The Green Mountain Hiking Trail is out of this world – far enough from urban life to switch off completely – yet offering creature comforts of a relaxing bath and lovely food and wine after a long day’s walk.
Situated just to the east of Cape Town, the Green Mountain range includes parts of the World Heritage Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and offers panoramic views of Table Mountain through Villiersdorp, Theewaterskloofdam, Grabouw, Botriver to a tiny bit of Onrus.
The four-day slackpack trail uses the iconic Wildekrans Guest House as its base camp. The heritage site, located next to the country’s oldest operating hotel, also boast impressive contemporary art. All meals and snacks are included of which the exquisite three-course dinners stand out. The Elgin Grabouw valley has many gems to check out, including farm stalls, wine farms, cycling trails and treetop-gliding. Outings after each days’ hike can be easily arranged and be sure not to miss the PaardenKloof wine tasting at the Wildekrans Guesthouse where owner Mosheen V Moosa is on hand to share his knowledge on the unique wine region.
The first day, although on a Jeep track, is part of the Cape Epic for a reason (18,5km). Endurance and sunscreen is key. Starting at Twaalf Fonteine point, you overlook Theewaterskloof dam in its full glory until you reach the top of the Groenlandberg. The area was originally used for forestry, but because of the wild fires that escalated in this area, the last couple of years, the government has put Cape Nature in charge to make sure the original ecosystems returns.
Day Two is less of an incline, you walk on the foot of the Greenland mountain, crossing over Oak valley and Paul Cluver Wine farms, where a wine tasting is waiting for you after the 15,5km. Walking through the farms, you past old eucalyptus trees, planted by settlers, beehives, apple orchids and ox-wagons trails. You learn about the focus on biodiversity and conservation in the Reserve and if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell the ocean.
On Day three you begin to realize the intense richness of Grabouw’s history. The different cultures that melted together in this area and how the community is living with that legacy today. You learn about the mythological meaning behind- and worthiness of protecting the Protea species, and that somehow we are all shape shifters of culture. The Kogelberg Reserve offers a unique aesthetic where Sewe-jaartjie and Agt-dageneesbos delight the senses.
The last day zigzags through the Houwhoek pass and you get to walk on a tiny bit of the old N2. The majestic gorges harbours lively streams after the winter rain and the abundance is evident in the fauna and flora. An eagles nest is very close to one spectacular coffee break on the path. The Beaumont wine tasting and lunch is the perfect way to end the entire trip.
The Green Trail is the brainchild of Alison Green, Murray Weiner and Dr Paul Cluver who developed the trail from their passion for conservation. Thanks to land-user agreements the route changes and allow hikers to take in rarely seen sites and experiences.
So many flavors, so many moments to enjoy. Broaden your horizons and just do it. For more information visit: www.greenmountain.co.za