SLEEPING BEAUTY HIKE – RIVERSDALE After many years of planning to, but never getting around to doing this hike – we have finally done it! For those who do not know, this hike is named after the mountain range actually looking like sleeping beauty lying on her back, asleep. Rest assured – she does not feel asleep at all when you are climbing her neck! We did not attempt the additional 3km (up and down) to the top of her head…you are welcome to.
I was surprised to see how little there is to read about this beautiful hike. Maybe because this hike is still run by the Municipality (Riversdale) as many hikes have been running before, now falling under Cape Nature Conservation. There are basically three routes or means of completing this hike. There are two main paths being Rooiwaterbergspruit (West) and Kristalkloof (East). One could complete the entire hike in four days starting South (at The Korrentevallerivier Dam), up to Rooiwaterpruit over night shelter –9km– (at the waterfalls), second night sleep at The Tollhuis –15.6km. Then walk Kristalkloof –9km– and sleep at Kruis River and then back to The Tollhuis – 16.5km. One would however need two cars or someone to drive you back to the start.
The easiest “round trip” route would be to start at The Tollhuis (one can sleep there if driving from Cape Town) and then go East — into Kristalkloof – sleep at Kruis River shelter (9km) and then walk back to The Tollhuis (16.5km). I do not know what the shelter is like here – I think you have to carry your own mattress to this shelter. The route we took, as we had friends living in Riversdale, were able to drop us off and take our vehicle to the end, was as follows – we started at The Tollhuis (on Garcia Pass) and started walking West on the Sleeping Beauty /Rooiwaterbergspruit route. We slept at the “waterfall” (15.6km) and ended (South) at the Korrentevallerivier Dam (9km).
The first section eases you into the beautiful fynbos to a water point at around 2km. Fill up the bottles here – long way before next water. Then we slowly climbed “Nekkie”. We would call this a very “onnodige” (unnecessary) climb with zig-zags seeming endless. This took us most part of the morning to reach the top of the “neck” of Sleeping Beauty. Once you are on top you have a stunning view of her sleeping face and the option to climb the head.
From here one walks on a contour path winding along the mountain range (Oom Boet’s Road) with a slight incline. The path is on the shady side of the mountain causing the path to be slippery and sometimes washed away to a steep decline to the left. One has to concentrate and all in our group had a little tumble here at some point – thankfully with no injuries. Once on top, the range opens to the most beautiful Protea pin cushion type fields. The sight is spectacular. The road winds down to the Stinkhoutbos with a beautiful river and rest spot. From here it is about 4 easy kilometers to the house which can be seen from the top of the mountain as you round the bend. Be careful not to miss the turn-off (right) to the huts as you go down the mountain. The route is overgrown and markings non-existent.
The shelter is much more than we expected with a fireplace inside, 8 bed bunks and new mattresses! The river flowing right past the house down to a waterfall is amazing and we all had a bath in this cold water. And yes – the water is reddish-brown but beautiful to drink. Unfortunately there is no toilet or long-drop so remember to take along a small spade. We braaied outside and found 2 black scorpions so we all “watched our step”.
The next morning we missed the route taking us South to our destination (no markings on the route) and ended up walking east all the way to the Korrente River. This was however a pleasant de-tour with the most amazing mossy river bum-slide and pool. The boys immediately cashed-in on our fortune and the cameras were flashing. From here it is an easy walk via the plantation to the dam.
Our friends however, parked the car on the other side of the dam (and not on the allocated area as marked on the map) with the result that we sent the guys to walk all way around the (big) dam to get the vehicle while the ladies had a leisurely “cool-off” time. By the way, this was the first hike ever for me where the girls outnumbered the guys!
Will I do this hike again? Yes! It is just a little far from CT for a clear weekend hike but I would like to try the 4 day walk on some extended long-weekend. We had a beginner on this hike and she pretty much summed hiking up as follows: “This is the most amazing experience I have ever had in my entire life!”
THINGS TO REMEMBER: This hike is not very well marked and has not had maintenance done to the trail in some time. Be sure to hike with experienced hikers. Take some re-hydrate and carry lots of water if you want to (again) obtain your PhD in wine drinking the night before the hike. The sun is hot here. Switch on your “Rhino-mode” (4×4) to get through some nasty bushes at times. Wear a long (light) pants – the bushes and thorn-like shrubs are harsh on the shins. Enjoy our Beautiful Cape! WHO TO CONTACT TO BOOK THIS HIKE: Riversdale Municipality – ask for Juanita or Isadore at 028-7132418 (They are based at Takkieskloof Camp Site). On arrival, we stayed at Bertie Fiet’s beautiful farm (Oakdale Accommodation) on Garcia Pass, Riversdale. PH 082 377 2213. Bertie will be willing to transport hikers to and from start/end points if needed.
Next time I will walk in long pants. The unkept paths were torture on my legs. I will also walk in proper shoes and not half broken takkies!
Best part was the section after Nekkie with the narrow path and sheer drop to the left. The Kloof and plants are paradise!
I am a first time hiker – the whole hike was cool.
I liked the Protea display and except for Neckie the hike was actually a relatively straight forward walk. Yes the lack of markings can add some fear factor to an inexperienced hiker like me. Do it again — yes.
I never travel without my down sleeping bag – I am terrified of getting cold. I enjoyed the bath in the pools at the hut – hope to get there earlier next time to enjoy a longer swim!
|Sleeping Beauty, Riversdale|
|Tel no||028 – 7132418||G.P.S.||–33.953417,21.225736|
|Nearest Town||Riversdale||Max Persons|
|Distance from Town||19km ‚18 mins||Overnight Shelter||Yes, very basic|
|Map to start of hike||View Map||Brochure|
|No of days||Two||Trail Type||Linear|
|Tips and things to do|