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Sleeping beauty

SLEEP­ING BEAUTY HIKERIVERS­DALE After many years of plan­ning to, but never get­ting around to doing this hike – we have finally done it! For those who do not know, this hike is named after the moun­tain range actu­ally look­ing like sleep­ing beauty lying on her back, asleep. Rest assured – she does not feel asleep at all when you are climb­ing her neck! We did not attempt the addi­tional 3km (up and down) to the top of her head…you are wel­come to.

I was sur­prised to see how lit­tle there is to read about this beau­ti­ful hike. Maybe because this hike is still run by the Munic­i­pal­ity (Rivers­dale) as many hikes have been run­ning before, now falling under Cape Nature Con­ser­va­tion. There are basi­cally three routes or means of com­plet­ing this hike. There are two main paths being Rooi­wa­ter­bergspruit (West) and Kristalk­loof (East). One could com­plete the entire hike in four days start­ing South (at The Kor­rente­val­leriv­ier Dam), up to Rooi­wa­ter­pruit over night shel­ter –9km– (at the water­falls), sec­ond night sleep at The Toll­huis –15.6km. Then walk Kristalk­loof –9km– and sleep at Kruis River and then back to The Toll­huis – 16.5km. One would how­ever need two cars or some­one to drive you back to the start.

The eas­i­est “round trip” route would be to start at The Toll­huis (one can sleep there if dri­ving from Cape Town) and then go East — into Kristalk­loof – sleep at Kruis River shel­ter (9km) and then walk back to The Toll­huis (16.5km). I do not know what the shel­ter is like here – I think you have to carry your own mat­tress to this shel­ter. The route we took, as we had friends liv­ing in Rivers­dale, were able to drop us off and take our vehi­cle to the end, was as fol­lows – we started at The Toll­huis (on Gar­cia Pass) and started walk­ing West on the Sleep­ing Beauty /​Rooi­wa­ter­bergspruit route. We slept at the “water­fall” (15.6km) and ended (South) at the Kor­rente­val­leriv­ier Dam (9km).

The first sec­tion eases you into the beau­ti­ful fyn­bos to a water point at around 2km. Fill up the bot­tles here – long way before next water. Then we slowly climbed “Nekkie”. We would call this a very “onn­odige” (unnec­es­sary) climb with zig-​zags seem­ing end­less. This took us most part of the morn­ing to reach the top of the “neck” of Sleep­ing Beauty. Once you are on top you have a stun­ning view of her sleep­ing face and the option to climb the head.

From here one walks on a con­tour path wind­ing along the moun­tain range (Oom Boet’s Road) with a slight incline. The path is on the shady side of the moun­tain caus­ing the path to be slip­pery and some­times washed away to a steep decline to the left. One has to con­cen­trate and all in our group had a lit­tle tum­ble here at some point – thank­fully with no injuries. Once on top, the range opens to the most beau­ti­ful Pro­tea pin cush­ion type fields. The sight is spec­tac­u­lar. The road winds down to the Stinkhout­bos with a beau­ti­ful river and rest spot. From here it is about 4 easy kilo­me­ters to the house which can be seen from the top of the moun­tain as you round the bend. Be care­ful not to miss the turn-​off (right) to the huts as you go down the moun­tain. The route is over­grown and mark­ings non-​existent.

The shel­ter is much more than we expected with a fire­place inside, 8 bed bunks and new mat­tresses! The river flow­ing right past the house down to a water­fall is amaz­ing and we all had a bath in this cold water. And yes – the water is reddish-​brown but beau­ti­ful to drink. Unfor­tu­nately there is no toi­let or long-​drop so remem­ber to take along a small spade. We braaied out­side and found 2 black scor­pi­ons so we all “watched our step”.

The next morn­ing we missed the route tak­ing us South to our des­ti­na­tion (no mark­ings on the route) and ended up walk­ing east all the way to the Kor­rente River. This was how­ever a pleas­ant de-​tour with the most amaz­ing mossy river bum-​slide and pool. The boys imme­di­ately cashed-​in on our for­tune and the cam­eras were flash­ing. From here it is an easy walk via the plan­ta­tion to the dam.

Our friends how­ever, parked the car on the other side of the dam (and not on the allo­cated area as marked on the map) with the result that we sent the guys to walk all way around the (big) dam to get the vehi­cle while the ladies had a leisurely “cool-​off” time. By the way, this was the first hike ever for me where the girls out­num­bered the guys!

Will I do this hike again? Yes! It is just a lit­tle far from CT for a clear week­end hike but I would like to try the 4 day walk on some extended long-​weekend. We had a begin­ner on this hike and she pretty much summed hik­ing up as fol­lows: “This is the most amaz­ing expe­ri­ence I have ever had in my entire life!”

THINGS TO REMEM­BER: This hike is not very well marked and has not had main­te­nance done to the trail in some time. Be sure to hike with expe­ri­enced hik­ers. Take some re-​hydrate and carry lots of water if you want to (again) obtain your PhD in wine drink­ing the night before the hike. The sun is hot here. Switch on your “Rhino-​mode” (4×4) to get through some nasty bushes at times. Wear a long (light) pants – the bushes and thorn-​like shrubs are harsh on the shins. Enjoy our Beau­ti­ful Cape! WHO TO CON­TACT TO BOOK THIS HIKE: Rivers­dale Munic­i­pal­ity – ask for Juanita or Isadore at 028-​7132418 (They are based at Takkieskloof Camp Site). On arrival, we stayed at Bertie Fiet’s beau­ti­ful farm (Oak­dale Accom­mo­da­tion) on Gar­cia Pass, Rivers­dale. PH 082 377 2213. Bertie will be will­ing to trans­port hik­ers to and from start/​end points if needed.

shalom_thumbShalom Coet­zee:

Next time I will walk in long pants. The unkept paths were tor­ture on my legs. I will also walk in proper shoes and not half bro­ken takkies!

Best part was the sec­tion after Nekkie with the nar­row path and sheer drop to the left. The Kloof and plants are paradise!

I am a first time hiker – the whole hike was cool.

wendy_thumbWendy Kuyk:

I liked the Pro­tea dis­play and except for Neckie the hike was actu­ally a rel­a­tively straight for­ward walk. Yes the lack of mark­ings can add some fear fac­tor to an inex­pe­ri­enced hiker like me. Do it again — yes.

helga_thumbHelga says:

I never travel with­out my down sleep­ing bag – I am ter­ri­fied of get­ting cold. I enjoyed the bath in the pools at the hut – hope to get there ear­lier next time to enjoy a longer swim!

Sleep­ing Beauty, Riversdale
Con­tact Details
Tel no 0287132418 G.P.S. 33.953417,21.225736
Cell no Email
Fax Web­site
Hike Details
Near­est Town Rivers­dale Max Per­sons
Dis­tance from Town 19km ‚18 mins Overnight Shel­ter Yes, very basic
Map to start of hike View Map Brochure
No of days Two Trail Type Lin­ear
Tips and things to do

These tips will prob­a­bly apply to many camp sites, but this is what we thought should not be forgotten

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