I have a pile of books on my desk… all read and ready to review. An eclectic mix of books I have enjoyed over the past couple of months and the time has come to start posting away. I thought I would bring you a week of a book or two a day… brace yourself for a reading adventure!!! It definitely, is book season over here. I am beginning with a book that sets us up for adventures…
Hiking Cape Town by Evelyn Holtzhausen.
About the Book
This book contains 35 hikes from all over the Cape Peninsula and even a handfull from further a field. There is a good introduction on mountain safety and loads of tips and tricks to making your day out adventuring a good one. Each hike has a fabulous and well annotated map, as well as a box of essential information for a quick overview. The information box inludes the start and end GPS location, how long the hike is and how long it will take you, the difficulty grade as well as the terrain, and other useful information, for example if the route is dog friendly or not.
For every hike there is a detailed discussion on the route, interspersed with snippets of information and specific details. The book is richly illustrated, with full colour photographs on every page. It is an absolute gem of a handbook, and it is small enough (A5), to pop into your day pack and leave there as your personal-pocket-guide, until you reach a shady rest stop, where you can take it out and review your hike and enjoy that little bit extra that you get when you go hiking with your very own expert.
35 Hikes You Will Find in the Book…
Most visitors to Cape Town ask to go up Table Mountain, unfortunately almost all of them are told to head for Platteklip, which is a fairly strenuous and tricksy climb straight up the mountain and then it is a fairly long trek across the top of the mountain to get to Maclear’s Beacon… technically the top of the mountain.
This book is a clear demonstration that not only does Cape Town have all kinds of weather in one day, but we have a variety of hikes available to our visitors. From tiring and technical, to shady ambles, there really is something for everyone on Table Mountain, it is a great place to stretch out your legs and see the city as the locals see it.
- Lion’s Head Circuit: This is a lovely route and while we have climbed up Lion’s Head several times, the circuit around it was an absolute gem. An easy walk and I can see exact why so many trail runners enjoy it.
- Deer Park to Contour Path Circuit
- Saddle Path to Kirstenbosch
- Table Mountain to Kirstenbosch via the Aqueduct: If you have never hiked past the aqueduct on Table Mountain, then this hike is perfect for you. The aqueduct is the most glorious shady spot for a break on a hot summer day.
- Kasteelspoort: This is my favourite way to get to the top of Table Mountain, I love this hike, especially in the early morning before the sun comes up.
- Diagonal Route
- Corridor Ravine
- Llandudno Ravine to Constantia Nek
- Woodcutter’s Path
- Kirstenbosch Contour Path
- Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine: This is definitely one of my favourite childhood memory hikes, my dad and I used to head up and over the mountain this way all the time.
- Constantia Nek Circuit
- Camel Rock via De Villiers Reservoir
- Blackburn Ravine
- Myburgh’s Ravine and Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine
- Chapman’s Peak
- Amphitheatre Circuit
- Skyline Path and Noordhoek Peak
- Old Wagon Road and River Walk: This Silvermine River Walk is a lovely family walk, whatever the season… we like to hike up it and meet our friends and family who don’t feel like hiking up at the dam for a post hike swim and a picnic.
- Higher Steenberg Peak
- Echo Valley and Spes Bona
- Bailey’s Kloof
- Elsie’s Peak: And this is our home turf, the mountain that my kids have grown up on…
- Gifkommetjie to Cape of Good Hope
- Kanonkop Circuit
- Shipwreck and Sirkelsvlei Circuit
- Scarborough to Kommetjie
- Vine Trail, Zevenwacht Wine Estate
- Uitkyk Trail, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
- Leopard Loop, Helderberg Nature Reserve
- Gantauw Pass, Hottentots Holland Mountains
- Houw Hoek Circuit, Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve
- Leopard’s Kloof Trail, Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
- Palmiet River Trail, Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Another one of Cape Town’s best kept hiking secrets, and places to explore with views for miles.
This is really our back yard, my kids spent most of their childhood hiking the trails of Cape Point. I think it may be one of the most underrated hiking regions of the Cape… when most people hike up Table Mountain and the same routes again and again… Cape Point is a treasure trove of a great variety of routes, wildlife and of course fynbos.
And the Book Launch, with Interview Questions:
I was lucky enough to be at the book launch for this book, it has been more than a minute since books had in-person launches. Wonderful to be back in the world of books, surrounded by people that enjoy them so much. A book launch is always a great way to meet the author, and he obviously has a large group of folk who hike with him, and a very enthusiastic fan club… all in attendance.
More and more people are on the mountain now, more access to the mountain means enjoying your time on the mountain. Covid pushed folk onto the mountain, more and more people have discovered the benefits of nature. People have discovered the mountain, along with more people there is a lot more litter and music, but people have become more aware of the value of nature. As a child he remembered climbing cathedral peak, with one fruit pastel in the morning and one in the afternoon, and then still went on walking.
The shipwreck trail in Cape Point, with the hike to Sirkelsvlei. In the heat of summer, from Rhodes Memorial along the contour path to Kirstenbosch. Most walks in the book are flat… except when they are steep.
- Read and research where you are going before you set out. More people die on the slopes of Table Mountain than on Everest. It’s not a hill in our backyard… we need to respect the mountain.
- Always take a raincoat, and a charged cell phone with you.
- Be observant to your surroundings, so that you recognise where you are and can return.
- Join a Hiking Group, never hike alone.
- Hike for the love of it, not to achieve anything, never mind racing to the top. Take along a guide like John Manning’s Guide to Fynbos… slowing down the walk.
- Happy boots equals a happy hike.
- Rain gear in Cape Town, always.
- Food… Always take something to eat.
- Carry Rehydrate/Rennies for cramps.
- Check the Fire Index before you leave, you cannot out run a fire.
- Use a map to navigate a route, a Slingsby map or an app.
- Take along a guide… either a book or a human.
Hiking Trails of South Africa by Willie Olivier
Since we are talking about hiking and extremely giftable books, there is a new edition of Hiking South Africa and if you are keen on hiking then you definitley want to take a look inside. I have reviewed a previous edition of this book here… and all the upgrades for the fifth edition makes this one worthy of a closer look. This is honestly the hiking encyclopaedia of South Africa.
There is a great introduction with everything you need to know for an overnight hike or even a couple of days of hiking. Thereafter, the book is divided up into regions of South Africa and then includes a series of hikes for each area, within the region. Hike upon hike, from extreme hikes to everday rambles this book is packed with hikes.
Each hike has an information block, with pertinent details for the hike, for example if you need a permit and more importantly, where to get one, as well as the type of facilities available along the hike. This is a great book for plotting your adventures, especially if you are going to be touring around the country… there are hundreds of hikes in this book and all of them are well researched.
There is a lovely little feature at the end of the book, a couple of pages left ready for the book owner to add in their favourite hikes and observations… this book is obviously going to become a family favourite as we plot and plan future adventures together.
These books were given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Nature. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.