[Photo credits: Dania Petrik & Romy Chevallier]
I have fond memories of scaling rocks as a youngster and scouting for surfer boys as a teen in Hermanus. Now I’m in my early 30’s and Hermanus continues to dish up plenty of wonders, compliments of Mother Nature. Mornings are spent walking or running along the glorious cliff path and sunset is best enjoyed walking on Grotto Beach. Then there are the remarkable Cape fold mountains and the Fernkloof Reserve, which form the backdrop of town. Further along town towards Stanford (opposite the lagoon) lies the Vogelgat Private Nature Reserve. This is perhaps the most prized natural gem in all of Hermanus. It’s a 600-hectare indigenous playground, which may only be access by its 300 members (and their families and friends).
Throughout the years I’ve heard many people talk about the wonders of Vogelgat. Comprised of 35-kilometres of hiking trails, Vogelgat has it all from waterfalls to plunge pools to immaculate views of Walker Bay and Kleinmond. During my last holiday in Hermanus I finally joined four friends (one being a member) for a hike through Vogelgat up to its waterfall. Our walk started with a gradual decent into a lush valley, which runs alongside a river.
I was surprised to discover that the trail is something of an obstacle course. We traversed elevated wooden planks, climbed up sheer cliffs with ropes and jumped over boulders. We came across three rock pools with water fit for drinking, scrambled up inclines and wound our way back down over the river until we got to the final climb up to the majestic waterfall. Towering down from far above where black eagles fly, the waterfall came pummeling down into a perfect pool where we dived in for a dip.
From start to finish our hike took about three hours and was a moderate level. There are a number of other, hardier routes to choose from and a selection of overnight huts available to members.
Find out more: www.vogelgat.co.za