Early on Sunday morning I woke up from people’s chattering on the busy street below my window. I turned around to shut the noise out when suddenly I realised something wasn’t right. It’s Sunday. It’s already light outside. We’re hiking today. Oh no! Did I oversleep? I quickly grabbed my phone to check the time and saw that it was already 7:30. I was supposed to pick my friend up at 8 am, but obviously I’m very good at ignoring alarms when I enjoy my sleep. Messages from Melanie said that after our conversation the previous night she thinks that we should attempt the difficult hike. And so we did.
At exactly 9:47 we started the Myburg’s Waterfall Ravine hiking trail from Farriers Way, Hout Bay. As you enter the Nature Reserve there are two paths going opposite ways. Go right. This path leads you to Myburg’s Kloof where you’ll need to turn left and walk up the Kloof towards the waterfall.
There is a semi-clear trail that goes up the Kloof but from experience it’s safe to say that you can just walk up wherever you feel most comfortable. I mean that is what Mel and I did (unknowingly) and we made it up just fine.
The trail up the Kloof consists of climbing over trees and boulder hopping. Reaching the waterfall is easy and doesn’t take long. However, once you’re moving on from the waterfall, things start to get tricky.
At the waterfall on the left, you’ll find a narrow path going up (keep in mind that this might not be the right way up but it is a way up). You need to take this path to get on top of the waterfall so that you can continue your hike up the ravine. And this is a sight you don’t want to miss.
Walking up the ravine was incredible. I felt so small in this gorge with steep sides. It was beautiful. Lots of water running down and the sides were covered in dripping moss. It felt surreal, like we just entered a magical Kingdom such as Terrabethia (referring to the movie “Bridge to Terrabethia” for those of you who don’t understand this reference).
(Please keep in mind that if boulder hopping and heights aren’t your thing, then this hike isn’t for you).
The ravine leads to another waterfall at the top. Apparently it’s easier to climb up the waterfall but Mel and I took a slightly different route. We went up the right side of the waterfall and believe me when I say that this was probably one of the scariest moments that day. It was definitely not a trail. We were using both our hands and feet trying to climb up this wet-ish mud wall next to the waterfall. At some point we even had to climb over an opening between two boulders while holding on to another boulder that came out of the “mud wall”. It was as tricky as it sounds. And on top of everything, we knew it would have been about a 3 m fall if we made a mistake. So falling was not an option.
Once you’ve reached the top of the mountain, the landscape changes completely. The walk from the one side to the other side takes about 20 minutes. There is a clear trail you can follow but of course it wasn’t clear enough for Mel and me. We continued to follow something that looked like a trail but it wasn’t long until we found ourselves stuck in between long dune grass. We lost the trail. AGAIN!
(At least we found it quickly every time)
On the other side of the mountain you have beautiful views of Lions Head, Clifton, Camps Bay, The Twelve Apostles and Llandudno. The perfect place to rest your feet and enjoy your lunch.
Personally, I found the second half of the hike more difficult. We had to climb up rocks which were high enough to overlook the area so that we could find (can you guess?) the trail.
Unsure of whether we took the right trail or not, we started to descend. At first the two of us were mocking the difficulty of the trail, thinking the “very steep ravine” wasn’t so steep and that this hike wasn’t THAT difficult. We were wrong. Very wrong,
The Llandudno ravine is very steep. We were holding on to grass, sliding down, making sure that every foot is stable before shifting our weight. It took forever. Our legs were shaking. It felt like we weren’t getting anywhere and with every step our own, personal difficulty rating of the hike increased. Karma got us right back.
Luckily the views over Llandudno made the struggle down worth it. Eventually the path turns to the right to go around the mountain and this gives you a beautiful view over Hout Bay.
Of course, we somehow lost the trail again and made it much more difficult than it should’ve been but nonetheless, we made it onto the little pathway that either goes left to Suikerbossie Restaurant or right, back to Myburg’s Waterfall Ravine.
Now, this is where you need to pay attention because no one tells you how to get back to the Ravine and there are no signs. When you turn left, you just walk straight and follow the path (easy enough). Eventually you will reach a Kloof. DO NOT walk down the Kloof, thinking that’s where the trail goes. DO NOT reach the fence and think your only way of getting out is by following the fence. No, do not do this because you will stumble upon creepy holes in the gate and imagine yourself in some horror movie.
If you do this, just look around, see if you can make your own trail, realise that you can’t, get lost again, eventually find the fence and then just walk back to the Kloof.
Okay, so back at the Kloof, walk up. Eventually you’ll see the trail and feel a little bit better.
Back to us, so now we’re back on the trail and we’re walking, knowing we’re about 800 m away. I can’t speak for Mel but my heart was racing a little faster after I saw those holes in the fence. Suddenly I didn’t feel so safe anymore.
And then, out of nowhere, we heard this deep, loud breathing. Mel got a fright first and while I was still processing the breathing, I got a fright because Mel got a fright. Jumped about a meter up in the air and uttered some words. Long story short, it was a very friendly man on his afternoon jog who scared us twice in about 20 minutes but then eventually gave us some directions.
Very happy with the new directions, we continued on this little path. We missed our turn off (of course we did) but luckily eventually we managed to find our way back to the car.
Duration: 6 hours
Distance: approximately 10.5 km
Entrance fee: Free
Fitness: Moderate – Fit
Stay Wild, Stay Free