Swartkop
Sunday 6 August, 2017
Report and photos by Alistair Nixon

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]



All hikers met at the Cedara entrance and travelled to the Cedara lecture theatres. (Cathy Nixon, because she used to work at Cedara, was able to get us permission to hike through the farm.) The first hour is a delightful hike along the farm roads, through fields and alongside the largest dam on the property. From this vantage point one can see the route to the top. After the dam, the route finds its way along forest plantation roads, the playground of hikers, cyclists and motorbike enthusiasts.

The first short break was at the second dam, which in its heyday, was a perfect picnic spot in amongst the trees. It still has remnants of those times but is still a lovely refreshment spot. Then a slightly precarious balancing act as one crosses the dam wall.


1. Ready to hike
2. Through the forest
3. Tea break Cedara dam

The next hour and a half follows paths and worn roads and a steady, and not too strenuous, climb to the contour road at the bottom of the summit. There were some jokes made about requiring oxygen tanks for the final  push ! The last half an hour is very strenuous but taken slowly and methodically everyone made it up with the reward of splendid views.


4. Chris and Pam in discussion
5. Nothing more iconic than the windmill
6. Break before the climb
7. Looking back towards Karkloof
8. New hikers George and Serena
9. Going up
10. ...and up
11. ...nearly there
12. Baloo our companion

From Swartkop it is possible to see Nhlazane and Mt Gilboa. A short break and then our descent on the northern slope gave us views into the Sweetwaters valley. From this vantage point it becomes quite clear how Pietermaritzburg and its wider areas are growing. The descent is quite pleasurable through the forests and back into the Cedara filelds.


13. Sue and Cathy
14. Tanya and Mike relax
15. Stan our recci leader
16. All accounted for

There were also a celebration by Carolee, Loga and Eric who became the first three to do  The Big 4 peaks. The other three being Nhlazane, Mt Gilboa, Bulwer Mountain.


17. The Big4 - Carolee, Loga and Eric


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