It was almost a year ago to the day that I last did the walk from the car park at Rhodes Memorial at the base of Devils Peak, to Kings Blockhouse and along the contour path towards Kirstenbosch. On this occasion however, I had invited my brothers John and Edward (accompanied by his wife Elna), and John’s brother-in-law, Horst. The initial ascent to the blockhouse is quite a steep one and Ed repeatedly asked me when we would get there, complaining that I had claimed that it was intended to be a relatively easy walk. To be fair, my brothers are not seasoned hikers, coupled with the fact that I have a 10-15 year age advantage. Nevertheless, once we had reached the gate at the top of the climb with the bonus of spectucular views across the southern suburbs of Cape Town, the Cape Flats, False Bay and the Hottentots Mountains in the distance, all talk of fatigue, the heat and creaking joints was forgotten.

To view complete text and full photo album – click here.

To continue along the Contour Path, a descent of the jeep track to the stile is required. From here the path enters the forest, the track all but hidden from below, that eventually merges with Newlands Forest. It’s a relatively easy walk with slight rises and descents. Large sections of the path have been covered in carefully constructed decking to protect the path underfoot from corrosion. A pair of dried-up waterfalls appear enroute in the narrow mountain ravines which serve as a steep channels Many are forested orthick with all kinds of thick vegetation, including ferns. Some of these may be accessible but danergous and I’ve never attempted any myself. In fact, it comes as no surprise that they are named First Waterfall Ravine and Second Waterfall Ravine. Large rock or boulders serve as stepping stones, when water is likely to flow down the mountainside in the winter months. A large constructed circular wooden deck serving as a rest stop, complete with seating, was occupied by a larger, relatively noisy group, so we moved on. Who on earth wants to be outdoors but still feel compelled to take along music, rather than enjoy the sights and sounds of the natural world, is beyond me!

We did stop further along for a nibble and a drink at one of the ravines. Ed and Elna always come well prepared, with sandwiches and fresh fruit, generously shared with others. We were well sheltered from the heat, so the walk and the pause was being enjoyed by all.The forest opens up into an exposed section offering views of the suburb of Newlands and its hallowed rugby and cricket grounds. Just after this one passes through a stile and not long after, Newlands Ravine, which I had descended on many occasions from the top of Table Mountain. The Contour Path continues on to Skeleton Gorge above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens but since we still had the return walk to Rhodes Memorial to contend with, I decided on a descent to Newlands Forest.

To view complete text and full photo album – click here.