We met at Porcupine Hills on Monday afternoon, where we spent a comfortable first night, but not before we had had an excellent tasting of Winter’s Drift wines and a very good dinner provided by our hosts, Tony and Cha Davenport.
Next morning we traveled by bus and pick-up truck to our starting point on the slopes above Twaalffontein Estate. The weather was balmy and we made our way up to the top of Groenberg where we enjoyed a picnic lunch, with views over the Elgin Valley. The walk back down to the Viljoen’s Pass pick up point was beautiful with vast fields of everlastings (Syncarpha vestita). Another night at Porcupine Hills meant that we had another excellent meal, as well as the usual cameraderie that occurs between ten good friends. After walking 18 kilometres we were soon ready for bed!
On Wednesday we set out from Viljoen’s Pass on the second leg of our journey. This took us along the lower slopes of the mountain and above the beautiful Oak Valley and Paul Cluver Estates. Alison Green met us with a wonderful picnic lunch and we were able to relax before completing our walk to Fresh Restaurant where we enjoyed some cold beer and a tasting of Paul Cluver wines, not to mention a sumptuous tea! We had had a long day and were glad to see the bus which then took us to Wildekrans Country House at Houwhoek where we spent the next two nights. Alison ensured that we were well looked after and the dinner that night once more ensured that we would not go hungry!
Next day we were taken back to Fresh to commence our walk to Houwhoek. We wandered through the amphitheatre and then on to the challenging cycle trail with its fascinating array of bridges which we had to cross, before setting out through orchards and vineyards. We eventually came back into fynbos and enjoyed another good hike ending up at Wildekrans once more. A free afternoon meant that some of us could enjoy the luxury of a good massage to ease our tired legs! That evening Christian, the winemaker from Gabrielskloof, entertained us with a very competent and amusing wine tasting, before we once again sat down for a wonderful dinner.
Our last day saw us heading out of Houwhoek and along the old wagon trail, before we branched off into the mountains once more and on to Beaumont Estate. It was warm and we wasted no time in donning our bathing trunks for a swim in the dam, after which we had a delicious lunch provided by Jane Beaumont.
Finally, we were transported back to Porcupine Hills where we were re-united with our cars for our journey home. We had all thoroughly enjoyed the outing and were exhausted, but buoyed by the challenges we had survived. The guides who accompanied us on our walks, and everybody whom we came into contact with, did an excellent job and ensured that we were at all times comfortable and well informed. I can certainly recommend this trail!