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Spanning the red stone arches

Red Stone Hills One of the great advantages of being "retired" is that my time is my own. So, when Leonie invited my to join her and Sonja to explore the arches of Red Stone Hills after our almost-abortive hike at Gamkaberg, I accepted with alacrity. On a previous...

Gamkaberg Plan B

As much as I respect the conservation work that CapeNature does with limited resources, their treatment of hikers especially leaves much to be desired. Leonie had booked an MCSA outing to do the Tierkloof Trail which cuts north-south through the Gamkaberg back in...

Fonteintjiesberg

One of the gaps in my Mountain Club (Stellenbosch) portfolio is the annual hike up to Fonteintjiesberg and Brandwacht Peak, using the club's Thomas Hut as a base. Finally, I joined Leonie's scheduled trip, expecting a major uphill slog with a full pack. As it...

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...
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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The Kogelberg Trail

The Kogelberg Trail

The Kogelberg Trail is a circular, 24 km hiking trail in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Last weekend's walk was fifth time that I have done it, as I remember. All the gradients are gradual, there is no exposure nor scrambles and the trail has few obstacles. It is...

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Kloofing Visgat

Kloofing Visgat

Almost by accident I was nominated to lead a MCSA Stellenbosch section kloofing trip down the Visgat canyon. Visgat is a highlight of the MCSA Cape Town section's summer calendar and they kindly allocate a few dates to Stellenbosch. The fact that I could have easily...

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Zebra stripes and yellow streaks

Zebra stripes and yellow streaks

The MCSA Stellenbosch's first official post-lockdown outing was a weekend hike to Zebra Peak (1458m ASL; Sebrakop on national geo-spatial maps) on Piketberg. It is located on private land on the plateau rim, north-east of most of the cultivated lands. With the...

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HH Epic Trail

HH Epic Trail

Hepic Trail for short. The Hepic is a private hiking trail that follows the route of the original Epic cycle trail above the railway line that snakes out of the Helderberg bowl. It is located north-east of the Gantouw Pass below Hanskop. Access has to be arranged...

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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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