Eastern Cape, Oyster Bay

About

Antjie se Pad was named after a certain Antjie Stuurman who worked on the farm in the 1930s. Every day, she walked about 10 km over a hill called Blouberg to reach the Witteklip farmstead.

Antjie se Pad was started to help fund our other Non Profit Organization – Living Water Ministries. Living Water Ministries holds leadership camp for under privileged children at no cost. Through this we wish to encourage the next generation in leadership.

We believe that equipping the young with essential qualities will make all the difference in days to come. We sow into these children’s lives and know that the harvest will be bountiful. Living Water also focuses on teaching the children good moral values and lasting values.

So, when you support Antjie se Pad, you are supporting so much more.  Of course, Antjie se Pad has its own unique experience to offer. With a great workout and amazing scenes – true tranquillity.

Antjie se pad is a 5-day/4-night hike or you can book a 3-day/2-night hike. (If doing the 3-day hike you will only hike Day 1, 3 and 5).  It is a moderately difficult hike (difficulty rating by hikers as 3A), with the day layout as follows:

Day 1 = 15.5km, Day 2 = 8.1km, Day 3 = 10.5km, Day 4 = 11.5km, (there is also an option for 9km extra with a view over the Kouga River, making the total for Day 4: 21km – however, this is only for experienced hikers), Day 5 10.8km.  

The route is suited for people with hiking fitness.

Distance :55.93 km
Location: Zuurveldt (Near Kareedouw) Eastern Baviaans, Eastern Cape
Duration: 4 Nights, 5 days
Guided: No
Max Capacity: 12
Minimum Capacity: 4

Overnight sleeping is at two Rustic Huts

At both the huts called Waterval and Slagkamer. There is a flushing outside toilet and a hot water shower at Slagkamer; and a longdrop and hot water shower at Waterval.
The nights are very dark, and no lamps are provided, so don’t forget to bring torches and/or headlamps. Please do not use candles as they are a fire risk.

Water

There are water tanks at the overnight site that provides water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and showers. Depending on the season and local rainfall, you may find streams and springs along the length of Antjie se pad that are suitable for drinking purposes as well. However, it may be wise to use purification tablets/filters especially if you are not used to this water. On the route at certain locations, we have placed small water tanks for your convenience. Unless it has been very dry, there are dams/pools along the way for swimming.

Fires

Fires are only allowed in the designated fire place provided. Firewood is provided. Please do not collect wood from the natural environment. Dead bushes and branches provide important habitat for a wide variety of insects and animals. They are a vital part of the fire load in the veld for natural burning cycles.

This is a high-risk fire area. Please ensure that your fires and coals are completely doused any time you leave the fire area – at night and in the morning.

Important Safety Considerations

Please note that this hiking route is also safe for a “women only” hiking group.  There is cell phone reception on the trail on top of the mountain but not in the valleys, and truly little vehicle access, so it is difficult to let us know of emergencies in a hurry.

This is a risk you accept when walking Antjie se pad. Antjie se pad goes through natural wilderness with all the risks associated with wild animals, snakes, insects, unpredictable weather, and a strenuous hike. Carry the following safety items with you: first aid kit, survival bag, thermal blanket.

In the event of an emergency, ensure that someone remains with the person/people affected while at least two people return to Base Camp or the nearest emergency point.

In the event of mountain fires or floods, stay together and use your best judgment as to the safest course of action. We will be doing our best to come to your aid. Seek natural shelter and avoid high areas during dangerous weather such as thunderstorms.

The area has a variety of venomous snakes, including puff adders and Cape cobra. Refresh your knowledge of how to handle snake/spider bites and scorpion stings. Leopard spoor can be seen on the trail, and very occasionally you may catch a glimpse of one of these shy creatures. Baboons in the area still have their natural caution and fear of humans. They will move away when they see hikers. They do not come to the campsites looking for human food. Your support and cooperation in this regard is very important. Please do not feed the baboons. Do not leave food out or throw scraps into the bushes.

When you leave the campsites each morning, ensure that all your rubbish go with you
 

When to Hike and the Weather

Antjie se pad is a great hike at any time of the year.  Summer is hot with the daily average in December, January, and February at 28 degrees Celsius. Days can get up to the high 30s, so be prepared to walk in the early mornings and late afternoons. Autumn and Spring (March, April, May, September, October, and November) can provide great fair-weather hiking, with average temperatures in the early 20s. As winter approaches, an occasional cold front will blow through, dropping temperatures considerably.

Winter days in June, July and August are often perfect for a long day’s hiking if you don’t like the heat, with temperatures averaging around 16 degrees Celsius. Nights drop to zero though, so make sure you have a warm sleeping bag, hot water bottle. Rain in the Kouga
Mountains is an unpredictable affair. All months of the year have only around 4 days of rain so, statistically, your chances of dry weather are pretty good.

Like all mountain areas, the Kouga Mountains can experience a range of weather conditions over any 3-day period. You are advised to prepare for rain, wind, cold and heat.

Click here for a temperature graph of Baviaanskloof.

Age and Fitness

Antjie se pad is a relatively difficult hike, with the longest day being 15.5km. The hike is for people of good/moderate hiking fitness.

Unfit hikers should not attempt the trail.

The recommended age range of 12 to 65 years is used as indicative, due to the physical demands of the trail. We will not stop hikers outside of this age range – but encourage you to be realistic about your own ability and limits. All hikers below 12 years of age should be accompanied by their parents/guardians who will be legal signatories to Indemnity Forms (to be submitted with copies of their identity document or passport before undertaking the trail). There are relatively steep ascents and descents, so please be cautious if you have previously injured your ankles and/or knees.

Base Camp Accommodation (Witteklip)

For those traveling from afar, or those not wanting to be rushed on the first or last day, we have a house to rent at Base Camp(Witteklip) [R1 000 per night/sleeps twelve]. Put your feet up, take a rewarding hot shower, and relive your hike with your group.

Packing List

  • Essential Gear
  • Water Bottle
  • Purification tablets
  • Filters Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Food Matches or firelighters
  • First aid kit
  • Knife
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Footwear
  • Hiking Boots
  • Clothing
  • Rain jacket Warm clothing – if winter
  • Hat Accessories
  • Plastic Garbage Bags
  • Toilet Paper
  • Repair sewing kit
  • Gadgets & Extras
  • Cell phone Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Fire Kettle
  • Own cooking utensils

Information about the Flora of the trail

Antjie se pad is on the farm Witteklip. The nearest towns to the hiking trail are Humansdorp (55km) and Kareedouw (45km). The trail is aptly named Antjie se pad because Antjie lived at the back of Blouberg and had to track the 10km over the mountain every day to work at the farmhouse and in the evening returned to her own house. You will sleep day 2 where Antjie stayed and on day 1 walk the trail to where she stayed. The trail follows burn paths on the farm Witteklip and you will find at times in the most remote parts sheep grazing in the Fynbos. You will also walk past Honey bush tee plants on the Southern slopes of the mountain.

The Baviaanskloof Cedar is classified as “Near Threatened” in the recent Red Data List assessments done in 2006 for the IUCN. It occurs in the Baviaanskloof and Kouga Mountains in the Eastern Cape. It is endemic to this area and can be found in rocky ravines and growing on steep cliff faces in kloofs. You can experience this unique tree at the Boesman cave on day 2 of the hike.

Distribution

This species is endemic to South Africa, found at the meeting point of the Western and Eastern Cape, confined to the Baviaanskloof and Kouga Mountains. Ideal habitat is around 70-1220 m elevation in rocky ravines in the low rainfall areas.

Conservation issues

The species is under threat due to various impacting factors. All accessible specimens have been burnt or cut out and destroyed, so that trees of any substantial size are now confined to remote rocky ravines and can be seen only with great effort (Palgrave 2002). Personal communication with local farmers reports past use of the wood for the construction of fences and for building timber. It is presently under threat from runaway fires. Off-road tracks have been identified as a possible future threat to this species unless strictly controlled, as 4 x 4 vehicles disturb habitats and destroy the fragile saplings. Conservation efforts focus on the propagation of the species in few nurseries and planting efforts put in place by FOBWA. Author: Mervyn Brouard (2012).

Rates:

  • R720.00 pp
  • R1500.00 pp – Slackpacking
  • R1000.00 per night – Basecamp (Witteklip).
  • R55.00 once off admin fee per reservation.

You need to be able to get your own vehicle to the Witteklip Conference Centre, from where you will be hiking from.

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