View across towards Hout Bay from Suikerbossie Path. Chapmans Peak (left), Noordhoek Beach & The Sentinel (right).

- Table Mountain Day Walk -

Suikerbossie Circuit via Myburgh

 Waterfall and Llandudno


New Year's Day 2012


Suikerbossie Path (Longkloof Valley) towards Constantia Corner; Converted farmhouse, Longkloof Valley.

With my holiday in South Africa, the first in four years, rapidly drawing to a close and my return to the UK imminent, I needed to get another Table Mountain hike under the belt. Consequently, I headed for Hout Bay via Constantia Nek and parked my car at the entrance to Ruyteplaats housing estate, making it worth the resident security guard's while, should he keep an eye on my vehicle. I set off on the path that runs between the estate and the Suikerbossie Restaurant, as indicated by the "public footpath" sign, crossing a dirt road, once the Old Victoria Road, or Thomas Bain’s Road, built in 1887 with convict labour.

Continuing east along a route to the rear of the estate through a short section pine forest, a path eventually leads off to the left and out of the forest. Suikerbossie ('sugar bush') contour path meanders up Longkloof Valley towards the Nek. I was amazed as to how the fynbos had grown, compared to when last I had walked there. despite not having a map in my possession, I remembered to cross the first forested ravine one encounters, followed by the gulley of some fair size that had subsequently a short footbridge constructed over it, before reaching a second forested ravine. This is Myburgh Waterfall Ravine, where the climb commences.



View across Longkloof Valley from Suikerbossie Path.


Fynbos in abundance along Suikerbossie Path (Longkloof Valley) towards Constantia Corner.


Occasionally the path isn't always clearly visible save for the piles of stones that have been left at regular intervals; nonetheless, one is required to clamour over large boulders. Having said that, there's only one way and that is up! A lower waterfall is reached, which provides an opportunity for some interesting photos of the foliage carpeting a vertical expanse of rock, before continuing left of the stream. This is where Disa plants can be seen flowering at certain times of the year. Further up the trail crosses the riverbed and continues up the right bank for a while. The upper section of the gorge narrows, with rock walls extending upwards on both sides. Sunlight streams down from the top of the gorge. Save for the sound of trickling water, a lone birdsong could be heard, sounding its call repeatedly, as if in the hope of soliciting some distant response. I was pleased in a way that I was walking on my own. In one respect it is perhaps not the wisest thing to do, having broken a cardinal rule of hiking, yet it is at times like these that one finds oneself exerting some measure of control over one's own destiny.

There is nothing challenging about the route until one reaches the waterfall near the top of Myburgh Ravine. The most likely route is up the waterfall itself, though a steep, sandy track can also be seen where the fynbos has gradually been eroded over time, which would undoubtedly result in further damage, particularly during the rainy season. Though the rock is wet and slippery, one is able to find sufficient space to gain a foothold and forge a route however caution should be exercised during the ascent. As one emerges from the shelter of the ravine, one has no choice but to scramble up the worn, sandy path until it eases to a gentle slope at the head of the valley.



The lower waterfall up Myburgh Ravine.



Approaching the top of Myburgh Ravine as it narrows, walled on either side.


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Hout Bay (Afrikaans: Houtbaai, from Afrikaans for "Wood Bay") is the name of a coastal suburb of Cape Town, with a mix of neighbourhoods from the very rich to the very poor. It lies in a valley on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula and is twenty kilometres south of the Central Business District of Cape Town. The name Hout Bay can refer to the town, or the bay on which it is situated, or the whole valley.

When the Dutch established a colony in Table Bay in 1652, they required a great quantity of good timber for building and other purposes. There were no large forests in the immediate vicinity of the settlement, mainly because the rainfall was not high enough. It was soon apparent that the colonists would be able to get the wood they needed in the wetter valley that lay on the other side of a low pass (called Constantia Nek) between the southern end of Table Mountain and Constantiaberg. The area was originally made up of two farms, which were slowly subdivided to make way for urban expansion. While still maintaining its rural feel the area now has more than 12 000 residences inhabited by a population of about 42 000 people.

Hout Bay is surrounded by mountain to the North, East and West and the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the South. In the North it is bordered by Table Mountain National Park comprising the Orangekloof Nature reserve and the bottom slopes of Table Mountain beyond that. To the North-West it is bordered by the backside of the Twelve Apostles, known as the Oranjekloof. To the West it is bordered by Little Lion's Head (Klein Leeukop), Karbonkelberg, Kaptein's Peak and the Sentinel. To the East it is bordered by the Vlakkenberg, Skoorsteenskopberg and Constantiaberg. The world famous Chapman's Peak Drive is carved out of the mountainside and leads towards Noordhoek and onwards to Cape Point.

There are three roads leading to and from Hout Bay, all over mountain passes. One goes to Llandudno and Camps Bay through the pass between Judas Peak (part of the Twelve Apostles) and Little Lion's Head. This pass is known as "Suikerbossie" (known as the toughest hill on the Cape Argus Cycle Race). Between Hout Bay and Noordhoek there is Chapman's Peak Drive, which was closed for many years and finally reopened in early 2004 with a controversial toll booth. Lastly a road leads to Constantia over the Constantia Nek pass between Vlakkenberg and the back slopes of Table Mountain.

The Hout Bay bay has a whitesand beach, a popular attraction for tourists and locals (and their dogs) alike. Hout Bay has one of the busiest harbours in the Western Cape with an established tuna, snoek and crayfish industry. The harbour is home to the Hout Bay Yacht Club and several restaurants. Hout Bay, also known as "Dungeons" to the surfing community, is one of the sixteen recognised big wave spots around the globe. The annual Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition, an annual event, was last held here in 2008. The harbour is a worthwhile visit, as there are spectacular views of the bay and boat rides to Duiker Island and around the Sentinel.


Text and photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


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Ferns on the upper section of Myburgh Ravine.


Blue skies above Myburgh Ravine.


View from the head of the valley, looking down Myburgh Ravine towards Longkloof Valley.


[Home Page]

Table Mountain Walk Dec Plateau 2011 [1] [2]

Table Mountain Walk Tokai Dec 2011

Table Mountain Walk Hout Bay Jan 2012 [1] [2]

[South African adventures]

Myburgh's Waterfall Ravine hike - webpage

Table Mountain Walks - webpage

Walking the Cape - a blogspot (by Helen) - Hout Bay Contour Path webpage

Redbull Big Wave Africa - 2008 video clip


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