Ambling onto The Boland Trail

One of the  easy overnight hikes in the Cape Mountains, within a 100km of Cape Town.

You could go hunting for toadstools in the pine forests of the 70 000 ha Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, or you could heft a pack onto your back and head up through the Fynbos onto the mountains for the night.

I chose the latter and armed with essentials like camembert and wine, joined Tim Lundy’s small hiking group on the trail up towards the peaks, climbing above the morning mist and leaving the dams glinting far below in the valleys.

We’d chosen to hike from the Nuweberg base to Landdroskop / Shamrock Hut (12km, about 3hrs of moderate hiking, staying over and hiking 7km back down to the start the next morning).

DSC01903Clear streams spilled into hidden valleys, and we stopped to fill our bottles, abandoning city H2O for brackish spring water.

We soon reached the overnight huts, which offered basic dorm accommodation with bunk beds, woodburning stoves and outside “eco” toilets. Two decks and a ‘braai lapa’ (barbecue area) gave us the option of cosying up and ‘braaiing’ (barbecuing), or stretching out on the deck and watching the sun go down.

From the deck of Sham­rock Lodge hut we had massive views over the mountains to the Boland valleys and farms. The next morning we offered oats and honey to the sunrise, stretched and ambled down into the valley for Springbok Pies and coffee at Peregrine Farm Store.

For more information on the Hottentots Holland Reserve and its hikes visit: www.capenature.co.za

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