Botterboom Hiking Trail

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Perfect easy weekend hike in the Hex River Valley for those who don’t want to suffer too much, but still want to get the feeling of conquering mountains. Great views, diverse indigenous plants, good accomodation and the option having having your luggage transported.

Price: R90 per person per day
Length: 3 days (2 halve days and one full day)
Distance from Stellenbosch: 110km
Availability: Veldskoen Padstal: 08:00 – 17:00 every day
Group size: 2 – 12
More information: Laetitia: 083 292 0348

My Experience:

My family and ‘soon to be family’

My family was looking for a easy short hike close to home to do. My parents haven’t hiked in almost three years and my brother’s girlfriend and her sister have never been on a hiking trip before. My father accidentally stumble upon the Botterboom hiking trail that none of us have ever heard of before.

It was perfect for our needs and budget. We booked with the friendly Laetitia and organised everything in one day.

Wednesday just after 11:00 we set off to De Doorns. The starting point is at the Veldskoen Padstal, 4.5km beyond De Doorns. We got there just before two o’clock and ordered pies and tea for lunch. Daniel waited for us outside with a VW caddy to take us and our baggage to the starting point just a few hundred meters further.

ScoobyDoo: The first nights accomodation

Daniel parked in the vineyards below the hill on which the Impangele Mountain Lodge is built and then hiked with us for the first one or two kilometers. He then showed us how to follow the easily marked trail. The trail is marked with white ‘palletjies’ (poles), which is mostly easily visible, but it seems that there are always more than one wild trail going from the one pole to the next.

We saw beautiful aloe and botterbome. At Osplaas Daniel met us again and showed us the way to our first nights accomodation called ScoobyDoo. Whe arrived at the house at about 16:30. It is an old fort-like brick building with 6 bunker beds and a table inside. Outside it had a nice braai area for three people. Despite the fact that you can occasionally hear the N1 traffic we had a lovely full moon night.

A Botterboom after which the trail is named

I just had a funny incident where my watch said it was 06:00 so I got up to watch the sunrise. Only after an hour I suspected something might be wrong. When I found a cellphone I discovered it was only 01:00 in the morning.

On Thursday we hiked to Appaskop (850m), following the white poles all the way. The view over the Hex River Valley was amazing and the snow covered Matroosberg on the other side of the valley was a big bonus. From there we followed the trail to the bottom of Tafelberg where you have the choice of either going over it to the old Tunnel Railway Station following the rail. We chose to follow the rail over a few old bridges.

The wooden hut at the Tunnel Station

At the station there is a small wooden hut with 4 beds and 6 matrasses. If the group is bigger they offer tents that you can put up. Our baggage was brought with the Hexpas Express, a vintage Fordson tractor powered train with two coaches. Also at the station is Willem, the only permanent resident who looks after 2 Zebra’s a Donkey and a garden with all kinds of smaller animals like tortoises. There is even hot showers, but unfortunately there was a problem with pressure or gas and we did not have this luxuary.

The last day Willem hiked with us for 8km through the famous century old tunnel past the british fort and into the Osplaas valley where we parted ways. The remaining 3 km we walked on the Two Tunnel Mountain Bike Trail back to Impangele. We got there before lunch and Daniel took us back to our car at the Veldskoen padstal.

We finished this amazing three day hike with a nice lunch in the Mountain Mill Spur in Worcester.

Tips:

  • The extra R200 for having your luggage transported is definitely worth it if you remember to pack Steaks and wine and other heavy things you wouldn’t usually carry.
  • If you plan on eating at the Veldskoen Padstal before starting your hike make room for at least an hour as they get quite busy at times.

My brother and his girlfriend on the old rail road


The Hexpass Express

Directions:

Click here for an interactive map and directions

  • Pin B is at the Veldskoen padstal

Experienced on 4 – 6 July 2012

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Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)
Botterboom Hiking Trail, 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 ratings