* This article originally appeared here at Castle Free
With a province that provides endless adventure-filled hikes why not take the opportunity to overnight in one of the Western Cape’s wildly beautiful spaces? Here are four of my favourites, catering from the hesitant beginner to ardent mountain junkies.
Cape Point Hike
The Cape of Good Hope Trail is an adventurous way to enjoy the spectacular Cape Point up close and personal. It’s a fairly decent walk at 33 kilometres and requires relatively good fitness. The first day begins at the Cape Point entrance where you can securely leave your car, and from there you wind your way along the Eastern flank of the park. The Rooikrans cottages provide your overnight accommodation. They’re kitted with gas stoves, solar-powered lighting and showers, cutlery and crockery – you just need to bring your own bedding.
On the second day, you wind your way back on the Western flank through fragrant fynbos and private beaches. Don’t forget that you’re in a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the prolific fynbos so take a moment to breathe it in and cheers the proud Mother City heritage. Conclude your hike with a hearty meal at the Two Ocean’s Restaurant – their Pork Belly mains is sure to provide sustenance after a full day’s walking. More details and booking is available at www.sanparks.org.
West Coast Crayfish trail
With its wide-open spaces and wildly attractive beaches, skip the crowds in Cape Town and travel North to the West Coast. The Crayfish Trail offers either a three- or six-day option exploring the landscapes, culture, and food of the West Coast. The beauty of this hike is that not only will you be experiencing pristine beaches, but also that it’s a slackpacking hike, meaning the bulk of your gear is carried for you and dropped off at each night’s accommodation stop.. now I’ll drink to that!
Prices start at R3600pp for the three-day trail, which includes your accommodation, meals, transport of luggage, a local guide, daily activities and reserve entrance. There’s a strong focus on responsible and sustainable tourism – and with the presence of a local guide – it’s also a valuable learning experience. At 23-26kms in total, it’s an easily manageable daily walk with plenty of leisure time to brave a dip in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean and to sample some bokkoms. www.crayfishtrail.co.za
For the die-hard mountain lovers, the Cederberg lies 2-3 hours North of Cape Town and is the ultimate playground for walkers, hikers and climbers. For first time visitors, Cape Nature’s Algeria is a great starting point. The Cederberg Heritage Route offers four overnight guided walking trails, ranging from three to five nights, and start at Algeria. There are several overnight huts but bear in mind they simply provide shelter – bring your sleeping and cooking gear with you.
If you’re not keen on an overnight hike, Algeria has eight comfortable chalets with several short hikes to be enjoyed from your doorstep. My favourite is the 3 hour Waterfall to the spectacular Middelberg Waterfall – take lunch and a few cold ones to enjoy at the waterfall before returning. The nearby Truitjieskraal and Stadsaal caves are definitely worth a drive and exploration. www.capenature.co.za
Greyton to McGregor Hike
If the thought of cresting a mountain range between two scenic towns then look no further than the famous McGregor – Greyton walk. The hike – also known as the Boesmanskloof Trail – is a 14km walk over the Riviersonderend mountains, taking in steep gorges, large rock pools, waterfalls. All the while you’ll be taking in the majestic Overberg landscapes. Choose to do the hike only one way and then overnight in the opposite village, or return the same way back to your cars.
In McGregor Lords Winery offers enticing country meals to weary hikers, along with Temenos is the town itself with beautiful gardens worth exploring. In Greyton, the iconic Post House Hotel stands proudly on the main street, happy to fill the tummies of hungry hikers. Only 50 hikers are permitted to use the trail a day so be sure to book your place in advance through the Greyton Tourism office at firstname.lastname@example.org.