30 years Kloofing in the Nuy River Gorge

The year 1988

We were just two 18 year old Swiss youngsters in the midst of our apprenticeships: Stephan a Lumberjack and myself an Architectural technician. But the opportunity of adventures way down in South Africa was too great to turn down! So we booked a 8 hour train journey to Luxembourg and the cheapest flight with Luxair to Cape Town. Stephan forged himself a 1.5kg Dundee-style knife, in case we were to encounter angry Lions – Needless to say the flight attendants had a good chuckle when we boarded “sword and all”.

Equipped with a Survey General map of the area, food for only two days and PEP store blankets for “sleeping bags” we explored the NUY RIVER GORGE on route to my Granddad’s farm, Simonskloof here in the Koo Valley. The adventure took three days, hiking old jeep tracks, then endless river crossings, bivouacking on the sandbanks cooking like cowboys on a open fire, the pot coffee and baked beans were missing though. The following day the bushwhacking and boulder hopping continued only to grind us to a halt at a rather magical rock dam half way up the gorge. We camped a second night, running very low on food but filled with an air of epic-ness.

A real adventure

In the morning of day three, after another cold African night wrapped in a thin blanket, we gathered drift wood to make a raft for our backpacks – not knowing that they actually do float, if you wrap them in a rain cover or wet-pack its content… After a 80m swim through icy mountain water, we scrambled several more hours to finally reach the towering wall of Keerom dam. Form there it was a quick 5km hike on Jeep track to my Granddad’s house.

And then some…

After a week on the farm helping with repairing fences we hit the road to the East for a more civilised hike along the well established Fanie Botha hiking trail.

However the Nuy River Gorge was deeply ingrained in my young soul and so a life changing adventure was born!

Now it’s your turn: http://www.simonskloof.com/kloofing/

The 2013 Nuy River Gorge Kloofing season has started

Last weekend we had our first Kloofing trip of the 2013 season in the Nuy River Gorge.

Nuy River Gorge KloofingWhat a blast and what a fantastic group: A French-Swiss-South African Family of note! As my back-up/helping guide, there was our WWOOFer from the “Dutch Mountains”. Also for the first time we offered a self-catered option, were the participants cooked for themselves. But had they not been “vegetarians”, they probably would have wrestled us for our T-bones steaks on a red hot rock and the bottle of Tangled Tree Shiraz (a most delicious local wine in a convenient PET bottle) – hey, gotta do it in style! The freshly brewed coffee we did share though.

Camp in the Nuy River GorgeThe weather played ball too, with a slightly over cast sky in the morning but sunny descent while abseiling. The river water was the chilliest for a December trip I’ve ever experienced, yet was perfect to cool off from the afternoon heat. And yes backpacks do float – no need for Otter-Trail style “French Polonies” NO pun intended – all you need is a backpack rain cover and it floats!

Our next trip is just around the corner, this Saturday it’s an “All in One Day” on a slightly shorter loop and with a perfect weather forecast: A slight drizzle at the end of the day, but we’ll beat that with an ice cold Windhoek draft!

Nuy River Gorge KloofingSO, if you are feeling adventurous, get a group of 4-6 friends together and call us with a date and type of trip you prefer!
Your life was meant to be an Adventure – Grab it!

For more pictures please visit our Facebook page!

On the Rim of Africa

Rim of Africa Sunrise at Waterfall Peak campNice when a long held dream finally comes true. Since around 2001 I’ve had this vision of creating a hiking trail from Simonskloof to Montagu and eventually connecting with Swellendam. I started with the first section from Nuy Valley to Simonskloof in 2003 and after several rebuilds due to fires and floods, added Simonskoof-Langdam in 2010.

This year I was asked to join an even bigger vision: The Rim of Africa, a 650km mountain passage from Pakhuis pass in the northern Cederberg via the Hex River mountain and the Langeberg all the way to the Outeniqua mountains in the East – not just as part of the trail, but to guide participants along the Rim on stage 5, from the Hex River Valley via Simonskloof to Montagu.

On the 16th October I joined my group of mountain hikers, local and from overseas, at Die Tolhuis outside Ceres heading for Milner peak over into the Hex River valley. However, due to bad weather conditions, snow prediction and zero visibility on Milner, we had to transfer on day 4 to Nuy Valley and hiked the Gecko Trail as a welcome alternative, including its adventurous 14 river crossings and a final scramble up the boulderous Cobra ravine.

For the following two days it rained, so we stuck it out at Simonskloof (lucky me) getting ready for the next four days to Montagu. Monday the 22nd full backpacks were hoisted and in good spirit we headed for Arangieskop. There the hut and its fireplace kept us nicely sheltered from the 4° outside while we dried our boots and feasted on freeze dried Moroccan lamb with couscous. The following day saw us descend along the hiking trail, by-passing the dangerously steep Vensterbank and re-join the ridge by the evening. That night we slept in our tents with a howling south wind plucking on the guylines.

Rim of Africa hikers at the SwooshDay 9 started in thick mist but by the time we reached Olifantskop it had cleared and we were blessed with a vista better to none and in true Rim style we scrambled along the very top of the ridge to our camp at Waterfallkop, much better sheltered then the night before.

Our last morning on top of the Langeberg was greeted by a perfect glowing red sunrise, dry flysheets and a good coffee made from water we had collected out of rock puddles.The journey continued past the trig beacon, then down the “Swoosh” were we finally found fresh spring water again, hence it was time for a much deserved tea break. One “last” climb back up to the ridge and by lunch time we had reached Bloupunt, overlooking Montagu.

Rim of Africa hikers at ArangieskopWe descended on the established hiking trail with some sever flood damage and overgrowth shortly before the Klipspringer Cabins. Here Lola, Pete and Galeo welcomed us with ice cold beers and a mean lekker lamb and waterblommetjies potjie. A restful night followed and the next morning we walked out back into civilisation but our hearts remained on the mountains…

If you are interested in “walking” the Rim of Africa visit their website.
In 2013 another 3 stages will be added, finishing at the Outeniqua mountains.

You owe it to yourself AND to the mountain!

For more images of stage 4 & 5 visit our Facebook page.