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Cape Point Overnight Hike 2013

The Cape Point Overnight Hike is a fantastic hike for a weekend but it has a long day in it and in summer it could be scorchingly hot; conversely in adverse winter weather it is very exposed for most of the day. The route can be done in either direction.

The hike starts at the entrance gate of the Reserve. We opted for the slackpacking option which made for a very pleasant hike without heavy packs. We also opted to go down the False Bay side on the first day. The route can be a little hard to pick up in some places and the use of a detailed map is recommended.

The route starts along the road but the trail turns off at the first car park about 800m up the road. The sign is hidden so it is easy to miss this. From there on the path goes around the bases of the Paulsberg and Kanonkop Peaks and meanders through the fynbos until you reach the old signalling cannon. Here the path drops down to the ocean which has got a nice lunch spot on the grass (we opted for an early lunch to avoid any baboons at the more popular spots further on). The trail continues through the various bays with places to swim. There is also the option to go to the Buffeslfontein visitor center but we preferred to stay on the coast. In the distance you can see your overnight stop up the side of Vasco da Gama peak. Once the road runs out you clamber along the coast line until the path heads up Vasco da Gama, passing the whale viewing site and going upwards, over the road until we reached our overnight hut.

We had selected Protea and Restio huts and while acommodation was reasonably basic it was clean and entirely sufficient for our purposes. Unlike much of Sanparks accomodation, this was affordable for us as well. The location is absolutely fantastic and we abandoned all ideas of a walk down the Cape Point in favour of, hot showers, sleeping on the grass and lounging in chairs with the amazing view over False Bay to keep us entertained. A wonderful sunset and a braai rounded off the evening.

The next morning the wind had picked up and the days ahead was long so we were on our way by 8pm, heading down and over the peninsula to Platboom and on along the beaches. The trail disappears in places but if you stick to the beach you cannot go wrong when you lose it. Some sanddunes provided amusement for everyone and there were viewings of eland, bontebok and ostrich to keep it interesting.

We turned inland at the wreck of the Phylisia to head across the Sirkesvlei plain, having an early lunch at the coast. The trail across Sirkesvlei is long and in summer probably very hot but we had a stiff wind to keep us cool. Torturously the last obstacles are two hills which after many hours of walking across the flats require a bit of mental adjustment. Once over these you are at your cars and a drive home to a hot shower and rest for weary feet.

This hike is suitable for reasonably fit people. We had scouts of 12 years who coped adequately and the three adults  managed quite well. However, the Atlantic coast day is long (about 23 kms) and extremes of weather could rapidly turn this into a miserable slog while strong winds will cause temperatures in winter to drop. But with good weather this an absolutely fantastic hike; one to do again!

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