Hike South Africa


Arangieskop

This pearl of a hike to complete is located in the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve outside Robertson, about 140km from Cape Town and about a 2 hours drive. Bookings can be done through the Breede River Municipality on 023 615 8038. A word of warning, this hike is rated as severe and is only two directions: up and down. The weather in winter can also be extreme, be prepared to expect snow in times of cold fronts and the second day’s route down can be slippery and treacherous. Nevertheless, I find that doing this hike well prepared in winter is a lot more pleasant than suffering mid summer temperatures for the slog up. Hiking dressed warm with a frosting of snow is an experience not often found in the Western Cape. We did this hike about 10 years ago and had light snowfalls overnight. This time round we only had subzero temperatures and ice, but nothing a bottle of Obies can’t sort out.

arangieskop-map

What makes this hike worthwhile despite the effort to get up are the views and the overnight hut on the top. Admittedly I’ve only seen the view about 15 years ago when I first did the hike, as the last time and this time its been overcast. However the hut is a gem, built into the rock face and equipped with a indoor fireplace, stove and a donkey boiler to provide hot showers. Unfortunately I had the bad luck to test the waters warmth first, which was at that time just a tad above freezing. However it does heat up and provides ample hot water. The hut sleeps 23, our party of 4 shared the hike with a group of matrics from Hoerskool DF Malan. Even then the hut had more than enough room.


Friday night is spend at the Dassieshoek hut just outside the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve. There are two huts, each with about 30 beds. We spend the night in the new house, while the school group occupied the old one. Each house has been fitted with burglar bars and security gates, so any items can be left safely inside rather than in your car. The new house has an indoor fireplace, stove and fridge. The day starts by entering the reserve over a gate and along a gravel road. The white footprints indicate the route to be taken and soon a path will lead off the road and you start your ascent. The first day is about 9km, to the hut just under the Arangieskop peak, and should take about 6 hours, but we did in a blistering 5 due to the cold. The path winds up Dassieshoek peak in a north westerly direction for about 4 km towards a ravine and a waterspot for a tea break.


The path crosses the ravine and starts a steep slog that zigzags towards the top. The ascent wasn’t as bad as we had expected, but the cold may have something to do with preserving muscle tissue.


We didn’t realise how fast we had be going so arriving at the 2km to go mark was abit of a surprise. This is a good lunch spot with water available, but as we got there a mist bank hit us and the temperature dropped from about 12 degrees to about 6. We decided to motor to the hut and get warm and stuff our faces there.

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By the time we got to the top the temperature was about 2 degrees. At the top you hit a jeep track used by the Montague tractor ride and in 5 minutes you are at the hut.

There is wood provided under the under the hut to fuel the boiler and to get a fire going. Its an experience to braai a steak outside when its minus 1 degrees and the school group are preparing their pitiful 2 minute noodles.

There was light rain in the evening and night, which quickly froze to provide a frosty layer of ice. For some reason Chad was determined to run outside in his boxers. Maybe he was abused as a kid by Mr Frosty.

It is surprisingly warm in the rooms, due to the fact that the chimneys from the fireplaces go straight through the rooms. The next morning the matric group headed down the same route taken up, as the route down is slow and tricky. We decided to risk it, to die up there cant be that bad.

The second day is marked by yellow footprints, and will lead you to the top of the peak before you descend. Everything was iced over, and the higher we got the more of it there was.

Every couple of minutes the mist would clear and there would be the awesome view over the Robertson valley, but by the time the camera was out it the mist had blown over again. From the radio tower the descent begins, and was very slippery and icey

After an hour or so the mist dissipated and it was a clear but cold day.

Much of the day is spend slowly decending the raving before crossing over the saddle towards another ravine. After the second ravine the path will descend towards some hills overlooking the Dassieshoek huts. It is the last 4 km that was the hardest part of the hike, as the legs had decided that they had done enough hiking for the weekend.

We arrived back at about 5pm, and headed promptly to KFC to fill up on junk food. If you can complete this hike you are probably prepared to tackle in weekend hike in the Western Cape. But I always say, if Mark can do it, anyone can.


3 Responses to 'Arangieskop'

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  1. chad said,

    personally i think mark did better than me. surprisingly!!!

  2. Mark said,

    Surprisingly? I’m no muscle but all heart bro…oh wait the heart is a muscle. Damn it. Well done boyz. Thanx for the great hike and the post Stevo.

    GO WEB!!

  3. L FILLMORE said,

    Well done guys, seems like a good time was had by all. Next time you can invite us!!!!!


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