On Friday, Zainu messaged me and asked if I could take her family visiting from Johannesburg on a hike. Her photos on Facebook have inspired them to do as she does. Coincidentally, my sister in law’s (Fierdous) brother (Junaid) is married to Zainu’s niece and they too joined us on today’s hike.
As it is a family of beginners, I asked Volunteer Sanparks Ranger Saeed to pretty please assist me and to my relief, he did. We discussed possible alternative routes to the Cave but told him that we should first see the size of the group before we decide which route we were to do. I also didn’t post the hike in the Whatsapp group as this was for Zainu’s family. 7:30am was the set time as I had to first drop my daughter at her lift.
On the way to Table Mountain, it started raining! I did check the weather forecast yesterday and no rain was predicted and I do not have my rain jacket with (although I always carry my emergency poncho in my bag), I doubt that the rest would be prepared for rain. Rain didn’t last long anyway and the roads were dry by the time I got to Gardens haha.
When I got to Kloof Nek car park, I was pleasantly surprised to see old hiking buddy Razaan there. Razaan is hiker turned runner haha. A lot of hikers do this. She then told me that Zainu was still at home but leaving shortly.
Everyone arrives and asked Saeed to lead while I sweep and check in with Mountain Safety and Tracking. 7:45am, 15pax, Wally’s Cave from Kloof Nek, ETA 11:30am.
We take our group photo at the start of the path and we are merrily on our way at a good pace and the guy just in front of me, taking lots of photos. Memories he will keep with him for a long time J Also, I could take photos without holding anyone up hehe. The humidity haze wasn’t conducive to the most clearest of pics.
On the gravel winding path, the pace understandably slows down with the constant incline and the hikers are scattered about. When I don’t see Volunteer Sanparks Ranger Saeed in front, I phone him but he doesn’t answer. I then tell Zainu that I’m going ahead but will be back. I run up to catch up with the leader and tell him to slow down and regroup as we have to hike as one.
After this, we regrouped several times even when I told him they can go ahead when Junaid struggles up the path to Wally’s. He tells me it’s because he is fat. He is not at all fat; he is very tall and well built. I stay with him all the way with encouragement. The group waits for us at the old fire lookout where they are having a ball with photos.
It’s then when Volunteer Sanparks Ranger Saeed says that Junaid should lead and this way we all hike at the slowest pace.
We reach the cave with everyone in high spirits and photos ensued. With a group of 15, this does take time but we all didn’t get the compulsory photos. Me not taking many photos as I was directing the various poses lol. I hope to add some of those when I see them. Below are some of the photos I received after I posted my blog.
They had so much fun in the cave that I had to remind them to eat haha.
Volunteer Sanparks Ranger Saeed then decided to take an alternative route down instead and I agreed when he showed me which way. Off we go and don’t take the turnoff I thought we would and end up at the congested route just after the first ladder. There’s a queue of people going up and down and he directs them. After a few minutes I shout ahead that he is not on Ranger duty and that he is responsible for us and not the whole mountain lol.
When we are finally on the path and I’m in the crowds and as I don’t do crowds, I felt my mood deteriorating. The only time I will do a Lion’s Head hike is midweek sunsets, never full moon and only sunrise hikes just because of human peak hour traffic. Unless I’m emotionally prepared for this. Today I was not and asked Zainu to sweep and off I go. I eventually pass Saeed and told him I can’t do this and went ahead on my own at my own pace and when I finally pass through the congestion, I am happy again ^_^
Not much litter on the mountain and I’m thinking that ‘The Friends of Lion’s Head’ group must have done a clean up when just then, I see discarded bottles and cans off the path. Damaging fynbos in order to retrieve the litter. There’s also a lady with a sprained ankle but a Sanparks Ranger is with her and they are waiting for a lift down.
I decided that I was going to wait for them at the bench and it seems that litterbugs use this section as a rubbish dump and go down to the stench of urine. Seems its the loo as well sigh
The rest of the group eventually catch up with me and both Saeed and I are now sweeping lol. So proud of the group when they knew where to turn off. Final group photos are taken at the spot we started and pick up even more litter along the road. Soon my rubbish bag was filled to capacity sigh.
I check out of Tracking at 11:15 and everyone is happy in their accomplishment. 😀 I too enjoyed the hike and their company with much crazy laughter. I will forever remember ‘I give you one of my yoghurt sweets for 5 of your ghost pops’
Thank you Volunteer Sanparks Ranger Saeed for assisting me (and helping me pick up litter) today after a long while. Especially since we created the Beginner group together, even though today wasn’t a Beginner Group hike.
And so my holidays are over. What an insane week it was. Christmas day my trail run from Rhodes to the Carousal with a detour to the Reservoir and exploring the abandoned zoo. Tuesday morning, assisting newbie hikers up Spilhaus Buttress then played on the beach. Tuesday night, Sunset Wally’s Cave and Wednesday, Scuba Diving. Thursday my long awaited Trail Run with Bestie from Newlands to Kirstenbosch even though we walked most of the way due to intense heat. Saturday, Archery and later the night, Keeping you in Stitches with Riaad Moosa and friends. New Years Day, my awesome sunrise hike to Mc Clears Beacon and today Wally’s Cave again.
Special thanks to Mountain Tracking and Safety 😀
Tomorrow is work and back to reality. I am ready J
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading.