This is a fabulous hike along the western coastline of the southernmost parts of the Cape Peninsula in the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
Getting there: after entering the Cape Point Nature Reserve via the main gate drive south towards Cape Point. A short while after passing the Buffelsfontein Information Center on your left you will see the signpost directing you down the road to the right to Platboom.
Difficulty: well-marked trail. Strenuous in terms of distance and the small koppie at the end.
My new Slingsby Cape Point map arrived just in time for our weekend of hiking in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. We managed to organize a great group of hikers, and met inside the Reserve gates to do the car admin; it is a one-way hike. We drove through to the parking lot at Platboom, and after admiring the ocean views and the sunny weather, set off to the right, heading along the beach.
The first 5.5km takes you along the shoreline, and you will never be more than 30 meters from the water as you cross sand, stones and a few sections through the scrubby coastal fynbos.
At 6km you will reach a junction and it is here that you will head inland to skirt the private land. Slightly uphill. Some marshy sections but mostly with neat stepping stones set in the trail. Here the fynbos changes from the coastal scrub to more traditional fynbos with loads of proteas, ericas and restios.
At the 9km mark, you will cross the tar road that leads down to the residence on the private land. Soon after this, we stopped at a cluster of rocks for lunch.
At 11km you will reach a junction where you will take a right to Sirkelsvlei, and you will reach the southern shore of Sirkelsvlei just more than 1km later across the level trail.
Just after hitting the 14km mark, you will cross the Red Route (gravel road), and about 500m further the tarred road. There was a prescribed burn a number of months back and the road was the border for the burn. This meant the sparsely vegetated slopes of Rooihoogte were in stark contrast to the fynbos on the other side of the road. However, this afforded us the rare opportunity of seeing how the fynbos recovers after a fire, and to spot some of the species which are stimulated by fire, such as Fire-heath and Ass-uintjies.
There used to be wild bees amongst the rocks but they were not there and we wondered if the prescribed burn had chased them away. I subsequently came across the following post on Facebook which indicates they are still there.
You reach the highest point, 296m, and then descend comfortably to the side of the road below you where it reaches the gate.
When I returned to my car at the Platboom parking area I saw that my vehicle had undergone some modifications. The grubby hand-prints on the windscreen clearly pointed to a naughty baboon!