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Winterhoek Trail

Distance: 10km
Type: Day hike
Difficulty: 3/5
Total time: 5-6 hours
Colour on map: Orange

This trail exhibits the most spectacular views of mountain ranges, valleys and the Karoo that Kleinrivier has to offer

Tackle this hike when the weather is good but not too hot. Be aware that the weather can change very quickly and always be prepared for that.

Starting at the pool at Stone Mountain lodge the trail follows the contour all the way to Dwarsberg. (Dwarsberg is the ridge linking upper Chases kloof to Strydomskop)This is pretty easy walking for about 2 km. When you reach Dwarsberg, your breath will be taken away by the Winterhoek, Baviaanskloof, Elandsrivier and even the Tsitsikamma mountain ranges furrowing the landscape. The track then gently undulates up and down as it hugs Dwarsberg ridge towards Stydomskop. Notice the valleys unfolding on both sides with cycads dotting the upper slopes.

On reaching Strydomskop turn left onto the lower slopes of the highest peak on Kleinrivier until you reach the only steep uphill of the hike. Just before it starts zigzagging upwards for about 200 metres, you will find a shady spot which will offer a pleasant opportunity for a break. The effort is well worth your while, when you reach the top edge and have your breath blown away again – this time by the distant mountains painting impossible hues of blue on the Karoo palette in the distance. If you want to climb to the top of Strydomskop, to experience a 360 degree view, this is the ideal point to do it from as it is really an easy climb from here and worth your while. You will have to find your own way to the top as we decided not cut a trail.

To continue the trail, follow the contour of the northern Strydomskop slope, traversing intricate but not technically difficult ledges, until you reach huge rock boulders under a dense leafy canopy. This section asks for a bit of a clamber and can be dangerously slippery when wet. Lunch if you haven’t yet. On exiting this mini-forest go down a steep section which is somewhat taxing on the knees. Now circle back, under steep cliffs until you reach Dwarsberg again. Take the same route back to the lodge.

Remember to take water on this hike as none is available.

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