Withdrawal symptoms were seriously setting in. We hadn’t been camping for way too long! We needed a site…
After a quick Google search we decided to broaden our horizons and head to the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg region of the Western Cape.
It took us about 4 hours including stops to get there from Cape Town. What a beautiful area: indigenous forests and mountain fynbos in stark contrast to the Karoo which lies just on the other side of the mountain range.
There are 10 campsites with electrical points at Grootvadersbosch, as well as a large thatched braai area with a fridge. The communal ablution block is neat and clean. In theory there is hot water, but for reasons unknown the hot water disappeared soon after we arrived on the Friday. Good for us that it was summer! And speaking of the water: it’s dark red.
If we do have a criticism of the camp, it would be that the campsites are a tad too close together. On the Friday it was no problem because the only campers were the two of us and a group of 4 students in another site. But by Saturday afternoon several of the other sites had filled up. You can hear every hiccup from the other campers and the nice group behind us had unlimited views of the contents of our boot.
After putting up our tent on Friday afternoon we headed out along the Bushbuck trail shown on the brochure map. This is a delightful trail under the thick canopy of the indigenous trees along the Duivenhoks River. The trail offers many variations, tree identification areas and two bird hides, one of which is quite a feat of engineering.
Early on Saturday morning we tackled the 15km Grysbok trail, a totally different experience from the Bushbuck. This trail is beautiful but almost totally devoid of shady spots, so start early in summer and take lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. The first (eastern) half of the loop is probably one of the easier hikes we have done: an easy gradient along a jeep track. Small flowers added dashes of colour among the green grass.
At about the halfway point there were signs to “Loerklip”, in the direction of the neighbouring Boosmansbosch Wilderness Area. Tempted to check this out, we headed up that trail, now going quite seriously uphill in the midday heat. Not a good idea. I was soon feeling dizzy and queasy and the promised “Loerklip” was still not in sight.
Not having a map of the area didn’t help, and we decided to turn tail and get back to the Grysbok Trail.
The western half of this trail is a totally different beast from the first half! Recent rains meant single track was indistinct in places and overgrown with head-high grass and bracken. The path sucked – literally. At our boots and sometimes our ankles. Very frustrating.
At long last we arrived back at the campsite, ready for a cold beer and that cold-only shower.
Goodbye ‘til next time
On Sunday we packed up the trusty steed and headed home via the scenic route: along the stunning Tradouw Pass to Barrydale, through Montagu, De Doorns and so along the N1 back to Cape Town with firm intentions of returning and taking on the Boosmansbosch Overnight Hiking Trail.