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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, November 22, 2010

Wildcard Renewal process sucks

So far this has been my experience in getting our WildCard updated:

1 Nov:
Get email notification that Infinity no longer manages Wild Card. they said to pls go to SANPARKS website and update your card so that the new management have what they need to have.

  • we go there to update the information.  We get linked to and then we have to find the form...
19 Nov:
get sms from INFINITY to say the following:
"WILD Cardholder: Your WILD Card, 1234xxxxx, is expiring on 21/12/2010. GO WILD, renew your WILD Card by calling 0861234002 or visiting"

  • since we have done the website thing, we called the given number.
  • we get told to go to the nearest WildCard (Sanparks) office... Canal Walk Entrance 2.
  • at the office in Canal Walk we get given and told to fill in this form and fax it to 021 701 8773 (Done)

after completing the above form, I venture off to phone SANPARKS on 0861 469 453, the phone rang and then I was put on hold for 4 minutes, and then got cut off.

again, I decided to call 0861234002 again to find out something else, again they refer me to Sanparks.

my point being:
all this backwards and forwards commotion to get this card updated so that we can go on holiday with a valid card... getting directed from pillar to post.

  1. After updating our info on the SANPARKS website, they now tell us its not valid we have to do it again.  we do it again... for just in case.
  2. Calling the number on the Wildcard sms, only to be told we must actually call another number...
  3. Call the other number, to be put on hold for 4 minutes and then get cut off...
  4. going to Canal Walk to be told its not there its somewhere else...
  5. have been given the above form to fax off into cyberspace and hoping something will be done about it.
why all the missioning? why not send out 1 sms to refer us to SOMEONE SOMEWHERE that can help us to get it done first time. 
    I just dont know how companies actually survive.  grrr

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Whats On? A job opportunity and some awesome hikes around the Western Cape

    Opportunity to work on Gough Island - Urgent: last boat leaves on 23 Nov

    "One of the 2 field assistants who went down to Gough Island in September has to return to Cape Town for medical reasons. We have a very small window to recruit a potential replacement - last ship to the island sails on 23 November (2 weeks!)

    If any of you know someone who might be keen at very short notice to drop everything and go to Gough until October 2011, please send Richard ( and me ( their details. Ideally we need someone with basic rope access skills, as part of the job entails ongoing control of Sagina on the cliffs adjacent to the base.

    The balance of the work includes seabird monitoring and some research as well as work with the land birds (checking them in captivity in the lead up to a potential mouse eradication attempt). There is another field worker on the island who will be able to lead the team.
    Please send this on to anyone who might be interested.

    Many thanks
    Peter Ryan
    Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
    University of Cape Town

    Friday, November 19
    Don Jepson will show Trail hiking in the Swiss Alps combined with early winter snow - September 2010 (Hosted by Gill Gimberg)

    Weekend, November 20 & 21
    The HIGHLANDS TRAIL is a two-day circular route (37km) in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. The walk starts in the forests between Grabouw and Kleinmond. The first day descends to Botriviervlei and then continues along the beach to Kleinmond. We'll overnight at a hut in Kleinmond and return the next day via Perdeberg Peak. Maximum group size of 10. Convenor Bruce Spottiswoode 084 548 8220. Book from 8 November. Co-convenor Christina Jongens 072 241 8530.

    Saturday, November 20
    Meet at the top of Price Drive, Constantia at 2pm. Jos de Gendt 021 712 7506

    Weekend, November 20 & 21
    SCORPION AND TARANTULA PEAKS, WAAIHOEK MOUNTAINS. Leave early Saturday morning for 2 long days of big walking over rough mountain terrain, so a high level of fitness required. Full overnight gear required. Convenor Chris Goodwin 083 310 1747 before 8pm. Book from 8 November. Co-convenor Mark Middleton 082 924 5605.

    Sunday, November 21
    RIGHT FACE / ARROW FACE. Table Mountain classic with some B grade scrambling and moderate exposure. Suitable for the not so fit as the pace will be “unhurried”. (Dave’s not so good with uphill any more!) . Convenor Dave Wolfaardt anytime, or call 082 378 5072 from 15 November between 6-8pm. Co-convenor, Jenni Fitzell.

    Thursday, November 25
    (Classic rock) MUIZENBERG RECESS (E grade). A most attractive Muizenberg trad rock climb with a delightful traverse and face climb on the first pitch. Numbers limited. Convenor Eric Harley 021 712 3642. Book from 22 November. Co-convenor Jose Heitor 082 460 9858.

    Thursday, November 25
    OPPELSKOP RIDGE - DEVILS PEAK ‘B’ scrambling. Meet at Tafelberg road parking under the bluegums below the Saddle zig-zag path at 07h30. NO NEED TO BOOK BUT don’t be late else you will miss us because we will leave promptly. Bring clothing for all kinds of weather (ie for hot and cold), and enough food and drinks for morning tea and lunch. We hope to be back at the cars by mid afternoon so don’t come if you have to be home before that. We will do something no matter what the weather, but may amend the route depending on conditions. Convenors Mike & Doreen Scott.

    Friday, November 26
    Bushveld Khaki Fever by Jane Goodfellow
    Gill Gimberg will introduce Jane Goodfellow, who will give a slide presentation and tell us how her mid-life crisis led to her spending 6 months in the bushveld and two months in Namibia amongst wild animals, and will explain the dangers of khaki fever!

    Saturday, November 27
    TOUR OF TABLE MOUNTAIN! Start at Constantia Nek, follow the contour path to the base of Platteklip Gorge, with a detour via Newlands Ravine. Ascend Table Mountain via Platteklip (or Left Face B, weather permitting) and then make our way to the TM hut where we spend the night. The next day we either return straight to the Nek (easy option) or go down via Llandudno Ravine, and then follow the trail that takes us towards Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine, but we drop down to Farrier’s Way at that point and hike back up to the Nek via the pipe track on the other side of Constantia main road. Reasonably fast pace, with grade of B+ if we take Left Face B. Party limited to 12. Convenor Guy Meredith 084 615 4370 or email Book from 22 November. Co-convenor Jonathan Mylrea.

    Weekend, November 27 & 28
    ARRANGIESKOP 2-day trail overlooking Robertson. This includes a tough ascent rewarded by the king of hiking lodges at the day’s end. Nervous Sunday slope shuffles in the morning are followed by easy country downhills. Convenor Dave Wolfaardt anytime, or call 082 378 5072 from 1 November between 6-8pm. First six paid up applicants only (price TBC). Co-convenor Jenni Fitzell.

    Saturday, November 27
    (Outreach) END OF YEAR OUTING: NEWLANDS FOREST (early due to school holidays). Please volunteer to help with the day's activities, hikes and preparing the food. Convenor: Urs Huber (H) 021 559 7947 or 084 713 5545.

    Source: Mountain Club South Africa (Explore - Discover - Protect - Connect) 


    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Crime Warning Table Mountain

    Warning from the mountain rescue crew: 

    The latest crime hotspots for hikers and riders in Cape Town are 

    • Cecila forest. 

    There is probably more than one gang operating at the moment. There are also isolated incidents of muggings on the cycle ...tracks on the slopes of Devil's Peak.

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Full Moon Hiking at Dirtopia

    Looking good. I have always wanted to go on this hike, but never get to it.  Its a windless day, so it should be a good hike tonight.  Note to self: no drinking when hiking in the dark. Remember to take Petzl and coffee flask, warm gear (beani and dress in layers)!

    Will try to document it for the blog too.  Ed.

    PS: Happy booking your U2 Tickets in the mean time :)

    Our next Hi-Tec Full Moon Hike will be on the 23rd of October (details attached and below) with panoramic views from Klapmutskop, it promises to be a night to remember….

    If you would like to making a booking please send us a mail!

    See you there!

    Warm regards,
    -discover the soul of mountain biking- " uh, and hiking!, Ed. :) "
    Tel:     021 884 4752
    Fax:    086 614 2808

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Full Moon. Where to go...

    Full Moon Calendar

    1 & 31
    December2 & 31

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Hiking Trails Jonkers Hoek

    Jonkershoek Plantation is situated just outside the very scenic town of Stellenbosch.  We decided to do the easier route on this day, called 'Tweede Waterval'. 

    The whole route was about 6km there and back.

    Getting there:  pay a nominal entrance fee at the gate and drive your car in for about 5km.  The start of the walk starts at the furthest point of this circular jeep track around the lake.  Park your car there and follow the signs.

    The walk if fairly flat, easy and very traightforward.  As soon as you get to the point indicated in the image below, you will start climbing towards the gorge.  This is where the path gets a bit haizy and one can often assume the route stops somewhere here...

    continue to follow the path downwards into the valley by the stream.  Cross over the stream and continue to follow the path up towards the 'look out' point.

    This is where we decided to rather follow our noses and head upstream into the valley.  At first it looked impossible, so we decided to walk in the river path for as far as we can.  This turned out the become a beautiful discovery for everyone...

    being able to walk right to the waterfall was such a peaceful experience...

    ... always taking pictures :)

    after spending about an hour inside the river, having a lunch break, we headed back under the now very hot sun, 3km to our cars.

    I forgot to load this walk on my blog. and am a little rusty on the details.  Its given me a reason to just have to go back here again.... but its dedicated by Al to his brother Russle.

    Dont ever forget to stop and appreciate the wild animals roaming freely all over the place!

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Wolfberg Cracks - Part 1: Getting there

    Hiking Trail: Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch
    Name of Reserve / Area: Private Property, Cederberg,
    Nearest Town/s: Clanwilliam via N7, or Ceres via N1
    Province: Western Cape
    Country: South Africa

    Duration of hike: 8 hours

    Directions to get there: It took us 3 hours from Cape Town, but we also were stuck in the peak hour traffic at 16h00 for an hour, so it took us 4 long hours to get there.

    From Cape Town CBD, take the N1 towards Paarl. Take the turnoff towards Wellington, and pass through it and follow the R44.  Pass the Voelvlei Dam on your right and continue until the road makes a 3way junction. Turn right at the junction towards Ceres (and not Tulbach). Follow the road to Ceres.  Once you get into the small town of Ceres, turn left at the second set of traffic lights.  Pass through Prince Alfred's Hamlet.
     As soon as you have driven through PA Hamlet, you will head up onto the Gydo Pass, which then takes you to an even smaller town called Op Die Berg (in an area also known as Die Koue Bokkeveld). Continue on the R303 and soon just outside Oppi Berg, you need to turn right at the Cederberg Sign
     A 17km tarred road will take you onto a gravel road.  From here you need to keep left and follow the Oasis signs for 48km to your over night destination called Oasis.

    The following morning we had a scrumptious breakfast, bacon, eggs, toast and a good cuppa coffee to get us going.  This farm kitchen is filled with character and definitely worth a visit.
    Gerrit was ready to personally draw up the map of our planned route for the day.  This was 2 A4 pages of pure mapping on both sides.  We held on to this map like never before.  And oh boy, did this map help us enjoy our journey just that much more.  Thanks Gerrit!
     With your back to Oasis, you follow the road to the right for about 6.5km and turn left at the Clan William sign.

    ...3km further is where you pass the sign for Stadsaal Caves and Rock Art.
    Drive for another 3km where the road forkes left to Krom Rivier.  Dont turn left here, but take the right more obvious main road and drive for 5km to the Sanddrif Wine Farm.  This is where we stocked up on necessities (like Cederburg Cabernet) and our permits for the hike.

    After leaving Sanddrif main house, turn left towards another Sanddrif sign.  The road drives down into the valley through a few cottages and soon you will cross a low water bridge.  After the bridge take a sharp right.  The road splits into 3. Take the left fork, drive pass more cottages and what seemed like a stunning and very popular camping ground. The road forkes again, take the left fork upwards until you reach the gate.  Enter in your code and drive through to the furthest end where you can park your car and start the walk.

    Contact Information:
    We stayed at the Oasis Bed and Breakfast.
    23. 33. 20. 21 S
    19. 21. 55. 31 E
    Tel: +27 27 482 2819

    The owners were extremely friendly and welcoming.  Once you get there, you feel a very welcome vibe.  The visitors seem like regulars, and the place was packed to the brim with tents and the rooms were all fully booked.

    Our room did not have an on-suite shower, but we were lucky to have the loo next door to it and a small area on the balcony to make our fire to cook our food on.

    Cost was R120pppd, and breakfast was an added R40pp, but comes highly recommended before a journey like the one we were about to tackle.

    Best time of year to go: .
    April (its coming to the end of summer) and September (just after winter, and flowers everywhere)

    What costs did you incur to do this hike:
    Accomodation: R120pppd
    Breakfast: R40pp
    Permit for Cracks: R25pp
    Permit for Arch: R25pp

    How safe is it: There is no crime here.

    Fresh Water: None. Take at least 3 liters per person if you are going to the Wolfberg Arch.

    Difficulty: Very easy climb to the top, but its a long hike. Tricky to know where exactly to go, but with good guidance from our host at Oasis (Gerrit), we headed for the hills with confidence.

    It took us about 1h30 to get to the top of the cracks.
    Then another 1h30min inside the cracks,
    30min coffee break
    and then an 1h30min to walk to the Arch.
    30min at the Arch,
    1h30min to walk back,
    and 1h30min to get back down.
    Total walking time of about 8 hours...

    Pets: No pets allowed, environment is very harsh.

    How will I rate this hike? Best hike Ive done so far in my life.  Loved it.

    The rest of this hike is documented under the Wolfberg Cracks link.  I hope you enjoy reading this hike as much as we enjoyed doing it.  Or just scroll down for Parts 2,3,4 & 5.

    We can not wait to go back here again, and hopefully take a group of people with us next time.

    Wolfberg Cracks - Part 2: Finding the Crack

    Panorama of Sanddrif Valley.
    (Click on images for enlargement
    all images by Alex Aitkenhead)

    To get to this part of the hike, we drove for 4 hours from Cape Town, and spent the night at Oasis Bed and Breakfast.  Then we drove another 22km to get our permits at Sanddrif Wine Farm, and our final 2km to get to the parking area and the start of this route.

    I had been waiting for 2 years to do this route.  There was always something that stopped me from doing it. Alex and I were both very excited to finally get here and start the trek up this gauntlet.

    This part of the route is fairly simple:  Follow the path to the top.

    It was not long before our car became a small speck in the car park below.

    After walking for 45 minutes, you will reach this massive square rock.  This marks the halfway spot in your up route in terms of time.

    The tricky part of the route starts here.  I have marked the rocks in the picture below to help you should you wish to follow this route yourself.
    1,2,3 are bolders that have rolled down and blocked the path up.  This is where you need to find your way around the right of boulder 3 and get to the back of it and aim in the direction of point 4 behind it.
    (Note: if you pass the left of boulder no.1,  you can also climb up the easy route to the top (follow the sign).  This is not recommended, as you will be missing out on the most special part of this route). 
    4. Here you are faced with a 2.5m (90 degree) climb onto the ledge leading to point 5.  But first get yourself to point 4.

    Once you have reached point 4. A short scramble to the top will take you onto a easy ledge.

    Follow the ledge to the end, turn left at the end.  Be careful as there is one section where the ledge is not wider than an A4 size paper.  It gets better immediately after this point.

    A short scramble will take you to a massive arch in front of you.  Once you reach the arch, scramble between the rocks marked 1 & 2 into a beautiful rock-filled amphitheater.

    In the picture below, the amphitheater is show to be about 20m in width.  Scramble over the rocks, directly across and opposite the arch.  Do not take the more obvious (but not easy) route to your right (more or less where the people are standing in the picture).  Rather walk across in the direction of where this photo was taken from.  Im sorry to not have taken a picture of this, but for now this is the best that I can do here.

    You will be walking towards a massive rock cave, seen in the image below.

    Above pic sourced from

    Enter this cave on its left side.  Its a tight squeeze for 6m of darkness.  But you are able to see the light on the other end, the moment you enter the cave.  Be careful, and best to switch on your petzl lamp on this tiny part of the route.

    The next section of this route took us into the most beautiful rock formation hidden deep into this mountain.

    Wolfberg Cracks - Part 3: Adventures inside the Crack

    The fun began here.  Entering this passage was the start of a 200m adventure into the mountain.

    This is a dark narrow passage of about 6m long.

    The other side of the passage brings you to a sandy spot where the party can re-group before the next adventure.  Make sure you bring your Fisheye lense- if you have one!  (We forgot ours at home, so its another reason for us to just have to come back here again) - jeay!

    venture around as much as possible and enjoy the moment for what it has to offer. stop somewhere here and have lunch, and give yourself time to really look around.

    to get to the next level, keep to the right of the crack...

    crawl under this large rock to the next section of the passage...

    The arches and rock formations are like some of my friends would say: "to die for darlin'!"

    The chief happy snapper taking a break ...  (he was fired from all and any navigational duties, but he is still allowed to take snaps) ~ LOL

    Soon the crack is split into 2.  This is where you must take the left passage at this section as seen in the pic below.

    Alex, the love of my life,  doing what he loves doing :)

    The passage is very long and becomes narrower as you walk into it.

    Once you reach what seems to be a dead end, don't despair.  But its a tricky 2m scramble to the top of this rock.  This is a link to an image of an easy way to get up.

    Once you have reached the top of this rock, after 5m you will notice your last obstacle before you exit this crack.  Its a trapped rock.  You need to lie on your back, and go head first into the hole.  Its the only way you will be able to get your body out on the other side.  See the graphic of the image below on how to do this.

    This lady is about to get through this trapped rock.  Its very easy and thousands before you have done it already.  So don't be afraid.  Leave your city fears behind you and Just Do It!

    Within 2 minutes of walking you reach the top of this crack.

    In the image below I looked back into the crack.  All you can see from here is the thin and narrow split in the mountain ...

    Find a spot to enjoy the view and have a quick coffee break before you head off to your next adventure.

    From here you have 2 choices:
    1. Go back down.  (We came from the crack behind me to my right. The way down is the bushy patch on my left.) 1h30min to get back down.
    2. Follow the clearly marked path to the Wolfberg Arch.  Please see Wolfberg Cracks: Part 4.  3 hours needed for this section to get back here.

    New to reading blogs?

    I have heard so many people saying they are new to reading blogs. Here is the 'low down' of what you need to do:

    1. The blog is written in date order. Latest posts are at the top and older posts below them. Older posts have a link to them - find the link if you scroll right to the bottom of this screen - see Older Posts.
    2. Click on the post header if you wish to make comments below the articles. Comments are most welcome :)
    3. I blog our hikes to help other people find nice hiking routes, but also because we love taking pictures on our hikes.
    4. On the right column are images of some of the hikes we have done so far. Click on the images to read about those hikes.
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    Thanks for reading my blog and hope you enjoy the read.

    There is an old saying...

    The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.