I wanted to do this hike forever ago but couldn’t remember the route. Last I did Boomslang Cave was 6.5 years ago and took too little photos to map out the route from there. I couldn’t even remember where the start was as it can be done from several points. Even from Silvermine Gate 2. I needed help on this one and about a month back I asked on the Western Cape Social hiking page on Facebook. Woohoo! I found a leader!!!
Abduragmaan and I discussed times and starting points and notices were sent out to our various groups. Don’t forget torches/headlamps not one word about bats mentioned 😀 I don’t want to scare my hikers away but like to surprise them on the route lol. Some do Google though.
Anyway, we are to meet at 7:15 for 7:30am. Just in time for me to get sunrise photos! Except, we were not on the ideal spot to catch the sunrise! While waiting for the rest of the group, I quickly go up the stairs and walk and walk and walk, looking for a clearing and got distracted by a Giraffe carved into a rock on the path. Really? Why? Who? but anyway couldn’t find a wide enough clearing but saw down the road how far I am and noticed that I could’ve just stand on the wall! So ran down again as it started raining (slightly). I had to be careful as my phone may be waterproof but my power bank isn’t. One of my cousins laughed that I still have my phone permanently connected to a power bank lol. Soon! Soon I will finally be getting a new phone!
Back to the group and wait for the last to arrive and check 21pax into Mountain Safety and Tracking at 7:40am with 11:30am ETA. Reminded Abduragmaan that he had a friend who knew the route? Pointed to the guy next to him who did the route 2 weeks ago! Great! He’s leading! I would be sweeping and off we go! Had to call some back down as I forgot about group photo lol.
Further up we go and nothing looks familiar! No recollections whatsoever! It’s as if I’ve never done this route before but I have the photos to prove it! Also! My daughter was with sigh. Whatever! Sigh
Another group pass us and my cousins know them and the beginner hikers complain that this is not easy lol. *rolling my eyes*. I reassure them that this was a beginner hike and someone mentioned that Adam Spires vlogged that it’s a 45 minute walk to the cave without a child on your back. Uncle Nazeem knew that we were to do this hike today so he shared the link on my Facebook wall. I see now that Adam also took a different route to the one we did.
When the path flattened out, I don’t see my leaders but assumed they would wait for us at forks. I was wrong lol. Do we go straight or turn right? I don’t know. I told my cousin not to worry, I have a map which I took out and said we are to go straight. To make sure though, I phoned Abdurgmaan. Twice. But his phone went to voicemail. Then phoned Zarina and she confirmed that we are to go straight and off we go.
I am in complete awe of my surroundings! The diverse fynbos was astonishing! Post fire variety and I’m happy! Views I haven’t seen in years! So long that I couldn’t even remember it lol. I’m thinking though, that the trees were much higher and couldn’t see much back then? Then one of the cousins mentioned the heart and I’m like what heart? I don’t know of any heart on a rock. Someone mentioned to him that if he sees the heart, we are on the right path. I see the heart and of course I have to get a closer look plus photos! And of course there’s litter scattered about. I would pick it up on our way back.
There’s a turn-off and not sure if it’s the right turn off. My cousin reminded me that it’s the second one. Phoned Zarina again and she confirmed that it’s the second one and there’s a directional sign with Boomslang Cave onit! Great! Off and up we go again. Now we are among thorn bushes haha! Abduragmaan and his friend is waiting for us on a rock and said we are 5 minutes from the cave.
I get there and look around. Again, not familiar! Walk about and can’t see the entrance. Asked Zarina if anything looks familiar and she says no. She can’t even remember that she’s done this hike before lol. She did. I have the photos to prove it. I then ask where the entrance is and they pointed it out. Oh! The entrance is actually the exit! They normally crawl in and walk out where we would walk in and crawl out! I reminded Zarina of this and then she remembered doing the hike lol.
The leaders decided go ahead as they waited a long time for us. I decided to give my group another break. Quick snack break before heading in as I wanted to have breakfast at the foresty bit on the other side. If there was still a foresty bit.
Headlamps and torches on and I’m leading the way. What I remember about Boomslang Caves is that it has a maze of tunnels that all join up and I have to do this route in reverse from when we did it before. Odd that I remember route inside the cave but nothing from the route outside lol.
As we are crawling through on our hands and knees, I hear a lot of moaning and groaning and ‘ouches’ and ‘einas’ and excited chatter from the kids. I take videos and photos and soon we can stand up again and everyone is now as excited as the kids. Despite the ‘ordeal’ getting to the cave, the beginners say it was worth it and thanked me. This is the joy I get taking beginners on hikes. For them to experience the same pleasure and I am content.
Deeper into the cave and the air becomes danker and smellier and can’t even hear the bats over the noise the hikers are making after they discover there are bats in the cave lol. I can’t even see them until I shine my light on them and could only hear them when I was directly under them. The hikers are now in a hurry to get out and I lead from behind. Just told them to keep left and eventually see light at the end of the tunnel and someone graffitied ‘Boomslang Cave’ at the Entrance/Exit. I honestly can’t say if it was there 6 years ago. Don’t think I looked behind me back then.
The spot I remembered where I wanted to have breakfast was occupied by the group that passed us at the start of the hike but the area outside the cave was bigger than I remember so no biggie and had breakfast. Leaders of course long gone.
Done eating and I explore a bit and soak up the views and look for the return parth, it started raining. I duck for shelter but everyone else was unperturbed. Huh? Oh! They were sheltered from the rain haha!
Before leaving, I pick up some of the most obvious litter and rush off to catch up with the rest of the group. There are steps going up and a path heading down. I knew both would end up at the same place so said to go down as the kids were going down already. Go to the view point, take some photos and back on the path again.
When we make the bend, we are unsure which way to go down and call down the group ahead of us and answer back that we should just carry on until we see an easy way to go down. I walk along and look for this easy way down and call out to my cousin to come back as it’s down where I’m standing. It doesn’t look easy for them until I saw the cairn few steps ahead and said trust me, its there. The path is also clear from there down. My one cousin managed to sit in a thorn bush but didn’t want me to take a photo of her tush covered in thorns lol. It was on this downhill that my naughty knee started giving me problems SIGH It was also then that the leaders confirmed that they were pressed for time and on their way home J
Back on the flat path and I pick up litter. Lots of litter. Back at the Heart and pick upeven more with the kids helping me but tell them not to pick up too much as my bag is beginning to fill. It was filled to the brim that my one cousin said that he didn’t even see any litter along the route lol. Eventually I stopped picking up as I had no more space and had to carry a broken 2l bottle in my other hand.
Checked out of Tracking at 11:30am. How’s that for timing 😛
Thanks guys! Thoroughly enjoyed this hike! Thank you leaders for making it possible and sort of showing me the way again lol. Now that I’m thinking harder about the route. We went further than the first Boomslang sign, into the forest, round the back, stopped at the carousel and entered the cave from the right. MUST do this route again sometime!
I also know where our next easy hike will be but I will confirm closer to the time I decide on a date hehe.
Until my next mountain adventure, ciao for now and thank you for reading this very long blog!
PS – photo cred to my cousins on some of the pics
PPS – wrote this yesterday (Sunday) but only uploaded pics and published today