A 3 day/2 night trail situated on the R43 between Stanford and Gansbaai in the Overberg

 

The Fynbos trail is a unique nature experience in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom that can be undertaken as a fully guided and catered slackpacking trail or as a self-guided and catered trail. This trail, just two hours from Cape Town and close to Hermanus Overberg, has a two or three night option and takes hikers along a beautiful stretch of trail through coastal and mountain fynbos, remote forests and visits some fascinating environmental and social projects along the way. Ideal for those looking for a walking holiday in Cape Town, South Africa.

It is a true voyage of discovery, led by a passionate, expert guide who points out the various endemics and rare species and explains the role that the various birds, ants and other propagators play in the eco-system.

 

·         More than 800 fynbos species have been identified along the route

·        
Thirty four bird species

·         A variety of mammals including bushbuck, porcupine, honey badger and mongoose

·         There are swimming opportunities in the dams and pools on each day

·         Views of Walker Bay, across to Dyer Island and over the rolling hills

·         Amazing people and history

·         By hiking the trail you contribute directly towards the conservation and social development work of the partners within the conservancy. Some of the funds generated by the trail are re-invested into clearing alien vegetation, managing fire and documenting and monitoring flora and fauna within the conservancy 


THE TRAIL

The 26 km trail starts at Growing the Future Sustainable Agriculture and Life Skills College on Grootbos Nature Reserve. Growing the Future is all about food production and each year women are trained in the growing of vegetables and fruit, beekeeping and the principles of successful animal husbandry. In fact the majority of fresh produce enjoyed along the trail is sourced from the project.

From Growing the Future the trail leads through coastal strandveld into the Steynsbos Milkwood forest, one of only eight milkwood forests of its type in the world, all of which are found in the Stanford-Gansbaai area. An island surrounded by fynbos, this small patch of forest contains trees that are many hundreds, if not thousands of years old and is refuge for a number of animals and birds not commonly seen in the fynbos. Thirty four bird species, including Rameron pigeon, Cape Batis, African paradise flycatcher and forest buzzard have been sighted as well as a variety of mammals including bushbuck, porcupine, honey badger and mongoose.

The first night is at the very comfortable Fynbos Retreat, also on the Grootbos Nature Reserve, then on day 2 you hike down through a beautiful valley - characterised by an extra-ordinary mosaic of fynbos - into the lush, green Witwoetskloof forest. This is a different world to the open veld above. You walk on boardwalks and over bridges under the canopy of the magnificent ancient trees such as white stinkwood, wild olive, rooiels and assegai trees that line the river to a waterfall where, if you’re feeling brave, you can enjoy a natural shower.

A steep climb out of the valley takes you onto the limestone hills of the Agulhas Plain. The limestone fynbos here is very uncommon so it’s a real privilege to encounter some of the rare endemic species. The path then winds up the slopes of Grootberg (which the energetic can summit) and down into Flower Valley, where wild fynbos is harvested for making bouquets for the local and export market. The afromontane Stinkhoutsbos Forest on the property was badly damaged by the huge fire that swept through the region in 2006, and, as part of the restoration work being undertaken at Flower Valley, each hiker is given the opportunity to plant an indigenous tree grown in this beautiful forest pocket overlooking Flower Valley.

After a night at Bodhi Kaya Retreat or Witkrans the trail ends with a short walk through more indigenous forest and fynbos-clad hills to the upmarket andsuperbly located, Grootbos Garden Lodge where you celebrate the end of the trail with a leisurely lunch overlooking the magnificent Walker Bay

To really appreciate the trail we would strongly recommended the slackpacking version on which you’re treated to great local cuisine, expert guiding and wonderful hospitality (as well as a fynbos gift and a beautiful field guide to the flora of the region) but there’s a very affordable, unguided and self-catering option which utilises the same secluded accommodation.

 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Day 1 is a three hour walk that covers 6.5 kilometres from Steynsbos to Fynbos Retreat.
Day 2 is a 12 km walk that takes most of the day and takes hikers from the first overnight at Fynbos Retreat to the second overnight at Bodhi Khaya/ Witkrans (depending on availability)
Day 3 is a 6.5 km walk that takes about three hous from Bodhi Khaya/ Witkrans to the finish at Grootbos Garden Lodge.

OPTIONAL ADD ON: an extra “Coastal day”  8km, before you start on the core Fynbos trail – please enquire for more details

 

ACCOMMODATION

 

First night on trail: FYNBOS RETREAT

Three beautifully located houses are all fully equipped with all cooking utensils, cutlery, crockery, bedding and towels. Fifty pieces of wood per day are included, extra wood is available for purchase if required. 

Electricity is provided by solar power.
Arum Lily House can sleep a maximum of twelve guests

·         braai facilities, a pizza oven, a large living room with a fireplace,

·         a large fully equipped kitchen (with large gas freezer and fridge)

·         dining room with dining table that can seat 12 people,

·         four bedrooms, three toilets and three showers.

·         The house has spectacular views over the large dam and up the forest and fynbos-clad valley. There is a large outdoor entertainment area, part of which is undercover, as well as a terraced lawn area. It is closely situated to the large swimming dam as well as a level playing area for ball games.

Fountain Bush Cottage can accommodate a maximum of six guests

·         large open plan kitchen and lounge with a cozy fireplace,

·         two balconies, a braai area,

·         three bedrooms and a bathroom with shower.

The house is privately situated adjacent to a beautiful dam.

Sewejaartjie Cottage is a one bedroom cottage which sleeps two in a king size bed .

·         There is a small sitting room with a fireplace

·         a fully equipped kitchen

·         bathroom with a shower as well as a romantic outside bath with hot and cold water

·         an outside entertainment area

 



Second night on trail: Either of the 2 options mentioned below depending on availability

BODHI KAYA RETREAT                                

The Cottages

Bodhi Khaya has two self-catering cottages, each with glorious views of the farm. Perfect for small groups who would like to run their own retreat or individuals who prefer to self-cater.  The cottages are reserved for retreats, usually on weekends, but are available most week days.

Heron is the hiking cottage for the popular Walker Bay Fynbos Trail.

·         three en-suite bedrooms

·         each with two single beds which can be converted to King-size beds on request. additional room with bunk beds.

·         spacious lounge and dining room area with a working fireplace

·         fully equipped kitchen

The stoep has a beautiful view of the farm where you can recline on a wooden couch, undisturbed.

 

Additional accommodation in the Courtyard Rooms, Sunbird cottage  and the Farm House

 

WITKRANS

Buchu Cottage: sleeps four (with an additional small bed which could sleep an extra child in the lounge).

 It is simply furnished, with screed floors and sash windows and uncluttered decor.

·         one double room

·         additional room with bunk beds.

·         shared bathroom with shower.

·         kitchen and living room open-plan with a small indoor fireplace and spill onto a North facing covered stoep and braai area with views over the hills beyond.

The cottage is privately located and leads out into a indigenous fynbos garden with a lawn area and mountain views. There is also a private path leading directly to the swimming dam above the cottage with boats for your use.

Cone Bush Cottage: A timber house sleeps six people

·         three twin bedrooms

·         shared bathroom.

·         The main room has an en-suite bathroom with shower and toilet.

·         Lovely closed indoor fireplace for the cold evenings.

·         There is a level lawn in front of the cottage and a movable braai.

·         Open plan living area with fully equipped kitchen.

The views up the spectacular Flower Valley are superb. Private path leading directly to the swimming dam above the cottage with boats for your use.

 


 

OPTION DETAILS

 

Self guided and self catered Includes:

·         Overnight accommodation at fully equipped Fynbos Retreat/Witkrans,

·         route map and narrative.

Please note this is a circular route that takes hikers all the way back to the start at Steynsbos.

 



Full slack packing Includes:

·         Overnight accommodationn at fully equipped Fynbos Retreat and Bodhi Khaya or Witkrans,

·         two dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts (final lunch at five star Grootbos Nature Reserve Garden lodge),

·         Lomond wine tasting at Fynbos Retreat or Witkrans, one round of drinks with dinner (extra drinks either bring along or cash bar facilities),

·         expert guide for three days, signed Field guide to the flora of Grootbos Nature Reserve and the Walker Bay region, planting of indigenous tree at Stinkhoutsbos Forest on day two lunch stop,

·        fynbos gift on completion of trail,

·         all luggage transfers and transfer after lunch on day 3 back to cars at the start.

What to bring

        Comfortable hiking shoes/boots, sun hat clothes for walking as well as for relaxing in the evenings. Days pack to carry a rain coat (weather can change quickly and is unpredictable along the trail a rain coat and light sweater should be carried)

        water bottle

        sun cream and some sweets/snacks for on the hike

        The guide will carry a first aid kit but please bring along personal medical requirements

        Optional extras include camera/video camera, bird book, binoculars

        Your own favorite beverages (see below)

Fruit juice will be supplied with dinners. There will also be Lomond Wine tasting on the first night from whom you can purchase wine. You are also very welcome to bring along your own favorite beverages, or if due to travel arrangements you are unable to purchase beverages before the trail, please email an order to be purchased on your behalf.

·         The rest of your luggage will be transported from the start to Fynbos Retreat and then from Fynbos Retreat to Bodhi Khaya/Witkrans and Bodhi Khaya/ Witkrans to the end. Please ensure that all your belongings are packed in your bag and placed inside the front door of the overnight accommodation prior to you departing on the days hike.


 

 

Self guided slack packing Includes:

·         Overnight accommodation at fully equipped Fynbos Retreat and Bodhi Khaya/Witkrans,

·         two dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts (final lunch at five star Grootbos Nature Reserve Garden lodge),

·         Drinks excluded but you are welcome to bring along drinks and they will be transported to overnight and chilled for your arrival

·         all luggage transfers and transfer after lunch on day 3 back to cars at the start.


What to bring

        Comfortable hiking shoes/boots, sun hat clothes for walking as well as for relaxing in the evenings. Days pack to carry a rain coat (weather can change quickly and is unpredictable along the trail)

        a rain coat and light sweater should be carried

        water bottle

        sun cream and some sweets/snacks for on the hike

        A first aid kit is available but please bring along personal medical requirements

        Optional extras include camera/video camera, bird book, binoculars

        Your own favorite beverages (see below)

        Hot water bottle (for those really cold nights)

        Torch

BEVERAGES: Fruit juice will be supplied with dinners. You are also very welcome to bring along your own favorite beverages, or if due to travel arrangements you are unable to purchase beverages before the trail, please email an order to be purchased on your behalf.

 

LUGGAGE: The rest of your luggage will be transported from the start to Fynbos Retreat and then from Fynbos Retreat to Bodhi Khaya/Witkrans and Bodhi Khaya/ Witkrans to the end. Please ensure that all your belongings are packed in your bag and placed inside the front door of the overnight accommodation prior to you departing on the days hike.