From 1-3 September 2006, a great weekend was had at the Baviaanskraans Hutted Trail.
This trail was a great success. We caught the tail end of a cold front and the first night in the air-conditioned (draughty) Explorer hut was, as the youngsters say "cool".
We were eleven in the party. Tom, Ann and Leigh-Ann Kenny, Klaus Rothemeyer, Charlie, Stewart and Duncan Lewis, Ken Middleton, Wendy Palm, Anne Bell and Tor Meyer.
Ann was up early on Saturday and spotted a bush baby family and a duiker just outside the hut.
After leaving Explorer on the first 10km stretch, we were treated to a long climb above Helpmekaarskloof to the Zebra Plains where we viewed some Zebra, Eland and Waterbuck. We stopped for lunch at a viewpoint and then descended into Waterkloofspruit which made a great tea-break stop and offered us a nice pool for Charlie to have his first swim. The trail then continued in a long loop to the Avon More Camp.
The huts here are built into artificial rock and are quite comfortable and warm. It is a unique arrangement the huts, campfire and eating areas placed close to each other, connected by wooden walkways, blending pleasantly into the forested surroundings.
The shower is unique too being composed of a suspended bucket with a tap and showerhead on the bottom!
Sunday was a nice warm day and we set off on the last 9km stretch, through indigenous forest with a visit to the Garden of memory, memorials to the past inhabitants of the area.
Then began the slow trek up the magnificent Tierkloof gorge past numerous deep pools and waterfalls, finally past the Tierkloof waterfall. We then skirted the Waterkloofspruit, which is actually a small wetland, and climbing a small hill to get a view point for lunch we got good sightings of waterbuck and sable antelope. We then continued over several ridges until we reached the crest of the hike with stunning views of the western Magaliesberg.
My reaction now was how were we to get down. I saw a deep cut immediately below us and thought "they can't be taking us down there" - but it was the only way down. It was a long and awesome descent.
It is a great trail though. Our party was nicely balanced with a range from youngsters Duncan and Stewart to the more "mature" - Ken, Tom and Tor and four ladies!
Conversation was generally animated and it was great to hear about Tom and Ann's recent trip to Peru and the Inca trail.
Thanks to Tom for his leading a relaxed and pleasant trail with lots of stops and viewing.