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Swartberg Pass over the years

Completed by Thomas Bain and his team of convicts in 1888, the Swartberg Pass is now 136 years old, a national monument and a testament to Bain's road-building skills. It winds through 23.8 km and the bulk of it traverses the Swartberg Nature Reserve, linking the...

Cape of Good Hope Trail once again

Once I wrote, a bit arrogantly, that life was too short to repeat a hiking trail. I have since broken this "rule" many times and this trail, the Cape of Good Hope Trail, is increasingly responsible for these "transgressions". The trail is like an old friend, familiar...

Fairy Glen – Plateau – Kasteelkopnek trail

The Kleinmond-Palmiet area features many scenic trails which are not managed by CapeNature, but by the Overstrand Municipality and volunteer organisations. Many of them originate from the vicinity of the Fairy Glen picnic site near the Palmiet River bridge. This...

Smitswinkel – Simon’s Town recce

"Do you want to join me to recce an alternative route from Smitswinkel to Simon's Town?", Santie asked. Love to, I said. The recent fire above the town had burnt the Swartkop ridge to a crisp and the route along the ridge from Smitswinkel to Simon's Town,  a...

Paddling with wild horses

Rooisand Nature Reserve A herd of wild horses has roamed the Bot - Kleinmond estuary and wetland for perhaps a century or more. The free roaming herd is actually feral and comprises about twenty-eight individuals. Many websites repeat the three theories about their...
Balloch High Rim hike

Balloch High Rim hike

During April we three MCSA Stellenbosch section members - Sonja, Paul and me - made the long trek to that part of the Eastern Cape that forms the southern border with Lesotho, to participate in the MCSA national mini-camp hosted by the Free State section. Although I...

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Boating the Lot River

Boating the Lot River

After the hugely enjoyable canal boat trip on the Canal du Midi five years ago, another French self-navigating boating holiday was always in our future. With seven months of long leave due before retirement, the opportunity presented itself and we convinced the...

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Cycling Connemara

Cycling Connemara

Having booked another canal boat adventure in southern France and been invited to Belgium by the Verhoevens, the first week of our European visit was still undecided. As Marion is of Irish descent, a trip to the emerald isle has been on the cards at some stage. So...

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Klein Hangklip

Klein Hangklip

As the name suggests, Klein Hangklip is a smaller replica of Hangklip peak located further south at Cape Hangklip. Hangklip is the sentinel east of False Bay's entrance. In the age of sail, many a navigator mistook Hangklip for the Cape of Good Hope and ended up being...

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Rooiels River walk

Rooiels River walk

This was my first hike from our new home in Rooiels, having moved to this coastal paradise in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve five weeks ago. We quickly came to realise that we have landed in the middle of a contest between the preservationists/conservationists who...

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Simonsberg

Simonsberg

Simonsberg has been a looming, brooding presence in my life for almost fifty years. It towered to starboard daily on the short walks to engineering classes, and later on the cycle commutes to work. In stressful times when I needed calm and to gaze at something...

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Welcome to RalphPina.com

Thank you for visiting my outdoor blog. RalphPina.com documents my experiences over many years of appreciating, and adventuring in, Nature. It celebrates visual beauty, advocates minimal impact, reflects on humans’ relationship with our ecosphere, spans the planet but focuses on the wild diversity of southern Africa. Photos, videos and GPS maps of hiking, cycling, kayaking, abseiling, canoeing and windsurfing..

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