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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.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Diagonal Route up, Kasteels Poort down

oh I LOVE my new toy that I got for Christmas!

this little genius GPS tells me distances, altitudes and maps the route for me directly onto Google Earth. yes... yes... we all have GPS's in our phones (and up our butts! ...is sometimes how I would prefer to put it), but this one is great because it downloads the data so nicely onto my computer. I just love it. Thanks to my awesome boyfriend, who spoilt me rotten for Christmas :)

ok, so here's the route... and I hope you will also like to follow it one day too!

Hiking Trail: Pipe Track, Diagonal Route, via Porcupine Ravine & Kasteels Poort
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park
Nearest Town: Camps Bay, Cape Town
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

To start off with, the Vertical profile below shows how high we climbed as well as the total distance covered.



Duration of hike: 4 hours, if you stop to take pictures.



it all started at 5am and a very disalusioned sleepy me waiting to for 'the lights to come on' to make my next move - and that is to decide if I want to hike today - or kite (one of my other crazy mad hobbies). After much debate with my other half... especially the fact that we agreed on a 6 a.m'er and not a 5a.m'er as he suggested, we managed to get our butts out of bed and 'head for the hills'! (it looks like a blown-out day today with no waves anyway).

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take Buitengracht Road up towards the Cable Way, at the top of Kloofnek Road, turn left onto Tafelberg Road. Immediately on your right is the parking area for the Pipe Track. Take the steps in the direction of Campsbay, and soon your walk will follow a long narrow path the hugs the mountain towards its more famously known as the 12 Apostles.



Where are we going today? he said to me. So I replied with a very comfortable ... the Pipe Track. Its perfect for when you want to bail out of a planned route, as its long enough for a good walk and short enough if you still want to venture upwards.

Best time of year to go: On a cool cloudy day is always good.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: none

How safe is it: This route is as isolated as the rest of the routes on Table Mountain. Make sure you have some sort of protection on you at all times. We ran into tourists that were totally unprepared for the mountain again.

Today our snacks involved 2 apples, packet of peanuts, some banana bread and 4 sachets of instant cuppachino coffee, 2 litres of water each and a flask of hot water. Alex is not impressed with my choice of nibbles lately... but i have to remind him that we are training to get fit and keep in shape and that these snacks are NOT doing wonders to our waist lines at all.



The image above shows the route along the pipe track, which marks the start and end of this route.

Soon into starting our route we met up with a friendly gentleman and his doggie that he rescued 6 months ago from a local pound. He proceeded to tell us all about the Diagonal Route that we are about to follow.



Pets: Pets are allowed, but please remember that your dog also needs fluids and nutrients when you take them with you. The route is very exposed from the heat of the sun and the rocks get very hot. Ive seen how my own dogs got blisters under their paws from fairly short hikes on hot days, so please take care of them.



Walk along the Pipe Track for 2.5km and turn left by this sign which is the start of your up-climb on the Diagonal Route.



The path will zig-zag almost half way to the top. From here the views of Campsbay and the back of the table are breathtaking. I had to take a few breaks up, but was not half as exhausted as my trip up Platteklip Gorge last weekend.



Difficulty: Easy, very little scrambling, but it was 10km in distance.



Soon you will reach a rock overhang, known as Porcupine Cave. It is not a cave, but a mere rock overhang and a perfect spot for a quick break before you start the next leg of the climb.



Once you have head around the face, the path follows directly over the waterway and up into Porcupine Ravine. Halfway up into Porcupine Ravine, keep your eye out for the clear path heading towards the right. Take this route which is clearly marked by two cairns which are packed on top of the rocks either side of the path.



Now you head in the direction of Barrier Ravine, which also hugs the mountain, until you reach Barrier Ravine.






At the top of Barrier Ravine, we stopped to have well deserve coffee break and picnic.

The banana bread and coffee went down so well. The wind was howling - at least 50km ph - but we managed to get a really awesome spot behind a big rock, with a stunning view of the ocean below. After the apples, nuts and 3 cups of the best Nestle Cuppachino coffee in the whole world, we decided to move on. At the point we made the call that the wind was blowing very strong... in fact too strong to continue our 3km walk to the Cable way (which was closed due to the strong wind), so we decided to rather head towards Kasteels Poort and back down to the Pipe Track.

The path drops over the top and into the Valley of the Red Gods. You could see the Mountain Club huts from here too. Pity we did not spent more time here... but its gonna have to be a definite 'must do' for next time.



I can always count on Alex for finding these stunning Protea's popping up all over the top of the mountain! He was all over the place with his camera. I lost him once, and to my not so surprise, found him up a tree - trying to get to the right angle to get his perfect shot.



This route turned out to be a follow your nose kinda path. Soon after crossing over the top, the path came to a cross road as you head down into this stunning valley of the Red Gods.



Fresh Water: There were small streams at the top, but in summer they could dry out completely.




At the sign - which gave us a choice of left towards Platteklip Gorge (and the Table) and will take about 2 hours to get there, or right towards Kasteels Poort. This is where we decided to take a right onto the boardwalk. Just imagine the expression on my face - when these people walked pass Alex stuck under the boardwalk to get his shot. "eh, ja hey... he is uhm... taking pictures :)" ... which is also part of the reason why I employ him as my chief happy snapper.



The path in the picture below is also known at the Main Road crossing the mountain. It can also clearly be seen in the Google earth image that I attached via my new Garmin GPS which I got from father Christmas last year! what a fun toy to have!



The path ahead of me, is seen in the Google Earth image below as the straight path that marks the point of the Valley of the Red Gods, down towards Kasteels Poort...



Walk about 300m to the next point where the path clearly forks either down towards Kasteels Poort, or can be continued towards the Corridor Ravine and Slangolie Buttress. Here we turned down towards Kasteels Poort to start our descent down table mountain.



A good resting point halfway down Kasteels poort is a beautiful flat rock... pity about the litter bugs and their graffiti that is drawn all over it.



The route down to the Pipe Track took us about 30 minutes.



Shortly before we got to the bottom,we crossed the watercourse of the Valken Buttress. To the left of the Valken Buttress (image below) is Barrier Ravine that we have just hiked through. Nice hey!?



Once you reach the Pipe Track, turn right towards Kloofnek. From here the path takes you 600m to the point where we started out assent into the Diagonal Route. The total distance back to the car is 3km from Kasteels Poort to Kloofnek Road where we parked our car.







How will I rate this hike? We loved this route. It was not difficult to climb and fairly clearly marked out route. The new signage on the mountain is looking very good. My foot was burning underneath from the pain of a car accident a few years ago, but nothing will stop me to come back and do this route again. Today... 1 day later... my legs are super stiff and I know we had a great mind and body work out!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great description!! Keep on trekking!

a Canadian in South Africa said...

We used this guide for a Christmas Day hike. I'm not sure if we took the right route when we were up high in the ravine on the way up (I think we might have missed the route to the right at the cairns), but we still eventually made it up top to the boardwalks. Beautiful day, beautiful hike--thanks for the guide!

Anonymous said...

Definitely going to do this hike after the awesome overview of the trail. Thanks

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