Type: Day hike
Total time: 3-4 hours
Colour on map: Light Blue (where it doesn’t share its course with either the 4x4 track or the Tierhout Trail)
The Nieshout, although not as spectacular in beauty as some of the other trails, captures the soul of Kleinrivier in a most unique way.
It starts off to the left, from the gravel road leading to the parking place for the tented camp, about 30m past the access road leading to dassie 3 and 4. It is marked at this point. It crosses the Kleinrivier and follows “Pruimkloof”, until it meets up with the 4x4 track. This section is uphill but not too steep for comfort, and is a pleasant “standalone” hike, if you decide to follow the 4x4 trail, to the left when you meet up with it. This option will bring you back home and should not take more than 1 hour. Difficulty for this section is about 2/5
However, for the main attraction turn right. Follow the 4x4 trail for about 300m and then turn left at the “Nieshout Trail” sign. This section of the hike hugs the contour of the mountain before it starts zigzagging downwards into Nieshoutkloof. The trail, then leading upwards into the kloof, will intimately expose you to rock formations, gnarled dry tree stumps, an abundance of Nieshout, Bosboerboon, Kwar, Teerhout, Buig-my-nie, Spekboom, Kamassie, Forest elder and many other trees, as well as a variety of quaint succulents, which you can observe from close by, in the crevices amongst the cliffs. Go slowly, appreciate the smells and intimacy of the experience, and you will fail to notice the strain of a few rather steep climbs to bypass several waterfalls. It is unlikely to find water to drink in the kloof as it only flows immediately after raining and then only for a short period of time.
Once the trail opens up, with the predominant steep cliff sides being replaced by gentle sloping grass and tree covered sides, the chance of spotting Koedoe, Waterbuck, Klipspringer, Bluewildebeest, Redhartebeest or Rooi Ribbok increases. Follow the trail leading right onto the grassy plain of the eastern plateau and enjoy vistas of fading blue mountain ranges in the distance. Once you reach the 4x4 track, it is decision time. You can turn right and follow the 4x4 track back home which is the easier/safer option, or cross the 4x4 track, continuing with the trail until you reach the Tierhout Trail at a T- junction. Turn right and follow it downwards into the Kleinrivier gorge leading back home.
Remember this downward section is VERY steep, extremely taxing on your knees and asks for agility to clamber over a few difficult spots as well as a good head for heights. This section can be extremely dangerous if you should lose your footing and should not be attempted by the inexperienced hiker.