More Table Mountain – India Venster to Skeleton Gorge and Kirstenbosch

 


Starting at the lower Cable Car station the India Venster (meaning Indian Window in Afrikaans) trail soon crosses the contour path and runs steeply up the mountain side. It is generally considered to be on the more difficult side and partly closer to climbing then hiking.


The trail passes under the cable car several times during the first part and every time I see the car pass by me I get this mixed feelings of envying the easy transport and pity the passengers missing out on this beautiful and fun hike!
I have to admit that the trail is so much fun, I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the view every now and then!

Getting even better during the second half of the trail, almost vertical at times yet with great grips and threads not really difficult to climb. Still I recommend anyone being advert to heights to chose another route up this mountain. Some parts are very close to the edge along impressing drops!

Heading for the Café at the upper station for a nice double Cortado I made a new friend from Perth, Australia and got company for the rest of the hike. We took the trail leading south to the Woodhead reservoir, crossed the dam and turned east heading for Kirstenbosch Garden through Skeleton gorge.

Just before reaching the gorge and at the most eastern end of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir there´s a fantastic sandy area almost forming a beach right on the mountain. Had swimming in the reservoirs been allowed, this had been a great place for a refreshing dip 😀

The decent through Skeleton Gorge soon follows a creek carrying no water this time of the year yet should be impossible to pass during rain fall. Leading through beautiful shady forrest and offering fun climbing parts and even a few ladders it´s a treat after the scourging sun on the top af the mountain. A short walk after reaching the bottom of the gorge lies the botanical garden of Kirstenbosch, unfortunately I didn´t have time to explore the garden itself, got that saved for another day!

Please leave a comment to tell me what You think and share this with friends and loved ones who might benefit or be interested!

 

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Peace // Claes

Avakas Gorge

When I first visited Cyprus in March 2008 I stayed with friends in Anarita outside Paphos in the western part of the island. Naturally they recommended a few sites to visit, one of them the canyon Avakas Gorge. That time I wore flip flops and was unable to safely proceed very far up the trail.

Since I’ve read about the hike I became intrigued to continue through the whole canyon and climb to the crest, finding another way back to the coast. Due to living on the opposite side of the island I never got to do it… Until today!

Spending the weekend at a wonderful hotel nearby I chose to go for a short walk through the hills after breakfast and the idea of hiking Avakas Gorge took over my mind.
Said and done, 25 min later I parked the car and set out with 1.5l of water in the backpack and not much more.

Shortly after starting I checked my iPhone and, YES, the hike qualifies to be on here – no signal 😉

In short it was a beautiful hike involving some climbing and crawling over and under obstacles. Still, if you´re reasonably fit and into hiking it´s just a treasure of fun and enjoyment. Due to the presence of water the vegetation is rather lush for Cyprus and marvelous pink flowers enhance the beauty of the path.

No need for hiking boots here, sneakers are cool or any kind of sport shoes. I used my beloved Five Fingers and they did the trick just fine!

The whole tour took around 2.5 hours and I neither stressed it, nor lingered long anywhere. Trickiest part was that after climbing out of the actual gorge up to the right, be sure to follow the trails that climb the hillside to avoid getting to close to the edge of the canyon.
Initially it looks like you can take a shortcut, but that would be costly!

Track is easy to follow and after some time turns into wheel tracks and then a dirt road. Back at the parking lot there’s a water faucet with portable water for refreshment!

Good luck, have fun and love the experience!!!