It is hard to imagine that the walk between McGregor and Greyton, both wonderful little towns in their own right and worthy of overnight stays at each, is a mere 15 odd kilometres (depending on which account you read, the distance varies between 14km and 19 km), whilst the drive between the two is a laborious trek that can take up to three hours – something about the Riviersonderend Mountains that seem to get in the way.
However, the Boesmanskloof trail hike, also known as the Greyton-to-McGregor trail, is not as simple as it sounds and can be rather physically taxing, particularly when you know that you are expected at the other end. Some hikers do it as a there-and-back hike over two days, whilst others take the one-directional option from one town to the other. Done this way though, you need a car at each end …
Should you choose the two day option there is accommodation at either end, although be warned that the hike does not end in the town of McGregor proper, but 14 kilometres outside the town. Accommodation is thus either in something called Die Galg (where the hike starts or ends in McGregor) or at a farm known as Whipstock farm.
Rumour has it that it is easier to start on the McGregor end, as there is an initial downhill that would be a rather steep climb at the end of your hike, if coming from Greyton. There is also a descent into the town of Greyton at the end, which in turn, would mean a relatively steep start if starting there.
You will need permits from Cape Nature to do the trail. The hike itself is quite beautiful. It winds right through the only noticeable gap in the Riviersonderend Mountains, and as such is strenuous, but if you’re prepared to go at a leisurely pace with rests inbetween, children as young as eight will cope, as will relatively fit adults.
During summer, start as early as you can, as you’re likely to experience true Karoo heat in the valley. The saving grace of the hike is without doubt Oak Falls, a wonderful chance for river swimming, a waterfall, limited shade, and rock pools.
Hiking from Greyton to McGregor, your walk is divided into the following mile stones: Breakfast rock, the jeep track, Oakes Falls, Die Galg – with a lot inbetween. Try and begin the hike, if coming from the Greyton, from the nature reserve as it’s really pretty. The jeep track (a bit confusing as it starts before Breakfast rock) takes you up a valley called Wolfkloof. By the time you reach Breakfast rock, it’s well and truly time for a meal.
The jeep track then ends just below the Perdekop, and from here you are miles from any sign of man. The path is luckily downhill now, all the way to the falls, and a welcome respite and time for a swim. The last section of the hike, between the falls and Die Galg, gives you the option of either taking the historic pass (the shorter version, although very steep) or the scenic, ‘unfinished’ route.
Die Galg is a series of little cottages with beds and hot showers. They will supply you with the essentials for a meal, if you ask them, which means you don’t have to cart it with you. Die Galg also has a beautiful stone double storey cottage, known as the Eagle’s Nest, and a swimming pool (at very reasonable prices).
PS: remember a hat, sunscreen, water, and food
Contact Cape Nature:
For hiking permits please call the CapeNature call centre on +27 (0)21 659-3500.
Slide show from Flickr.com: