Hi-Tec SA

Spes Bona Valley

Visit the Hi-Tec factory shop for great deals:
Mon - Fri | 09:00 - 17:30
Sat | 09:00 - 17:00; Sun | 09:00 - 14:00
 
+27(0)21 555 0707
Shop F1&F2 | Access Park | Chichester Rd
www.hi-tec.com
HiTec_SA
Hi-Tec SA
CapeTownMag

Spes Bona Valley

Hiking the coast line

According to a Greek myth the place Tartarus is an abyss in the underworld - an ominous name for a cave but perhaps an appropriate one considering that Johan Meyers, who named it, was once a school teacher. In 1924 he retired to Kalk Bay to spend his days by the sea in the slow-paced beach town. Instead, he spent the next 26 years exploring the mountain that runs along the coast and discovering and naming a multitude of caves.

Apart being riddled with caves, the mountains above Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay have some lovely hikes through dense green vegetation that offer panoramic views of the sea below.

There are two forest sections on the sea-facing side, one in Spes Bona Valley and the other, smaller one in Echo Valley. Both are made up mostly of milkwood and yellowwood trees, and wooden boardwalks have been set up to protect their ancient roots.

Taking it easy on the Old Mule path

There is often a cover of fast rushing clouds over this mountain range and today is no exception. On Boyes Drive the sun is out in full force though so we slather on the sunblock (and pack a jersey). 

What to bring

  • Something warm. It can be freezing on top regardless of the tiny ant people you may see soaking up the sun on the beach below. 
  • Sun protection. Other than in the forest areas there isn’t shade as you’re walking. 
  • Hiking shoes. The terrain is rocky in parts so you’ll want a pair with proper grip. 
  • Water. Depending on which path you take you might need to bring water for the dogs too. 
  • Children. As long as they’re relatively used to hiking the route to the Spes Bona forest should be fine for them to handle. The promise of an enchanted forest should keep the whining to a minimum. 
  • Snacks or sarmies. There are some truly beautiful spots to enjoy a rest, our flask of tea went down a treat under the yellowwood trees. 
  • The CPSS. If you want to explore the caves then contact the Cape Peninsula Speleological Society (see below for details). 
  • Dogs. You will need aMy Activity Permit. If you are hiking on Cave Peak then you will need to keep them on a leash as there are many dangerous caves in the area.

Routes
There are various route you can take up the mountain which start on Boyes Drive where there are allocated parking spaces across from the signposted starting points. If you’re driving towards Kalk Bay side keep an eye out for the Ou Kraal sign on the right just before you pass St James beach below, this will take you along Old Mule path which is a gentle contour that meets up with Ou Kraal. You can also park further on just above Kalk Bay which is a steeper route directly up the Ou Kraal path. You can take a relatively short hike up to the Spes Bona forest or make a day of it and continue along into Silvermine East.

Spes Bona Valley
Moderate
Park opposite the Ou Kraal sign on Boyes Drive, follow the path along the contour of the mountain. You’ll pass the shark spotter diligently watching the waves. Old Mule Path is an easy contour path that slowly climbs along the mountainside with fantastic views of the sea below. This links up to Ou Kraal path which then climbs up the Spes Bona Valley. The path is easy to follow and is well signposted where the path splits. Follow it up until you reach the Spes Bona forest, from here there are raised wooden boardwalks through this shady area. Keep an eye out on your right as you get to the top of the forest for a moss covered cliff which drips water in summer and turns to a waterfall in winter. You can follow the path up and around to the Amphitheatre, or the other way through Mimetes Valley and then back along the Hilltop Path or follow the original route back.

Duration:
This will take about three and a half hours depending on which paths you take.

Amphitheatre
Moderate

Park above Kalk Bay and follow the Echo Valley sign leading to the Ou Kraal path, or for an easier walk take Old Mule path and then follow the signs to the amphitheatre. This route takes you up through Echo Valley and the ambitiously named ‘Amazon Forest’ to the natural amphitheatre. You can go around and come down through the Spes Bona Valley or go back down the way you came.

Duration: This will take about four hours depending on the route you take.

Cave Peak
Moderate/difficult
Take the route to the Amphitheatre and take the path to the left at Cavern Rocks also known as Hungry Harry’s (a clump of boulders on the right). Follow the path up past Boomslang Cave and several others. Don’t explore the caves on your own and keep your dogs on a leash in this area. You can follow the path around and come down through the forest in Echo Valley or continue on and come down through the Spes Bona forest.

Duration: About four hours.

What to look out for

Fauna: From mid-August to mid-October keep an eye out for the Southern Right Whales. Old Mule Path is a great place to do this from.
Flora: We spotted plenty of flowers, most notably the April Fool or, as they’re called in Afrikaans, the velskoenblaar (haemanthus sanguineus ) which was blooming in the Spes Bona forest. Between August and December be on the lookout for the Erica urna-viridis which can only be found in this particular area.

The Cape Peninsula Speleological Society (CPSS)
have monthly cave explorations on the first Sunday of every month that are open to the public (you need to contact them beforehand so they can arrange extra gear). You can attend the first meeting for free to see if you are interested, if you are, then the annual fee is R250 per person per year with special rates for students and families.
Contact them: [email protected]   

Text and images by Lindsay Callaghan

Have a look at our Facebook album of the Spes Bona Forest hike and follow us on Twitter to find out where we’ll be hiking next. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a seven day weather forecast.

Cape Town Events Calendar
April 2018
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

Just Like Papa 2Just Like Papa: The Ultimate Place to ...

Finally, there’s a place in Cape Town where you can get exceptional home, camping, tactical and survival gifts for men and women – and it’s open till 7pm. Head for Just Like Papa on Harrington Street

Road to Mecca Fugard 3A Story of Freedom: The Road to Mecca ...

A riveting tale of artistry, truth, identity and moral consciousness

AfrikaBurn3Afrikaburn Festival near Tankwa Karoo ...

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on the festival lover’s calendar

whale wine and wors wine flies logoWhale, Wine and Wors Tours with Wine ...

Hop on board a fun-filled minibus and explore the hidden gems of the Western Cape

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Cape Town Culinary Tours - 52-For-1 Special with Cape Town Culinary ...

Cape Town Culinary Tours offers you 241TUESDAYS every week until the end of 2018 – use this exclusive code to activate the deal

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

Pizza Sgt pepperDouble Tuesday Pizza Special at Sgt ...

Let the good times roll at this favourite Cape Town music haunt

Sgt pepper live musicRam Jam Rock Parties at Sgt Pepper

The head-banging, guitar twanging rockin’ good times are back

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Galileo - NooitgedachtDurbanville Get Ready for The Galileo ...

Celebrate summer with The Galileo Open Air Cinema’s new venue; Bloemendal

Kaapse Stories at The Rockwell TheatreDinner and a Show with Rockwell Theatre

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town gets told to your mom, dad, tannie, ouma, second cousin and neighbour down the street

aFREAKaaFREAKa Clothing Kids Onesies

Treat your little ones to a fun and trendy top quality animal or INYE onesie

aFREAKaaFREAKa Clothing Adult Onesies

Unleash your inner freak in one of these playful and trendy locally designed one-piece suits

Boy Girl HairHaircut Special at Boy Girl Hair Salon

Marry a tip-top cut with any of this edgy salon’s other services and save

Ajax Cape Town Soccer Team 2016 2ABSA PSL: Ajax Cape Town vs Baroka FC

FOREX Pub Quiz 2016 2Trivia Night at The Forex Bar

Test your general knowledge at this Observatory-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

The Piano Bar Burger and Beer Special in Cape TownBurger and Beer Special at The Piano Bar

Visit this jazzy eatery and bar on any Tuesday for a burger (or pizza) and free beer

HintHunt Escape Game LogoCape Town’s Most Mysterious Tourist ...

Be sure to add this exhilarating live group escape game challenge to your Mother City bucket list

AquilaConferences and Corporate Functions at ...

Bring your corporate family along to experience team building and business functions featuring the Big 5

West Side Story The Fugard Theatre 3The Fugard Theatre Presents West Side ...

Many theatre buffs reckon West Side Story is the greatest musical ever written. Judge for yourself when The Fugard Theatre’s production of it returns to Cape Town

Excentric HairTransformation Tuesday at Excentric ...

Receive a complimentary Olaplex treatment when booking a single or double colour process, cut and blow-dry

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.