Search This Blog in the above block
~ 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'

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Karoo National Park Pointer Hiking Trail

Hiking in the Karoo National Park proved to be one not to be missed. Ive been to many parks and hiked all over, this one was lovely. The hike itself was not the best hike Ive ever had, but was absolutely stunning.  The total experience of the Karoo National Park was awesome. This park is very underrated and I think talking about the entire experience as a whole is the only way to go.  I cant cover it all in one post, so the rest of our experience at the KNP, will be published in future posts.

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the N1 for about 460km.  About 2 km before you reach Beaufort West, you will see a sign on your left for the Karoo National Park

Hiking Trail: Pointer Trail
Name of Reserve / Area: Karoo National Park  BIG SKY COUNTRY. Read on to find out why we say so :)

Nearest Town: Beaufort West
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Rising early has never been one of my favourite things to do, but with Boot Camp Al by my side, whilst we are visiting a Sanparks venue, I have little choice but to bear the cold darkness before the sun rise and head for the hills.  Its true, once you are up, its a wonderful time to enjoy the sun rise and the fresh feeling of a new day.  The weather has a end of summer chill in the air, but as that sun rises, oh boy... do you know about it.

In the pic below you will be able to see the camp in the back, as we heading up the hill.  At first we started walking on the 800m Bossie Trail, but soon we realised we were on the wrong route.  The Bossie Trail is very interesting to say the least, as each bush is marked with a number and the guided numbered route has a detailed field guide that explains to one as you follow the path. Since this path was not on our agenda for the time being, we had to back-track through the bush to get onto the path that would guide us to the top of the world.

Duration of hike: 3 hours and the distance was 5.6km.  This trail has the extended option to do the entire contour of this mountain of about 12km, but due to our limited time we chose to do the shorter option.  We headed off into the trail about 6am, but took it rather slow to make sure we absorb and capture everything this route had to offer us.

Our aim was to reach the top of the right peak in the image below. On our way up we caught up with a large group of hikers.  I love finding people on the mountain. 

Soon we were able to see the town of Beaufort West in the far distance.  Beaufort West is the nearest town to the Karoo National Park and also considered the halfway mark for long distance travellers between Gauteng and the Cape Province.  They also have this kick ass little butchery called Groot Marino hidden in the town.  We did a special trip into town to go and find this place.  You know, if the locals recommend it, then you just cant miss out on the opportunity.  The place was ordinarily packed inside.  A queue for the biltong was averaging 15 people constantly, and double that for the fresh meat.  Never in our lives have we had such lekka biltong or the best boeriewors you will ever taste.  Wowee... what a nice treat!  ok, enough about the yummie meat that we could get our hands on, lemme get on with the hike.

Best time of year to go: Well, we went in April. I guess in the Karoo you can expect extreme temperatures both in Winter and Summer.  The weather in April was just perfect!  As we assended, the weather was perfect, but during the descent I really began to feel the Karoo heat.

Once we reached the saddle, the path turned to the right again.  Here we were again spoilt with the views of the vast open plains of the Karoo National Park.

What costs did you incur to do this hike: None to do the hike, but there is a fee for entrace to the park.
Wildcard Holders have all year round free entry to all Sanparks Reserves 086 123 4001

Being ontop of this hill really brought a sense of complete tranquility to me.  I just loved looking down onto the camp and the entire area understand the park a little better.

How safe is it: There is no crime here. One has to keep an eye out for the animals.  We have been warned to stay away from the Black Rhino and the Buffalo if we do come across them.

A coffee break on the best lookout point one can find! The crowd of people continued to walk on and soon we found ourselves completely alone and it felt really like we were ontop of the world.  It was so peaceful here, we just sat on this beautiful rock staring down into the vastness in front of us.

Fresh Water: none. (thats why its also a great idea to take your coffee flask with you too )

Difficulty: Path is well marked with Yellow Paint spots on all the rocks.

I just love this picture of me looking back into the distance as far south as the eye can see.  This view shows you only the 180degree view of a 360 degree that you can see from here.

Heading back down again proved to be beautiful landscapes all the way down.

Pets: Not allowed

As the shadows of the morning get shorter, we get to feel the might of the Karoo heat.

How will I rate this hike?
Once you have traveled all the drivable routes that the park has to offer, you just have to take a climb up this beautiful hill. It was not very high, we started on about 930m above sea-level, but climbed to about 1166m. The total climb was about 240m.  The reception has a map of the route.

The path ends with a short walk in a dry river-bed back to the main camp.

We were happy to do this walk as they will soon be introducing lions to the park in about 3 months from now, then this self guided hiking trail will become a guided hiking trail.  When you reach the top, you can appreciate almost the entire park in a distance.  This walk comes highly recommended to everyone who visits the park.

In the map image below the route is indicated by the yellow dotted line.

An awesome walk in a very beautiful Karoo National Park!

Contact Information:
Reservation Phone: 012 428 9111 Pretoria / 021 422 2816 Cape Town
Main Camp Phone: 023 415 2828

No comments:

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.
5. Subscribe to my newsletter if you wish to get updates of new posts. I will not inundate you with mails - promise.

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.