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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Woodcliffe Trail

Arrived there about 12.15 – 12.30 (875 km’s.) This was when I found out that on the second day, the trail brings you back to the cars so you don’t need to take all your food and drinks with you. After resorting out our bags and listening to the instructions by the owner we set off about 2:00pm. There was a lovely wind blowing which was a life saver as it was blazing hot.

We started walking along a jeep track, we continued along a jeep track and except for about 200m we finished walking along a jeep track. The monotony was broken by crossing three rivers of which I just had to walk through instead of hopping from one stone to another. As the stones were quite far apart I could just see myself falling flat on my face, although considering how extremely hot it was, that might just have been a welcome relief. I love hiking, I really do, but to me there is nothing worse than walking along a jeep track.

The last section – approximately 1km, was extremely steep. Once we had reached the rock with the big ‘CAVE’ sign on it we gratefully departed from the jeep track and made our way to the cave. Unfortunately, although the trail is well marked, there is no footpath which made for difficult going. Upon reaching the cave we sat and put our feet up and relaxed for half an hour before getting our stuff sorted for the evening.

Cave was quite low in places with four rooms built in towards the back and one to the side. There was a braai area in front with a small slab for a table. Wood is provided and there is a long drop further down the mountain although once again there is no path leading towards it which made it difficult. (It was bad enough trying to get there during the day but I would have really hated to go there in the middle of the night). The cave is situated behind a small waterfall from whence you obtain your water. Could be very time consuming and not something I would want to do in winter and you are liable to get very wet in the process.

After supper it was Doreth and Pauline’s turn to wash dishes. I was horrified. I specifically don’t take dishes so I don’t have washing up to do and here everybody takes turn washing dishes which means the following night it would be my turn. It was enough to make me cut and run.

Not sure if I was getting flu or it was my menopausal symptoms rearing its ugly head but I was getting hot and cold flushes all night so was thankful when the sun rose. From being promised that it was going to be a hot, clear day, it was initially very misty and the day remained overcast which, in my opinion, was a good thing. After partaking of a hurried breakfast, trying to dry my socks and then packing we departed for the second day’s trail which was graded as relatively easy. HaHaHaHeeHee.

Back up the ‘path’ which was not a path, down the jeep track for about 600m we than veered off to the left and onto a proper trail. Thank goodness. It was lovely walking midway up the mountain with the river below us and the area was really beautiful. The trail contoured for about 1.5km’s at which time we crossed ‘Skinny Dip’ pool and then we did a steep climb for a short distance. Remember this climb because you will be doing more of them, lots more. We then contoured for quite a distance. Not having hiked much in the last 3 – 4 years and due to menopause, not really enjoying the hikes either – depleted energy levels – it felt really great to be outdoors. To watch the wind chasing the clouds and the grass and flowers dancing to the sound of the wind whistling amongst the trees and boulders. The birds showing off their flying prowess and the gurgling streams. I cannot explain the utter peace and contentment I felt at that time. It was absolute bliss.

And than we started climbing, and we climbed, and we climbed and than we did some more climbing. Very short contours to break the climb and then climbed some more. And then you get to thinking that you can’t climb anymore, you climb some more. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there were actual foot paths that you could follow but you had to make your own path which makes it more difficult. Eventually when you do reach the top you aren’t given much chance walking along the top to enjoy the scenery before the trail takes you down to where you cross a small river. Fortunately we got to contour for a short distance after that major climb before the trail took us straight down. And I don’t mean going down in a zig zag path but straight down on a trail that has no path with sections where erosion has taken place. I found this section to be particularly dangerous and you had to be very careful because one false step and you would go rolling down the mountain. That was an extremely difficult descent and it seemed to take forever. Although it was very beautiful, I don’t think that the beauty warrants the lack of path and the danger.

After eventually reaching the bottom, with our hearts thumping in our chests and our legs feeling like jelly, we contoured for about a kilometer or two, although it felt longer than that, when we, thankfully, came upon the farm house where we had parked the cars and where we were supposed to collect the remainder of the food and drinks we had left behind before heading back to the cave we had slept in the previous night, which meant walking up that horrible jeep track once again.

Not a chance. Not me. No way in hell was I going to go up that jeep track again. I loathe jeep tracks and besides the fact that it would have been my turn to wash the dishes notwithstanding, there was absolutely no way I was going to manage that climb to the cave. Especially as the third day was supposed to be relatively difficult and what we had just done was relatively easy???? Who grades these trails?

Think I need to clarify at this point. I am diabetic and take neither sugar tablets nor insulin but try and keep it under control through diet. Living a relatively sedentary life at home it was quite easy to keep under control, except when somebody offered me a Cadburys chocolate. I originally packed for the Outeniqua Trail but due to circumstances I was unable to do that trail which gave me more time to try and work out a ‘proper’ diet. Although the Outeniqua Trail, including the Harkerville Trail, takes 9 days and the distance per day is longer, apparently the trail itself is classified as average to difficult. What I had packed originally would have been perfect for Woodcliffe but I thought I might have overdone it somewhat and therefore repacked. Not realizing how extremely strenuous Woodcliffe is, I miscalculated somewhat the amount of carbohydrates and fats I needed and therefore found Woodcliffe to be extremely difficult. Add that to the fact that fitness wise I had let myself go over the last 5 years. I think if I had continued the trail it would have been a disaster, for the other hikers at least. I might have no will power but I do have an eternal supply of perseverance so I would have made it – eventually. Think everybody’s tempers would have been extremely short at that time though.

So, there is a distinct possibility that it is not as strenuous as I think it is, therefore I would suggest that you read other's reports, although I do think that it is dangerous in certain places.

As Pauline had originally intended just doing the first two days and from there head on the Ugie to see family, Jenny and I decided that we couldn’t, in all honesty, allow Pauline to run amok in this beautifully stunning area all on her own. Also, as we had so much charm to spare we really needed to spread it around and therefore we elected to go along with her.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How not to hike the Fish River Canyon

I recently did the fish. I can only conclude from what I found that:

1. Many people hiking the Fish are not genuine hikers and should not be allowed there.
2. Many people hiking the Canyon are Pigs.
3. Many people hiking the Canyon are incredibly stupid.

It is only the middle of the 2008 hiking season in the Canyon and already it's foul and extensively littered.
A huge part of that litter is tin foil! Ja, it's lekker to braai every night and then leave your foil in the ashes of your fire. Maybe you really did not notice that the foil had not burnt away to nothing overnight!. But, if by what would be most people's camping spots average their 4th night in the Canyon, one still finds foil in the remains of fires you can only conclude that people are either very unobservant or plain stupid.

Foil does not burn..........neither do foil packages for energy bars and tuna sachets.

In fact, ordinary paper won't burn if placed on cold ashes left over from the night before. And believe it or not, someone had very conscientiously placed their papers on a dead and cold fire. To do what, I wonder.

Some people go through the motions by scraping some sand over their tins, old gas cannisters, styrofoam packaging, plastic bags, etc., etc. Others just couldn't give a 'hoot'......why go to all that bother? They just chuck it all behind a bush.

It's also nice not to extinguish your fire. I came across what had once been a huge log and was now just a line of ash attached to a still smouldering 'stump'. I had camped about 300m from this spot. I know there was nobody there on that night. Conclusion - The wood had been left to smoulder for an entire day. Apart from possible injury to other hikers or animals from the smouldering log, no consideration was given to other hikers later in the season when wood is in short supply and hard to find.

And then there is the toilet are supposed to burn it or at least bury it along with "your business". You are not supposed to leave it artfully strewn about the veldt like some neon flashing sign stating how proud you are that you have successfully mastered the art of 'Shitting in the Woods". If you need to brag about that, well then you are are an amateur.

The kiosk at the cause way was the worst. Here it appeared that 'hikers' were so ecstatic at seeing a building in the wilderness that they just could not control themselves........they just could not wait.......they just had to do their thing right there in the open without delay!!

One person must have really had it bad.......they appear, by the shredded space blanket, bottle of body cream, sun tan lotion and other litter, to have got so excited that they just tipped their whole pack out and left the contents there.

On day 1, I passed a sleeping bag forgotton at a dirty camp site. Are these hikers?

On day 2, I passed a pair of Hi Tech PCT's , left proudly on display so that all could see how this brave person had removed the boot laces but abandoned the boots as the soles had come off. You twat. Don't you know that what you take in must also be taken out - broken or not? And this despite having to fill in a declaration at the Park's Office that you would not litter and despite the big sign in the same regard at the start of the hike.

A really brilliant one was the person who had obviously lost a sandal at one point - fine, that was an accident. But at what was obviously their next break and swimming spot, the loss must have been discovered because now the matching sandal was left hanging in a tree!

Sulpher springs is also great. You take a seat to dip your toes in the hot water and find yourself surrounded by cigarette stompies and used plasters.

Then there is the woman........I guess it was a woman......who used lillette wipes instead of toilet paper. The wipe was left pinned under a stone over the wet spot and its packaging just abondoned next to this marker. Man....whoops......sorry, I mean woman. If you took as much care of the canyon as you do of your fanny then the Fish River would be a much nicer and cleaner place!

What are my suggestions regarding all this?

Namibia Wildlife should take an inventory of the contents of each and every hikers pack. If the appropriate waste/litter/refuse is then not produced at the end of the trail for inspection before disposal, then there should be a stiff fine for each item not produced. N$500 per item would not be unreasonable...........and hey! it could create jobs and boost Park funds.

All in all wasn't a bad hike.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cederberg Wilderness Trail

Date: December 2002

Weather: First day - Hot, cooling towards the end of the day and rained during the night. Second day - Cold and overcast. Third day - Cold but clearing up. Fourth day - Hot. Fifth day - Unbearably hot.

The Cederberg mountain range near Clan William in the Western Cape is the setting for one of the most spectacular wilderness hiking experiences in Africa. There are numerous paths and vast areas of spectacular mountain scenery to choose from and our description is of just one option that we decided to do.

When planning the hike we decided what our objectives were going to be. These were, the ascent of Tafelberg and visiting Wolfberg Arch.Day 1.We set out from Algeria Forest Station and immediately started the steep climb along the well defined path towards Middleburg hut. The path zig zags up the mountainside until you are about two thirds of the way up, where you come across a side path that leads to a magnificent waterfall. At the waterfall the water is so pure that grass grows through the actual cascade.

From the waterfall the path climbs steeply until it eventually emerges at the top and it is a short walk to the Middleburg hut. We decided to have lunch at a nearby stream before continuing. As we had tents with us we decided to camp out further along the path in the direction that we wanted to go, so made our way to Groothandskop.Due to heavy rain during the night and early morning we decided to make our second day the short walk to Sleepadhut. The first part of this walk is quite easy, following a mountain stream and over a saddle, across a small stream and then past rock outcrops before descending quite steeply to another stream, the Wilderhoutdrif.From here the trail ascends steeply, zig zagging up the mountain. There are beautiful rock formations and puddles of clear water along the way. Another stream is crossed before reaching Sleepadhut.

Day 3.From Sleepadhut, the trail follows a jeep track until one arrives at the imposing mountain peak of Tafelberg. The path up Tafelberg is via a terrace and up the steep mountainside towards the spout.After crossing the saddle between the mountain and the spout, the path leads around the banks of the mountain until a giant boulder crack is reached. The top of the mountain is reached by clambering up this fault. Descending from the top, our party headed for Gabrielspass where we spent the night by a pool.

Day 4.We started with a moderate climb up to the plateau and then a short walk across the Wolfberg Arch, one of the major landmarks of the Cederberg Range. After some minutes spent in photography here, we again headed back to Gabrielspass for the steep descent down to Driehoek Campsite. From here we followed the jeeptrack northwards until a suitable campsite was found close to a stream.

Day 5.The final days walk consisted of a steep climb up along a well constructed path towards Die Gat, followed by a steep descent to Sas se Werf. Here we all enjoyed a swim in some lovely rock pools before following the path back to Algeria Forest Station.

Reported by T. Hartwright

Jean-Pierre's Thoughts.
I was very excited about going on a trip without my mom and the fact that it was such a beautiful hike made it even more special. Everybody was very excited about seeing the snow protea. The flowers were beautiful and the rock formations and trees were amazing. I would love to go back again sometime.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FIMA 2010 Wildebeest World Cup

One of my very few 'good' points has always been my sense of humour but I think Wild Frontiers beat me this time. I would say more but there wording says it all:

"In June and July 2010 , the annual FIMA 2010 Wildebeest World Cup will take place in the Serengeti . The governing body,FIMA, (International Federation of Migratory Animals) is well prepared for this annual event , having been doing this for centuries. Teams of over 1.2 million Wildebeeste are expected to attend, over 400 000 Zebra, large teams of Thompsons Gazelle, as well as Elephant, Lions, Buffalo, Eland etc. This is the planets largest migratory World Cup, and is an event not to be missed. While many Humans will be in South Africa watching a game played by 22 people with a ball, in June/July, many other Humans will be watching the Greatest Game on the Planet, the FIMA 2010 Wildebeest World Cup - played on a field of over 25000 square kilometres, by teams totalling over 2 million animals of many species (no balls either - and the games are longer !!). Book your guaranteed seat to the 2010 FIMA Wildebeeste World Cup now !!!."

Now isn't that enough to entice you to rather watch the Greatest Game on the Planet. Their web address is:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barrett’s Coaches to Wattles and back to Barretts.

Up bright and early and raring to go, the weather, fortunately, played along and it was a lovely cool and overcast day. The probability of it remaining so was very slim so with impatience much stomping around was done until all were ready to depart. (This is what happens when you decide to give up tea and coffee and so you have nothing left to do in the mornings besides have breakfast and pack your bag.) Cars were parked at the Berlin Forest Station and off we went.

As with all plantation walks there is often walking on the road, which has always been my pet hate on hikes (I have lots of others but non-hiking related). Fortunately we didn’t have far to walk on the road before we veered across an open veldt and from there into the pine plantation for a short distance. Upon leaving the pine plantation you descend alongside the plantation down a rocky path. Markers aren’t too great so you need to keep a watch for when the markers veer off towards the right half way down, across a boulder strewn area before plunging into a beautiful lush green indigenous forest.

The trail undulates downhill, quite steeply in some places, for quite a distance – or so my knees told me. On reaching the bottom you then cross over a small gurgling stream before the extremely arduous ascent – in other words, you had to grab on to trees to haul your backside up that gorge - until you reach the top of the escarpment where you flop down onto your back, take a couple of deep breathes and ask yourself why you are punishing your body this way. (Remember this section well, because this is the section you do on the return journey and I swear it feels even worse coming back).

When you get to the stage where you are ready to move on, you look along the vista and then you realize that in order for your soul to be refreshed, your body has to be put through some form of punishment. Man oh man, what a view. You can’t get that type of view sitting in a car racing down the highway, or even taking the back roads. You have to walk, and climb and suffer, and I have never yet known it to be a disappointment. The body pain goes away but the memories linger on making it worthwhile – every step of pain (Ok,ok. I’m exaggerating slightly. Can’t be that painful, if there are so many hikers out there and doing it regularly).

From there on the trail undulates for quite a distance, actually a helleva long distance, along the escarpment. A couple of sections are badly marked so a close watch needs to be kept otherwise you find yourself bundu bashing backwards and forwards looking for the trail, which is not only time consuming but energy draining. One of the reasons why it is an advantage to always walk at the back. By the time you have reached the group they have done all the bundu bashing and are back on the right path so you are able to conserve what little energy you do have left. (Not much at this stage what with racing along the escarpment and the sun beating down on your head).

I wouldn’t advise planning on eating lunch at Starvation Creek Falls unless you are a runner or you are planning a late lunch although your stomach might dictate otherwise but there are some nice areas along the escarpment where you can sit and recuperate a while before heading on. Once Starvation Creek is reached you veer away from the escarpment, and ascend alongside the plantation for a short distance before turning into the plantation And then starts the painful, agonizing energy sucking climb through the plantation. It’s not a steep climb, just one of those climbs that seem never ending and seems to suck the life right out of you but you can’t understand why because it’s not quite flat but neither is it steep.

Not having much choice at this stage you put one foot in front of the other and plod on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Shew, lots of “on’s” there. Totally exhausted you reach the top and behold, before you is the farmhouse. What a magnificent sight. With renewed energy you manage to drag yourself to the front steps but that is as far as you get before collapsing in a heap. To hell with finding a bed, I need to get these shoes off. I need a cigarette. I need a Jacuzzi. I need an ice cold drink. I need a masseuse. I need some gorgeous hunk telling me not to worry, he’ll carry me back to Barretts. Fat chance of that happening.

So you do what you can. Take your shoes off, have a smoke – conveniently forgetting that all the way there you swore you would give up smoking – and relax. After a gloriously hot shower and feeling like a brand new, albeit sore, person you reflect back on the hike - the beautiful green moss growing on the rocks and the old man’s beard dangling from the trees. The tiny flowers and the colourful grass. The butterflies dancing ahead of you and the wild plums. The aloes that look like they are welcoming you with open arms (if you are falling from the sky) and the rock formations – So much beauty, so much to take in. And then you feel invigorated. Not enough to go back on the trail, but just enough to get you through dinner before passing out for a deep dreamless sleep. (Hopefully with your mouth closed and no unearthly noises coming from your nasal passages).

Up bright and early the next day you watch the sun peeking over the tree tops. In my opinion there is only one thing to beat a sunrise and that is a sunset. But either way, they are both beautiful and you feel refreshed and ready to face the return journey – until you pick up your back pack and wonder why you carried all the stuff considering you didn’t use half of it. (Some of us just never learn).

Heading out the gate on the right side of the house you follow the road alongside the plantation and then veer off to the left until you reach a crossroad. This is where we came a little unstuck. Nary a marker to be spotted we, myself included, went first up one road and then another road and then back again and back up the first road until, perchance, a marker was noticed hidden on the rocks amongst the tall grass. So now you know. You don’t go along either of the roads but head along the only section that is veldt and pick up the markers there which, takes you to a concrete road. Another one of those energy sucking up hills that never seem to end and which just go on and on and on and on and on. Phew, so early in the morning and all your energy is already being sucked out of you.

Upon reaching the top, you then veer off across the veldt where you can take a breather (or for smokers, a couple of breathers) amongst some lovely rocks before continuing alongside the pine plantation before ascending once again into the plantation. At least this time it is not one of those energy sucking up hills. Steeper yes, but easier. From there the trail splits. One section towards Kaapschehoop and the other towards Barretts. The trail to Barretts continues across the veldt through some boulders strewn here and there

For the life of me I can't remember the trail from here on out so had to finish this with the help of Sue Desmond. Thanks Sue.

From Barretts you walk gradually up hill to the edge of the escarpment and along the escarpment to the top of the waterfalls, then through the forest to a river with lots of tree ferns and shortly thereafter you come to the Wattles house.

From Wattles you head out on the opposite side of the house the markers are not great but the trail leads off left of the tree line. You then come to a road that is used to get to a building or masts (I can’t quite remember). You take this road for a short distance, the trail is well marked from there (mainly in open grass and rocks along an escarpment. When the trail goes into the trees you will come to the junction to Barretts and Kaapschehoop. It is mainly forest from there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bald Ibis Overnight Trail

Date: June 2002

Weather: Cold during the day making for a lovely hike but very chilly in the evening.

Boy oh boy. This is a hike of note. Before anybody intends doing the Naukluft this is a good one to do, to prepare themselves. When leaving base camp you immediately start climbing. First gradually and then it becomes pretty steep.

The trail then takes you along the contour path, just below the craggy rocks, through indigenous forests, down gulleys, up ravines for quite a distance. Doesn't sound like much but all those up's and down's are quite exhausting. You pass windy corner, which is very aptly named, so be careful, very, very careful. (One of our party - I won't mention names - tried to take a header downhill.)

You continue further along before heading down the mountain at a moderate angle, across the valley and through the Black Wattle Forest. It is at this point that you must decide whether you are going to drag a branch with you all the way to the cave for a fire or drop off your back pack and return when you have energized yourself. (If you are lucky, the group ahead of you, took enough firewood to last the evening) .

From there you start climbing quite steeply for a short distance before it peters out to a gradual climb until finally, eventually and at long last you reach the overnight cave.

The trail back wasn't very well marked, so the various groups all went their own way. You started off with a relatively steep descent and from there the path undulated for quite a distance, past some huge and beautiful rock formations, before heading down to base camp.

My thoughts
Although a very looooooong and strenuous hike, it was absolutely great, with lots of variety. The steep climbs, the beautiful forests, the slippery downhills, the magnificent rocks and of course, windy corner. Even walking across the grassland from one mountain to another was a welcome relief from all the ups and downs. And we musn't forget about carrying your fire wood with you the last 3km's. A really superb hike and one I will hopefully be able to do again, although this time I think I will give the firewood a miss.(Firewood? If memory serves me correctly, I think I managed to carry a twig.)

Naukluft Trail
The BIG one, the AWESOME one, the BREATH TAKING and yet HUMBLING one. (Definitely a 'must do')

10 – 17 July 2001


Warm during the day but chilly in the evenings. Cool on the last day.


Don't know what I was doing here. I mean this is a serious hike for serious, fit and enduring hikers. But not knowing what was ahead of me, I didn't really give it much thought. I should really learn to think before doing things. Saves on a lot of suffering. And yes, I suffered, big time.
We all set off in high spirits descending along a boulder strewn dry river bed for quite a distance and it continued on..... and on.... and on ....and then you start wondering what was so great about this hike, and what is so strenuous about it. It is like any other hike. Huh! Double Huh! Boy was I in for a surprise.
The trail ascends once a park perimeter fence is reached. Gee, that was said so blithely. I mean the ascent, maybe wasn't totally vertical, but I could have sworn it was leaning that way after a while. By the time you reach the saddle you are already so exhausted that you just want to lie down and sleep. But you can't, because you have to follow the path which contours the mountain for a while (for a while? what an understatement), undulating over hills, down gorges, up dales, aaaand it undulates over hills, down gorges, up dales, aaaaaand it undulates over hills, down gorges, up dales, until eventually it enters a kloof.

You follow the kloof for a while before climbing steeply once more up the mountain - by this time you are in that mindless state where you are so exhausted that everything you do is automatic. You don't know how your legs are moving, they just are. Anyway, you follow the contour path to the head of a kloof before reaching Putte Shelter. I would have felt excited, I'm sure. Just too tired to feel anything, which included the small stones digging through your miserable thin mattress.

Day 2:
I didn't want to leave Putte Shelter. It was such a nice place. But it was either leave with the group or stay there by myself. Not sure what I was more scared of. Anyway the trail ascended to the top of the ridge and then followed a jeep track before turning inland. And this is where it got tough again. Not through anything strenuous but those eternal dry riverbeds. The stones in there are not big enough for you to hop from one to another and not small enough for you to just carelessly walk on. So you have to balance on these ridiculous sized rocks, which is ok in the beginning, but mile after mile of this and your feet start yelling at you - especially when you don't have the right boots on. And boy, did they yell. After a loooooong while you reach Ubisis Kloof, where you can stop for lunch at the Cathedral Fountain, at the head of the kloof. At least so I was told. I was back into my mindless, automatic mode again. The trail then leads steeply - so what's new - down the kloof with the help of chains. Bit scary if you suffer from vertigo but not as bad as you expected. You then follow another blasted dry riverbed until you reach the Hut, which is an old house equiped with bunk beds, mattresses, flush toilets (that didn't work) and a very, very cold shower.

Day 3

You retrace your steps back to the kloof and up the chain ladders. From here the trail branches off and you follow a kloof and - surprise, surprise - a dry riverbed, before crossing a plateau to reach Adlershorst Shelter. The route is quite easy and because you are getting slightly fitter as the days progress you are not quite in that mindless state you experienced the last two days.

Day 4

Leaving Adlershorst the terrain is fairly level for quite a distance until it enters the Tsams Oost River Gorge. The trail then takes you through the kloof and just as you are about to get really comfortable, it rises steeply to bypass a waterfall. I must admit, the views were magnificent and well worth the effort of the climb, and a climb it was.

The descent into the valley is equally spectacular. The final part of the trail entails a walk along a dry riverbed and then along a gravel road to Tsams Oost Shelter, passing an enormous moringa tree and a number of springs. Tsams Oost has a steel cupboard to store supplies in for hikers doing the eight day trail. If it wasn't for the fact that I would have had to wait 4 days there on my own, I swear I would have just parked off there but being stuck in the middle of nowhere was a bit scary, but the thought did cross my mind - a couple of times.

Day 5:
The day starts with a hard climb up Broekskeur and then undulates through several kloofs and valleys before finally, finally, a long descent to a valley and a disused windmill. A jeep track then guides the hiker across wide plains and across dry riverbeds (I really hate riverbeds) until a gravel road is reached, which takes you to De Valle Shelter.

Day 6:

From De Valle Shelter, the trail takes you up the valley towards the waterfall, before embarking on a short but veeeeeery steep climb up the mountain until a contour path is reached. From here the trail hugs the mountainside and then enters the top of the waterfall. A dry riverbed is followed for quite a distance to the watershed where it meets an old jeep track which it follows down to Tufa Shelter.

Day 7:
From Tufa Shelter the trail leads across the valley and then enters a steep kloof. An ascent up the the kloof is made with the help of chains including one of 28m, while baboons sit at the top and screech at you. You just wish that at that time, you had the energy to screech back. The trail then follows the riverbed until the mountaintop is reached. Here one has the chance of seeing some incredible views. It is at points like these you realise why all the effort - because it is worth it. The last part of the days walk leads across Kapokvlakte until the Kapokvlakte shelter is reached.

Day 8:

The last day of this amazing trail starts off the way the previous day ended, with a walk across Kapokvlakte. After what seemed like an endless walk (seemed - it was an endless walk) the trail started its descent, which was pretty steep in places, into the Naukluft River Gorge. The trail follows the riverbed back to the starting point at Hikers Haven, bypassing a number of pools along the way. At that point I just wanted to get home so I ignored all the pools and literally flew back to the hut.

My Thoughts:

I wasn’t ready for this hike, not only on a fitness level, but mentally. Naukluft has so much to offer and a certain degree of fitness is required to appreciate it. The stark but glorious desolation, the magnificent gorges, the eternal riverbeds, those plummeting descents and perpendicular ascents. I wasn’t ready, I don't think anybody can ever be ready for Naukluft, but I am so glad that I did it, because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and the memory of it will be forever etched in my mind. Not only of the hike itself, (The bits that I can remember) but the stark beauty of the area.