This hike will long be remembered for the sweet surprise of a birthday cake at 1105 m ASL. Yolanda and Kevin hatched West from Somerset-Sneeukopthe plot and Kevin carried it up in his already very full pack. He even played dumb when I happened to mention that it was my birthday as we took photos from the summit of Somerset-Sneeukop.

It was a mountain club weekend outing and I figured that there are few better ways to spend a birthday than up in our beloved Jonkershoek mountains over a warm and sunny weekend in midwinter. We walked up Swartboskloof and set up camp in the high valley beyond the top of the kloof on the way to Sterrekykerskop. The stream that runs through it drains into the First Waterfall. Three of us, Kevin, Philip and myself, then headed for Somerset-Sneeukop. Somerset-Sneeukop, at 1590m the second highest peak in the Hottentots-Holland Reserve, dominates the Helderberg bowl. On this particular day the views were clear and blue in every direction (a week later the peak would be blanketed with snow).

We arrived back at camp shortly before nightfall to find the rest of the party settled in and cooking supper. The next day we decided to follow the valley down to Groenkloof where a very steep descent took us back into Swartboskloof.

NOTE: Our route through the high valley and down Groenkloof is not a recognised trail. Camping is also prohibited. ┬áThe mountain club obtains special permission to take small parties on these routes and set up wild camps. One more reason to join the MCSA …

A GPS track, photos and a short video follow…

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Celebrating 56
North from Somerset-Sneeukop
The locals

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