories: Male, Female, Junior

Theresa Styles
email Theresa for more booking information.

T . 021 462 1466 . F . 021 462 1469 . C . 083 271 2563
Avalon Three, 123 Hope Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001
PO Box 6716 . Roggebaai 8012 . South Africa

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hiking Trail Tokai Arboretum

Hiking Trail: Tokai Arboretum
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park
Nearest Town: Tokai, Constantia, Bergvliet
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 2 Hours.

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the M3 south. Follow the road, until you get to the Retreat Turnoff. At the top of the off-ramp, turn right into Tokai Main Road. Follow this road straight until you get to a fork in the road, keep right and follow until you get to a T-junction. Turn left at the T (by the Tokai Manor House), and follow the dirt road until you reach the parking area. This is a very popular mountain bike route, and you are bound to find all the local riders gearing up for their ride up the treacherous Tokai Forest mountain - comes highly recommended, especially the single track down!

Contact Information:
Listers Place Tea Garden
021 715 4512

Best time of year to go: Any time is perfect. The trees provide ample shade for a hot summers day.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: Nothing.

How safe is it: Fairly safe. As always, keep yourself protected at all times with a mace spray or shocker.

Fresh Water: As long as you stay within the Tokai Arboretum area, you should be fine.

Difficulty: any unfit person can do this.

Pets: No dogs allowed.

From the car park, you will find the entrance to the Tokai Arboretum on your immediate left. This is where you will also find the Tea Garden called Listers Place, named after the original person who created this beautiful park, Joseph Storr Lister.

The only point of reference that we could find, was this sign board. I was amazed at the great detail of this map - only to be found on this board.

The first thing that came to mind, is that when I find a tree with number on it, I will run back to this signboard, look up the number - see what it is and then try to locate it on this map or the other way around.

For all intense of purposes, this was not my idea of what was to be a fun Arbor day!

After wondering around for about 15 minutes, acquainting ourselves with the Tea Garden, the ablutions and the one and only map, Alex and I decided to just walk up the garden path anyway and enjoy the outdoors.

With much to our delight, we found this stunning little river flowing near by. There was also a designated short walk up the river if you wish to follow this easy path.

One can not explain the feelings of complete tranquility that these trees provide you with. Its something you just have to come and experience for your own.

After we completed a circular route around the river, we headed back down into the Arboretum area, to explore some more special trees.

Tokai Arboretum
This is a experimental forest that was planted by Joseph Storr Lister in 1886 with the aim to research and understand the economic viability of which plants will be able to grow in South Africa. The forests and plantations in and around South Africa is a direct result of this project. Lister sourced these trees from all around the world (can you imagine the work that must have gone into sourcing these trees more than a hundred years ago?) and planted them here. Today we are fortunate enough to be able to walk through a forest with giant trees from every corner of the world.

Im not sure one can find anything more special than this? Sadly its been neglected by the local authorities, to which we hope something will be done about this soon.

(1166) Below are 2 images of the Californian Redwood - USA.

below: Two unknown trees (had no numbers)... and oh so beautiful!

(644) Saltwater Paper bark Tree - Western Australia.

(1240) Apply Myrtle - Australia

(551) Cork Oak - origin could not see.

(504) Canary Pine - Canary Islands

(510) Maritime Pine - Northern Africa

(674) Mexican Cypress - Central America

Once you have completed your walk, you can enjoy a refreshment at the Listers Place Tea Garden.

How will I rate this hike?
Mmmm, well I have some concerns to the upkeep of this (what can be a breathtaking) spot. On a glance - poorly maintained.

The only sign we could find that would guide us was a very detailed map by the front gate. Lori - who runs the Tea Garden with her mother, said she has requested numerous times for months now from Sanparks to give her information about the area - but nothing has ever come their way. I believe as a National Heritage site, this site is poorly maintained and has been neglected 100%.

I think my high expectations was my downfall. Someone needs to step in here and give this site the justice it so dearly deserves.

I contacted SANPARKS and spoke to the local Regional Manager's assistant who promised he will get back to me. Lets hope someone will be able to take some action to give this very special project its well deserved recognition.

My recommendations would be the following:
1. Promote this National Heritage site.
2. Clear signage on the pathways are vital.
3. Trees need to be marked with proper labels and not just numbers.
4. Detailed z-folded maps can be provided for visitors or small booklets with all the tree's information in them (at a cost maybe).
5. Tea Garden needs a serious upgrade. Right now, its a tuck-shop barely trying to stay on its feet - understandably with the weekend traffic being its only clients. A small amount of enthusiasm will get the tourists and locals here in a flash - if they only knew about it!
6. The original Historical Center inside the Tea Garden house needs to be restored. It burnt down a short while ago, and all that was restored was the building - nothing inside was replaced.

Any other recommendations or suggestions will greatly be appreciated.

We had so much fun being here, and really hope that this beautiful site will not be allowed to fall apart.

Feedback was received on 1 September 2009: Click here

Easy Walks in the Cape Peninsula

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chapman’s Peak and Silvermine from Noordhoek Beach

Hiking Trail: Chapman’s Peak and Silvermine from Noordhoek Beach

Name of Reserve / Area: The route falls within the Table Mountain National Park, which includes the Silvermine area.
Nearest Town: Cape Town
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Route: This hiking route climbs up from Noordhoek Beach to Chapman’s Peak (593m), drops down the other side to 321m and heads up again to 689m, before the final drop down to the Silvermine dam (440m) in Silvermine-west. Since it is not a circular route cars will be required at both ends.

Map: The area is covered by Peter Slingsby’s Silvermine map. However, note that the path from Noordhoek Beach to the top of Chapman’s Peak was recently laid out as part of the Silvermine trail and is not indicated on the current map.

Duration of hike: Roughly 5½ to 6 hours at a moderate pace, including 1½ hours for tea, lunch and photo stops.

Difficulty: Using the Meridian Hiking Club’s grading system, I’d call it a 3Bd – you have to be fairly fit to do this hike in comfort. The path does climb and drop a couple of times, but the steep sections don’t last long and the rest is gradual. There is no exposure to heights.

Directions to get there: From the Cape Town CBD, drive towards Muizenberg on the M3.

When it ends in a T-junction, turn right, cross over one set of traffic lights and turn left at the 2nd set into Ou Kaapse Weg (M64). Follow the pass up and, (to leave the cars at the official end-point of this walk). As soon as you reach the top of the pass, immediately turn right into the Silvermine Nature Reserve (roughly 26km from the Cape Town CBD). Follow the road to the left and, once through the entrance pay-point, drive up the tar road to the last parking lot. Leave a car here.

Return back to the main road - Ou Kaapse Weg, now turn right and drive down to the other side into Noordhoek. Turn right at the 1st opportunity into Silvermine Rd and then right at the T-junction into Noordhoek Main Rd (M6). Pass the Noordhoek Village centre on your right and two paddocks on your left, before turning left into Avondrust Circle. Turn 2nd right into Beach Rd and follow the signs to the beach parking lot (roughly 35km from the CBD).

What costs? R15 per person to drive into Silvermine in order to leave cars at the end-point - unless you have a free-entry Wild Card - and R5 per car guard at either end.

Best time of year to go: Anytime - we did it on a warm midwinter’s day. First prize would be a wind and rain-free day, either clear or with high cloud, so that you can enjoy the impressive vistas. Fynbos puts on a display in different areas at different times of the year. Check the weather and always go properly equipped for a possible severe drop in temperature.

Safety: Very safe, from a terrain perspective. It goes without saying to always be careful, from a crime perspective (don’t carry unnecessary valuables, keep a single-stream pepper spray handy and consider a specific plan of action, as a group, in case of an incident).

Fresh water: The Silvermine streams do flow in winter, but don’t count on it – take at least two litres of water in winter and at least three litres on a hot day.

Pets: Well-behaved - and fit! – hiking dogs are welcome on this route and there is no difficult terrain. Remember to take extra water, a small water bowl and enough snacks along for your pooch.

Route Description:

Below, our leader (Frank Dwyer) points out the route onto and up from Noordhoek beach, where we left our cars in the parking lot.

A serene sight with which to begin our hike - Noordhoek beach is famous for its occasional tidal pans.

Before reaching the end of the beach, look out for a carefully laid-out path that leads up to Chapmans Peak Drive (closed for construction at the time of writing - August 2009).

The new path above the road is clearly visible. The beach and a tidal pan are visible below us.

Gaining height through what looks like a tree graveyard - where trees come to die! This kind of evidence of fire damage combined with subsequent growth tells a dramatic tale of fynbos survival.

Moving up the western ridge, it seems improbable that Chapman’s Peak Drive could be hidden beyond the steep cliffs below.

As we gain height the views towards Hout Bay open up – to the left and in the foreground lies The Sentinel, behind it Karbonkelberg and to its right, in the distance, Little Lions Head. Our leader was nature guide Frank Dwyer, owner of Slackpacker SA, which offers catered and serviced day walks and overnight hiking trails.

Ancient geological history – and globalisation - lies exposed at our feet. Here we see two distinct rock types of vastly different ages - one ‘local’ and one ‘alien’. The alluvial quartz pebbles, by far the older of the two, would have been carried over a long distance down a large, ancient river from the Northern Hemisphere, before the split of the continents. At the end of their long journey they came to rest in what was then sedimentary sand and particles – the very stuff that was subsequently compressed into the hardened Table Mountain sandstone, which is about 500 million years old.

Moving around to the southeast-facing slope of Chapman’s Peak we were blown away by this rich winter-palette of fynbos.

Fynbos beauty at our feet, a big blue sky above, the vast Atlantic Ocean stretching away and fresh sea air in our lungs – an outdoor junkie’s nirvana.

From a lichens-covered sandstone perch we look down over Noordhoek Valley and on across the Silvermine-east peaks. It is hard to imagine that, with the sea level 25m higher than it is today at both around 1.5 and 5 million years ago, the Fish Hoek Channel created an island out of the rest of the Peninsula, from Elsies Peak (extreme right, below) all the way to Cape Point. (At the same time, everything between Fish Hoek-Noordhoek and the CBD was yet another island, cut off from the mainland by the Cape Flats Seaway, which connected False and Table Bays.) In the far distance, on the other side of False Bay, the Hottentot Hollands mountains are just visible on the extreme left, the Kogelberg Nature Reserve peaks in the centre and Hangklip on the extreme right.

As we turn to bag our peak we let our eyes feast again on this wild winter garden.

On top of Chapman’s Peak.

Suitably refreshed, it is time to give our descent muscles a workout.

Heading down towards Lower Chapman’s Peak, we look across to - from the right - Noordhoek Peak, Constantiaberg and, in the far distance, Table Mountain.

Back up again, and that was a bit of a slog. The route we followed down from Lower Chapman’s Peak is visible on the extreme left. To its right is the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Near the 689m trig beacon for lunch, and time to contemplate from whence we came. And not just in terms of our hike - the pre-historic Fish Hoek (to Noordhoek) Channel, mentioned earlier, would have covered all that is flat down there.

From here on in our pictorial record becomes a bit sparse - the rugby enthusiasts amongst us were rushing to their favourite watering holes. The path joins up with the gravel road, where you have two options – left for a clockwise loop down to the Silvermine dam parking-lot (roughly 1 hr 30 min – without stops), or right for an anti-clockwise loop (roughly 1 hr). Option 1 soon passes just below the 754m large cairn of Noordhoek Peak – a scenic spot for a leisurely lunch - look out for the path leading left and up to it. Or walk on for another few minutes until you come to a short gravel road leading off to the left, for a lookout point over Hout Bay, below. For option 2, skip the next three pics.

Turn back to the main road and walk on to the left again. Either follow the road all the way down, or look out for a hiking path leading off to the right, to the lower section of the Amphitheatre Path, which rejoins the road further down. The car park is to the left of the dam wall, and the route passes behind the shady hill on the left, in the pic below.

Look out for this sign which points to yet another shortcut path, this one leading off to the left. (The road that can be seen dropping down from the right to the other end of the dam wall is the one that leads from the clockwise-option path, mentioned above.)

For the clockwise loop, turn right on top where the trail meets the gravel road and follow the bends down. On the 2nd right-hand bend, look out for a hiking trail that leads off to the left. It soon joins up with the Amphitheatre Path, seen below.

The route passes some weirdly-weathered sandstone formations, including Breakfast Slab and Shelter Rock.

Turn left when the path meets up with the gravel road and follow it down to the dam (Constantiaberg is visible in the background). Here you can either walk over the dam wall, or follow the gravel road to the car park on the other side.

Back at the car park the circular route leading away from the dam can clearly be seen on the Table Mountain National Park information board.

The writer of this route description is Belinda Oosthuizen (, writer and editor of website copy and general good-organiser. She’s happiest in the mountains and says, if she was forced to live elsewhere, her soul would constantly yearn for the sight and smell of fynbos. She also took most of the pics. For her, photography is a compulsion – a means by which to document and share the beauty of the mountains with others. She uses an Olympus FE-120, but she longs for a digital SLR camera.

Sam Greyvenstein, who took some of the pics, always comes complete with his camera slung around his neck while out on hikes. He says he takes photographs “for fun” and he uses a Kodak P850 digital SLR camera.

Other hiking trails in this blog of this Area:

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There is an old saying...

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