This is a most pleasant “beginners” hike, about 15 km each day, mostly flat circular route. Farmer and owner Stephaan Jordaan takes great pride in this trail and the surrounding fauna, flora and rich history of the area.
Stephaan is also somewhat of a geologist and can explain all the land formations of the various valleys and mountains, including the mighty Matroosberg of this region.
One can start day one (the Friday) with a good 5km walk to the first night’s overnight stay at “Scooby-Doo”…avoid taking the wrong turn-off like we did first time around on this hike ending up at day 2’s overnight! Last time the farmer took as straight to Scooby Doo in his 4×4 – terrain too rough for a normal vehicle. The accommodation consists of an old ammunition bunker used in the civil war! Double bunks with mattresses and drinking water are provided. The Loo is a very quaint long-drop with a hornet’s nest to keep you company, yet, not at all unpleasant.
We start walking on Saturday morning after another, very informative, lecture from the farmer. We are now geared to look out for interesting indigenous floor cover. We walk around the berg and along a ridge overlooking the whole de Doorn’s valley. Breathtaking views, ideal photo spots. Down another dry river-bed and up onto another “mountianette”…beautiful rock formations. Eventually one reaches the railway accident memorial. A number of soldiers died on route to battle in a de-railed train on this sharp bend. The remainder of the route follows the railway track to the next overnight stop at Die Tonnel.
Die Tonnel is the stop before the “tunnel” – the first man built tunnel of its nature in SA. Here is an interesting camp site in the middle of the semi-desert
Believe it or not — here is a swimming pool – yet always half full as a result of the scarsity of water. Here are also various encampments with animals including zebra, donkeys, springbuck and tortoises. Luxury “open-air” bathrooms consist of flush toilets and hot showers (gas) enclosed by bamboo. Heaven!
Recently Stephaan has built a Wendy house, sleeping 4 with extra mattresses and pitched tents outside for the remaining hikers. Die Tonnel has an amazing Volley ball court. Players must just be willing to “dodge” the Springbuck coming in to camp later the afternoon. Previously we were more taxed form the games played than the actual hike! Loads of fun!
The last day’s walk consists of walking mostly along the railway track and past the newly built dam and holiday resort to the start at Die Padstal (where you part your vehicle) a few kilometers out of De Doorns. On our last trip a heavy storm broke out the Saturday night — leaving our tents totally blown to pieces! We all cuddled up in the Wendy house praying for the storm to subside! The next morning, the farmer and his wife “rescued” us in their 4×4 combi’s…ever patiently describing the landscape and history. The highlight of this hike is certainly the “walking through the Tunnel” where thousands of bats reside – makes for some spectacular photos!
Finally, a lovely breakfast or lunch at Die Padstal is recommended. Buy some wine and something from the “platteland” for those at home and off we go – ready again to face the concrete jungle!
Until the next hike…
|Botterboom, de Doorns|
|Cell no||Stephaan Jordaan 0834491940||Click here|
|Fax||023 354 8268||Website||Click here|
|Nearest Town||de Doorns||Max Persons|
|Distance from Town||4km, 5mins||Overnight Shelter||Yes, for two nights|
|Map to start of hike||Starts at Veldskoen “padstal“
|No of days||Two and a half, the first 1⁄2 day being very short||Trail Type||Circular|
|Tips and things to do|