Orange Kloof Nature Reserve
View from Orange Kloof Nature Reserve
Let me share with you the experience of a very special mountain hike in Hout Bay.
I really enjoy hiking and have walked many of the paths in Hout Bay. The Karbonkelberg peak with its views of Table Mountain and Gordons Bay. The Manganese mines above Chapman's Peak, walking back into the valley through Tierboskloof. Yes! We are spoiled for choice and many of the locals can amble out the front door and set off on a mornings hike that would be text book in many peoples opinion.
Why it has taken me ten years before I went to the source of the Disa river, I could never fully explain. It is a totally unique experience walking through natural Milkwood forests with Protea and an abundance of amazing flowers growing wild around you. Huge Silverleaf trees attracted our attention as their namesake leaves shimmered in the sunlight. I thought I had sampled some of the best hikes that Hout Bay had to offer but this one had somehow slipped through the net.
The source of the Disa river is in the Orangekloof Nature Reserve and anyone wanting to hike up there needs a permit which is obtainable from the Hout Bay forestry station. This area needs protection because it is indigenous and will astound you with its beauty at every turn. The walk itself is very easy and follows the forestry road. It's mostly a dirt track that meanders around the kloof and would eventually lead up onto the back of Table Mountain. All along the way the Disa river can be seen forming as you pass several strong flowing mountain streams. We went on the hike in late June and the Cape has a heavy rainfall in the winter season. It looked like rain that afternoon and we fully expected to get wet and were geared with light rainwear. It did rain some, but we were lucky to be covered by the forest canopy. The rain intensified the freshness in the air. All the people in our party had already commented on the sweet smells from the varied flora and the clean mountain air.
The views are spectacular. There is so much land up there that you look out on a vista of forest rather than any visible houses. We were really surprised at how close and clear the beachfront in Gordons Bay looked from there. We could clearly see the white waters forming from the waves breaking on the beach. With Judas Peak and the surrounding mountains to our left, the forest below and the sweeping views stretching in front of us, there was often very quiet times in our party as everyone was trying to absorb the unspoiled beauty surrounding us.
After about 45 minutes of walk we came to the largest of the mountain streams. A small water feature was created here. It's nice enough looking with a large moss covered boulder and some work been done to channel and direction of the flow of the stream. Somehow, I wish even the well meaning forestry department could leave it well alone. It's the natural beauty and unspoiled peace of the area that gives it special appeal.
It's here that we reluctantly decided to turn around and head back. Time permitting we could have carried on along the road and our hike could have ended up on top of Table Mountain. It was getting late and as with any hike in the mountains in winter, you must be careful to allow yourself plenty of time to get back before sundown. Although the official time for sunset this late in June may be 6:45pm it can get dark a lot earlier in the forest and in the shadow of big mountains.
Although it was still dusk before we got back to the car the moon had already risen. It was hanging low in the sky, framed by the surrounding mountains. MMMmmmmmmmmmm After reading this I'm sure you will try to include the Orangekloof Nature reserve with its Milkwood forests in your next visit to Hout Bay. Please remember the splendor that you see and help preserve it forever. NEVER touch ANYTHING !!! Is probably the best guidance.
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