I was invited along on this hike by a group of very “festive hikers”. By festive i mean, its more about partying than about hiking. I had my fears , but after some thought I said “what the hell, how bad can it really get.”
One thing that I have learnt over the years is that if commit to a group of festive hikers, there is absolutely no way that you will be leaving early the next morning to the start of the hike. No , one MUST sleep over the previous evening, as to get into the spirit (spirits) of things. Knowing this I still agreed.
As with all festive hikers one ALWAYS has to stop/meet at the pub/hotel, and what a pleasant surprise Greytons hotel was on a very nippy winters evening. A warm log fire greets you as you enter the pub with many other quaint paraphernalia on the walls and display cabinets. This is also the pub where the very popular advert “give that man a Bells” advert was made.
After a heart warming sherry or two we started relaxing , but at the same time I was starting to get worried, for as we know, festive hikers have no end.
Fortunately my escape came quite quick as one of the girls mentioned her hunger pangs. This almost sparked of a riot amongst the women and of course I immediately offered to accompany them to our overnight accommodation and to start the fire.
We had two choices to choose from for our overnight accommodation, (excluding guest houses, but festive hikers don’t do that) the first being Greyton camp site, but this was quickly out voted, citing reasons like cold etc. Secretly I think this hiking party preferred a little luxury, but in the end we landed up at Greytons Zebra Moon Backpackers Lodge.
Zebra Moon is an old school converted into a backpackers situated on the edge of town.There are a few options to choose from concerning your sleeping arrangements, and it is best you enquire at management about this.
The guys at Zebra Moon was really helpful, and our wheelbarrow (which was not enough) of wood was already neatly parked next to the fireplace outside. Soon the fire was roaring, and a long while later the others finally joined us. It suddenly dawned on me that everyone was wearing their extreme party hats. This was going to be a long evening.
Before I knew it , I was gently relieved of my braaing duties even though the coals was begging for the meat, and only very much later did we finally eat. By now I was dreading the next day.
Midnight was approaching at lightning speed and the cold was getting unbearable. All I wanted was some sleep. I could actually hear my tiny bed begging me to lay my weary butt down in it. Aha, not so simple, first a nightcap or three had to be had before everyone finally had enough. Blissful sleep finally flooded my weary body.
About three seconds later i was awakened. It took me a while to register, and i couldn’t believe it, these guys were actually getting ready for the new day, with only having what felt like three seconds sleep for the night. And to top if all, one or two of these festive hikers first had to have a “kopskieter” before their feet actually touched the ground. Whoooaa.
What felt like many hours later, we finally got to the start of the hike at the edge of town, and this is where we met our first challenge of the day, crossing the river. This is normally not much of a challenge, but this day was laced with hurdles, and needless to say someone landed up in the drink. I am not sure if this was due to the previous evenings festivities, or a genuine slip, but lets give this lady the benefit of the doubt. I have actually seen more than one person slip and fall into the drink.
As if this was not enough the next hour and a half we spent looking for the start of the hike. The hike is actually quite clearly marked, all one has to do is follow the signs. Simple.
|Tel no||023 6251735||G.P.S.||–34.041578,19.61994|
|Nearest Town||Greyton||Max Persons|
|Distance from Town||End of town||Overnight Shelter||Yes, one can arrange a different size hut according to your group size|
|Map to start of hike||View Map||Brochure|
|No of days||2||Trail Type||Circular, but you walk back the same route.|
Camping: Ph Greyton Municipality /Info – Overberg (028) 254 9620
|Tips and things to do|
As I did this hike many years back, I vaguely remembered a jeep track winding its way up a rather rude uphill just after crossing the river. The rude uphill is still there, but i think somewhere over the years someone actually piled more rubble onto the hill. I just could not remember it being this STEEP and this LONG!
Thankfully, after a half an eternity the hill finally came to an end. This is also where “Breakfast Rock” is and it went without saying that this was definitely going to be a place to the rest the weary legs (and heads).
Even though we were at breakfast rock , it did not look like anyone was much in the mood for breakfast. Most of our group was just lying around, trying to nibble on a chocolate. One of the ladies must have dropped a chocolate or something in one of the bushes of in the distance, as I could see her bent over looking for it. I never actually asked her if she found it.
With breakfast (which was almost lunch) finally out if the way, we groaned to an upright position and slowly started to plod along. No one seemed very much in the mood for this.
A short while later we came to the end of the jeep track, and one is rewarded with a breath-taking view of the kloof and what is left to walk till the end of the hike. You can actually see the the tall blue gum trees where you are going to sleep under at end of the hike approximately 8km off. When I pointed this out to our group, I could actually feel their weary bodies protesting. We were halfway and we might as well finish. How much harder could it get?
The spectacular scenery through the kloof definitely seemed to have a positive effect on everyone’s spirits as some of the hikers actually started pointing out the waterfalls and more of the scenery. Things were finally starting to look better, and we knew our lunch spot above a fast flowing waterfall also was not to far of.
In summer the waterfall is a great place to spend an hour or two at, as there is a huge swim hole just below the waterfall, but it was way to cold to even contemplate swimming. Even if it were the height of summer, I don’t think anyone would have had the energy to swim anyway. We all agreed the next time we walked this we will without a doubt spend some time here.
Once again protesting bodies were brought to its feet and on we trudged and the “hill” and trees we saw from a distance started looming over us. No doubt things were going to turn ugly soon again. My thoughts were not even vapour yet and I realised how quickly and how far we had spread out. We had to regroup, as some of the ladies were starting to take serious strain, but what amazed me was the fact that the whole time they had a smile on their faces. I was expecting to hear some very heavy expletives, as I have heard more than once before, but all I heard was some heavy breathing as we slowly neared the summit of this “little bump”.
Once you get to the top of the bump and you are tired and think that you cannot go on anymore you will see a beautiful big house perched on the edge of the cliff. Don’t get to excited, this is not your overnight accommodation. Carry on with the road towards the blue gum trees that you saw for the first time a couple of hours earlier. This is your overnight accommodation.
Our accommodation sported beds with matrasses, flush toilet, hot shower, two plate stove , fridge and cups glasses cutlery etc. No one would by any means call this five star, but in hiking terms this was far more than expected. No one even bothered to look around and the only thing on everyone’s mind was to dive for a bed. As I lay there I wondered have many other tired, smelly sweaty bodies have lay on this mattress over the years.
Our hut had a built in braai, and as I expected there was small mountain of wood waiting to turn our steaks into something mouth watering. It did not surprise me at all when one of the lady hikers pulled out of her bag a steak so big, it resembled a small cow. That steak could have fed a small country somewhere in Africa. She probably also had the heaviest bag of all of us. I was even to afraid to help her lift the bag onto her back, just in case I could not manage. I have learnt over time it is best not to go some places, and her bag was one of those places.
What did surprise me was that as soon as everyone ate, they all headed for bed. And this was before 22H00! The previous evenings antics definitely took a toll on these festive hikers.
We woke up to a fairly miserable , gloomy and overcast day two, but I cannot say the same for the mood of these festive hikers. They were up and about early and you could actually see a spring in their step. What a contrast from the previous day.
As with the previous day you are faced with a choice of which route you want take. Their is the historic pass route and the scenic route. As we did the historic route the pervious day we opted for the scenic way back down into the kloof. On the way up we suggest you take the historic route. Although it is quite a bit steeper than the scenic route, it defnitely feels shorter.
Other than a bit of rain the walk back was quite uneventful. The previous day we walked for almost eight hours and our hike back took just over four hours. I also have to point out that the walk back to Greyton is mostly downhill and of course the lads and lasses were much “fresher” than the previous day.
Will I do this hike again? Yes , but in summer this is going to be a lot harder with the sun baking down on you in this tight kloof and water being available at only one or two places. The only thing that I would like to change about this hike if I could is the route back. It is a little disappointing walking the same route two days in a row.