A cloudy start to a walk along the Pipe track, Table Mountain – 6th Jan 2018

Despite feeling queasy the day before due to a stomach virus, I felt the strength to participate in a planned walk along the Pipe Track, Table Mountain below Twelve Apostles, which follows the Atlantic shoreline on Camps Bay. Whilst the path itself does not involve any ascent to the summit of the mountain, access routes en route include Diagonal, Kasteelspoort and Woody Ravine. Contrary to what one might imagine, the path is not entirely flat, rising gradually as on heads towatds Bakoven; nevertheless, it’s pretty straightforward and easy. Ideal conditions greeted us at the outset of the walk, despite the low cloud shrouding much of the landscape.

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Silvermine Nature Reserve – a tale of new and broken boots – 30th Dec 2017

Inspired by our walk via Constantia Nek a few days earlier, my eldest brother, Ed, dispensed with the greenbacks to invest in a new pair of boots for our subsequent outing in Silvermine Nature Reserve. Owing to temperatures expected to be in the 30’s, we agreed to make an earlier start. My usual route for many years was a walk to Elephants Eye below Constantiaberg, on the edge of Silvermine however with this route shut after fires had rendered it potentially dangerous, other options were now on the table. The area is a significant conservation area for the indigenous fynbos vegetation.

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My brothers join me for a jaunt up Table Mountain – 26th Dec 2017

Walks up Table Mountain at the height of summer under the African sun are particularly difficult to pick out when the participants happen to be two of my elder brothers, one in his mid 70’s and the other on the cusp.
It’s not that I think that such walks are beyond them; it’s simply that I have to bear in mind that they are not regular hikers like me. One has had an operation just recently yet I need to pinch myself to remember this. There’s no point dragging them up the most challenging route the mountain has to offer.
It was probably for pragmatic reasons that I chose a path walked just two weeks ago just after my arrival in Cape Town on holiday, along the jeep track from Constantia Nek.
Accompanying me were Edward and John, along with brother-in-law Horst-Werner Boehmcker, recently retired from BMW in Munich. Brother Gordon was not able to join us.
It was perhaps a blessing that a fair wind was up by the time we set off at around 9h00 as this had died down by the time we headed back. I was proud that they both made it to the top, an overall climb of some 800 metres. We reached Woodhead Reservoir where we indulged in the sandwiches I had prepared for the outing. All marvelled at the sheer splendour of the mountain landscape, vegetation and views.
Unwinding with a beer at the Constantia Nek restaurant proved a fitting end to a memorable day.

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Table Mountain via Hout Bay – 22nd Dec 2017

Today’s walk in the Cape Peninsula on Table Mountain, just off the road between Hout Bay and Llandudno, behind the Ruyterwacht Estate. Previously, it’s a route I’ve always descended after first walking up the valley from Hout Bay towards Constantia Mel and then navigating up the Myburgh Ravine waterfall, with a bit of a scramble on the upper section to emerge at the very top into more exposed landscape.
But back to the present. Recent fires higher up the mountain at this corner above the block house and along Twelve Apostles towards Bakoven meant that I couldn’t actually find the route to the very top and had to turn back. Upon returning to my car, I encountered an English couple who had a similar experience. It was a frustrating climb but rewarding nonetheless.

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Rhodes Memorial blockhouse and Contour Path walk – 12th Dec 2017

Another super walk today with an unexpected twist. Set off from Rhodes Memorial car park towards the block house below Devils Peak, a remote spot with a reputation for muggings, if what an elderly hiker said as she passed me by was anything to go by.
As I approached the hill I saw a van parked nearby and three women sitting on camping chairs being served by a guy wearing an apron. “Would you like to try some wine”, he said. “We’ve been waiting for you”, they added, in reference to the possibility of some hiker passing them by. A snack comprising a slice of baguette topped with cheese and biltong was being offered and before I knew it, my glass was being refilled. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I’d unintentionally gate-crashed an official Table Mountain wine tasting safari organisdd by Durbanville Hills. Not wishing to overstay my welcome, I bade the jovial hosts goodbye and set off along the contour path hugging Table Mountain, towards Newlands, where I descended to a lower jeep track back to Rhodes Memorial car park.

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Table Mountain walk via Constantia Nek jeep track – 11th Dec 2017

Gorgeous walk today along the jeep track from Constantia Nek corner to the reservoirs on Table Mountain. Views across the southern suburbs of Cape Town and across False Bay. The Cape Floristic Region is an area of extraordinarily high diversity and is home to over 9,000 vascular plant species, of which 69 percent are endemic.

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