There is not much fun that is too far from Cape Town. Suicide Gorge Hike take your an hour’s drive up and off the N2 highway, over delicious apple country and into the Hottentots Holland Mountains.
I was in awe of the beauty of this trail and the epic sense of adventure acquired from canyoning down the river, rocks, and waterfalls. It certainly takes both breaths away.
First things first, make sure you book in advance with Cape Nature. Planning this adventure is key. It is not something you can organize on a Friday for the Saturday morning. All due respect to the laid back Cape Town crew.
You will need to go with someone who is a guide or experienced at doing this hike. It is an extremely difficult route involving about 17km of gear carrying, cliff jumping and cold water swimming. Inform friends and relatives where you are going, what time you will be back and the contact details of Cape Nature.
Dress appropriately. Some folk wear wetsuits. I just wore a quick dry top and swimming tights that stopped chaff and an old pair of light trail shoes. Make sure you have a day pack and dry bag with water, food, first aid, sun protection and spare clothes. A cell phone in a double layer of waterproofing is your lifeline, in the case of an emergency.
On the list of items, I lost to the river was a cap, bandana, water bottle and cell phone. Not to mention everything else I had was soaked and thus heavy. Try and travel light although a few survival items are key. I will cover a blog later on the essentials of day adventures.
By now, if you are still reading this, you have a glimmer of wildness in that heart of yours. The excitement building, as you hike the first 8km to the start of the gorge. The mountain peaks shadows over you and the landscape somewhat similar to that in Lord of the Rings. Granite geology, rugged plant life, and cracks into the depth of the earth. So small in this giant wilderness that fills my heart.
The gorge is a 1.7km slide, jump, swim and scramble that will take the majority of the 8-9 hour experience. Feet first down natural granite slides into crystal pools will refresh your soul. Feel the freedom as you launch off cliffs, pin dropping into the deep granite pools below. One after another like leap frog you conquer the beast that entraps you in its high walls.
Take time to enjoy the peace as you wade through pools, lay on warm rocks and shower under waterfalls. Time away from the city and stress. Ironically not a place of suicide but definitely a feel of heaven.
Make sure you hydrate and eat often, as the gorge is tiring and you still have about 6km of uphill as you hike out and back to your vehicle. You may hear fellow hikers comment on how this is the longest part. Tired, wet and cold the strength of your mind will pull you through. Well done! You are a survivor. Nothing but Mother Nature can beat you.
Enjoy this short clip I put together with a song called Ancestors by local band Al Bairre. See you down range.