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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...

Witels

I've long heard of it and I've always wanted to go there. Much of the area is owned by the UCT Mountain and Ski Club and the Mountain Club (MCSA) is able to obtain permits. I went with the Stellenbosch section of the MCSA. But be warned: be fit or be young... From...

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Klein River by kayak

The Klein River and Vlei near Hermanus can apparently claim that: at 80 km in length, the Klein River is the river with the shortest distance between its origin and its mouth in the world - 5 km as the crow flies (according to the Stanford Tourism Bureau) the bird...

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Doring River rafting

The Doring drains the Tankwa Karoo through the Cederberg range into the Olifants River. It can only be rafted in the winter-rainfall months of July to September. Photos and a Google Earth file. The weather forecast for this weekend promised nothing good. Consecutive...

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A caracal in Stellenbosch

A few weeks ago, after the fires that charred the mountains in the Jonkershoek valley, I was cycling to work through the Jan Marais Nature Reserve which is located near the centre of town. As I rounded a corner I was stunned to see a beautiful big caracal standing in...

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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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