Lets go for a hike, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Mmmm, this is one challenging hike. It is described as a moderate to hard trail on the hike's official website, but maybe I experienced it as difficult as me and my husband were super unprepared. I only took 2 packets of energy sweets and 2 energy bars for my husband AND I. Plus I forgot the Energade-mix on the kitchen table... I am the most unfit I've ever been (Do you also see a New Year's resolution!) and it is hot as hell this time of the year. I felt like passing out most of the time!
But... as they say:
"The steeper the mountian the harder the climb, the better the view from the finishing line."
This hike in the Boesmanskloof circles through probably one of the most beautiful parts of the Western Cape I've ever been. It is green and lush, with the air so clean.
It is a 14km hike, which you can do in a day, starting either in Greyton or McGregor. Remember to organise transport from your end destination if this is your prefered option. We took the alternative and did the "out and back" option, staying the night at Onverwacht Cottages. Onverwacht Cottages, with Eagles Nest, are two very comfortable accommodation options on the trail. The cottages are equipped with everything you can need except food and bedding. Booking ahead is essential!
Our group started the hike at 09:30 on a Saturday..but we suffered from the heat so much that we hit the trail at 06:30 the Sunday. And what a great plan: We only got about 2 hours of mid-day sun, which was much more pleasant compared to Day 1. When planning your trip, it is important to keep in mind that the trail is much more steep from Greyton in McGregor's direction. This made Day 1 of our expedition much more harder than Day 2.
Here are a few reasons you should do this hiking trail:
- It only takes a weekend (if you live in the Western Cape). McGregor is a small town in the mountains roughly 150 km east of Cape Town. It is easy to get there and safe to leave your car at the starting point of the trial. So you can enjoy the exercise and nature with a sound piece of mind.
- Drinking the fresh mountain water from the river (ONLY DRINK FROM MOVING WATER!) and swimming in the pools at the waterfall are an experience.
- There is a great diversity of plant species with many different Fynbos, including Protea. The beauty of the trial, die mountains and the area are breathtaking!
So go on! Get your mates and book the tour. Here are a few hiking tips and things I learnt during our excursion up Boesmanskloof:
- Hike in a group. It is much saver in case of injuries. AND good friends motivate;)
- Drink often to stay hydrated. Luckily there is enough mountain water to drink in case of need,
- Small snacks often will keep your energy level up! Learn from my mistake: Take enough food for you (and your husband!)
- Embrace Leave No Trace ethics - using the open spaces is not a right, its a privilege we need to keep available to others years from now.
- Bring and use sunscreen and a hat to prevent sunburn, even on cloudy or cold days. I still have my ugly ski-pant tan!
- Plan a hike that is suitable for everyone in your party and let the slower person set the pace. Have patience - not everybody will be as fit as you. Go with a group of people who are around you level of fitness if you want to make the hike a marathon.
- Keep a Buff close for a quick wipe of your brow as needed.
- ENJOY the hike and appreciate the scenery and nature. Only a few people on the earth get to experience that part of South Africa.