Considerably more physical an undertaking than climbing, say, Lion’s Head, this Porterfield hike shouldn’t be underestimated.
With its feast of waterfalls, scenic landscapes and towering summits, Waterfall Trail is a downright atmospheric trek for the robust. Mind you, even the borderline fit will be able to manage part of the distance – provided you don’t suffer from vertigo.
Situated on 22 Watervalle Farm, a proclaimed nature reserve at the foot of the Olifantsrivier Mountains, the route is hiking heaven. What makes the 12,5 km course so meaty are the steep ascents and descents. And although the way is clearly marked with yellow paint every few metres, it’s still tough to navigate, given its technical nature.
Etched by kilometres of indigenous fynbos, the path takes you on a circular route past 22 spring-fed waterfalls, 47 indigenous trees and wild life such as the klipspringer, Cape leopard and ribbok. The terrain can be slippery and includes steep wooden steps, bridges and rocks – a killer for calves and quads.
Starting in a beautiful ravine, you emerge from the kloof 3 km further. Climbing higher on a technical single track, the reward is a lookout point with flabbergasting views overlooking the Porterville and Piketberg valleys. These landscapes sum up the grandeur of this brisk and occasionally brutal part of the world.
From here the road takes you down Blindekloof (Blind Ravine), which is an incredibly steep descent to tackle without rope. But it’s doable.
Extreme joggers grade the trail RED 9C. That says it all. Reasonably fit hikers will be able to manage the entire route in about seven hours, while skilled trail joggers should be able to do it in three.
Unfortunately, the Waterfall Trail is no secret. So, if you plan to tackle this expedition over a long weekend, you can expect to share it with other groups. Nevertheless, it still remains an aspirational activity along the West Coast.
Owned by Mac and Susan Jordaan, 22 Watervalle farm welcomes trail day-trippers at R50 per person. But a sleepover in one of seven chalets or the campsite would make for a noteworthy adventure: adding fresh water bass fishing and mountain biking on single-track trails to your itinerary.
Rates in the chalets are R640 – R1 120pn; camp cottages R280pn for 4; campsite R260pn for 4. Book: email@example.com; 082 8781358.