CapeTownMagazine.com

Hiking to the grave of Just Nuisance

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Hiking to the grave of Just Nuisance

Simon’s Town and Red Hill: the perfect area to explore with Hi-Tec

It’s the year 1939, and the Royal Navy in Simon’s Town is enlisting their new recruits. One of these new sailors still hasn’t found their sea legs (and never will) but is given the name ’Just’. His occupation is put down as ‘Bone Crusher’ and his religious denomination as ‘Scrounger’.

This strange new member is Just Nuisance, the first and only dog to be enlisted by the Royal Navy. This Great Dane loved the sailors whom he recognised easily from their distinctive uniforms. He was often caught travelling by train without a ticket, and he would join the navy men on their trips into Cape Town. The irate conductors would escort him off at the next station. Joining the navy ensured Just Nuisance received all the standard benefits – one of which was a free train pass.

Just Nuisance became a local legend and when he was put to rest it was with full military honours at Klaver Camp on top of Red Hill in a solemn ceremony that included a firing party of Royal Marines.

Visiting Just Nuisance
After a quick visit to see the statue of Just Nuisance looking noble in Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town, we drive to the bottom of Red Hill and start the climb up the stairs. It’s a sunny day so we’ve come smothered in sunblock. I’m wearing my Hi-Tecs: V-lite Total Terrain Lace, which support me and keep me stable on the walk.

What to bring

  • Hat and sunblock. Even if it’s overcast it’s a good idea to keep your skin protected.  
  • Hiking shoes. To give you support and traction on the paths and rocks.
  • Water. Make sure you bring enough to keep you hydrated.
  • Camera. The hills and mountains behind Simon’s Town offer spectacular coastal views.  
  • Children from age 10 and up.
  • Warm top. The wind can pick up quickly so make sure you’re prepared.
  • Snacks or lunch. Just make sure you keep it packed away in sealed containers; as there are baboons in the area who would love to eat it.

Routes

It’s a short walk up to Just Nuisance’s grave or you can park near it and hike on to the Kleinplaas Dam. If you’re looking for a much longer hike then make the trek to Smitswinkel near Cape Point from Swartkop in Simon’s Town.  

Just Nuisance’s Grave
Easy
Make a day of it: catch the train to Simon’s Town and visit the statue of Just Nuisance in Jubilee Square. Then walk up to Barnard Street, which ends at the bottom of Red Hill where you will see a sign for the Signal School Steps. Here a flight of steep steps and path will lead you to the grave. 

Duration:
This walk will take you an easy hour with a quick break at the top. 

Kleinplaas Dam
Moderate
Take the Red Hill road onto the area above Simon’s Town where you will see a sign to Just Nuisance’s grave. You can park here and pay him a quick visit before setting out for the dam. About 100 metres along the road is the start of the trail. Once you’ve been on the jeep track for about five minutes there’s a fork in the road – turn right and keep going until you reach the dam wall, then take the left turn. Here you can take a break, and enjoy the view.

Duration: The walk there and back will take about two hours.

Swartskop to Smitswinkel
Difficult
This hike takes you up Swartskop and over to Smitswinkel in Cape Point. The walk is a section of the SANParks Hoerikwaggo trail route and ends at their tented camp (where you can spend the night).

You will need someone to drop you off and pick you up on the other side, or go in two cars and drop one off in Cape Point before going to Simon’s Town. The hike starts at the end of the dirt road off of Jan Smuts Road, you will go up Old Mule Trail and up to the Blockhouse Gap. The path will go along the Swartkop Ridges, up to the peak and then down to Smitswinkel. There is a bit of scrambling and exposure to heights on this route.

Duration:
This is a long one; it’ll take about six hours to reach Cape Point.

What to look out for

Flora:
There’s an abundance of fynbos and the pincushions were in their full glory when we were there. Keep an eye out for the Swartkop spiderhead – a rare plant that flowers from July to October. You will also find the fiery red Ericas and the pretty rooikappis. There are also amazing sandstone formations, which have all sorts of lichens growing on them.

Fauna:
I spotted quite a few black girdled lizards sunning themselves on the rocks; these spiny, black reptiles are solitary creatures which usually sit still enough for you to have a good look at them before they slip away. We also encountered a large troop of chacma baboons complete with cheeky little ones sneaking off to eat where the large males couldn’t see them to steal their food.

By Lindsay Callaghan

Tip:
Visit the Simon’s Town Museum to find out more about Just Nuisance and his time in the Royal Navy.

Opening times: Monday – Friday: 10am – 4pm, Saturdays: 10am – 1pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays.

*Sponsored by Hi-Tec

Check out our Facebook album of the hike and follow us on Twitter to find out where we’ll be hiking next.

Cape Town Events Calendar
August 2019
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 31

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

blowfish_new_4Half-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

sounding_the_voidDiscover the Art of Listening At A ...

A free audio exhibition exploring fantasy islands, suits that give you a different ...

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha4Get To Know Your Wine: Wednesdays are ...

Sample some fine wines and meet the makers behind your favourite tipple

Cherry_Glamping3Team Building is For Bonding, So Ditch ...

Hiking, biking, canopy tours and luxury glamping just 50 minutes outside of Cape Town

zingara_bombay5 Happy Hours, Every Day of The Week

And Cafe Paradiso has a weekend seafood platter special for two

Nom Nom_New1Something New: Invent Your Own Gin at ...

All-new DIY gin bar, double your wine every Wednesday, PLUS: an all-new menu to share

vredenheim_2019_9Picnic Among The Golden Wildebeest on ...

A family game drive with a difference at Vredenheim

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

La Paris_Deli2Wednesday Delights at La Paris Deli in ...

A bakery and bistro experience at one of the most beautiful winelands wedding venues, now ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

two_oceans_aquariumMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

Comedyclub_new11End Hump Day With a Laugh At The ...

Share the experience at Cape Town Comedy Club in the Waterfront’s Pumphouse every ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

glam_barBeauty Special: Gelish or Shellac Nails ...

Book via Whatsapp: Workday-perfect nail treatments with free rinse and discounts on all ...

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

theatre and film costume hire25% Off Hollywood-Calibre Costume ...

Wednesdays only: Gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses to realistic historical costumes for ...

house of hLook Who's Serving a R50 Lunch Special ...

Loved by locals, House of H now does delicious new lunch specials – from boerie rolls ...

Park Inn_RGB_ItalianDinnerSpecial5All-You-Can-Eat Italian Dinner Special ...

Made fresh right in front of you, with your choice of sauces and toppings – this is one ...

beluga_whisylounge2-for-1 Whisky Wednesdays at Beluga

Your midweek escape just got a whole lot better with the 2-for-1 Wednesday whisky special ...

Nasty Womxn - 4But What If Medusa Had Won?

A sketch art exhibition retelling stories of Greek mythology from a women’s perspective

grub_vine_3Free Wine Tasting Every Wednesday at ...

Grub & Vine’s #VineNight hosts a different wine farm

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

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