Thanks to a great group of fellow hikers we did a really awesome full day of hiking to see the Dias in flower on top of Table Mountain along the Aqueduct. In short: – We parked at Cecilia Forest, then up Skeleton Gorge to the Hely-Hutchison Dam; Past the dam to the Waterworks Museum; Up the other side of the dam along a path in a valley up to the Aquaduct; Down Smuts Track and over Castle Buttress then down Nursery Ravine back to our cars.
We all met and starting at Cecilia Forest and made our way up and across to Skeleton Gorge. Going up Skeleton Gorge is a bit tricky and can feel like there is no top) The first part is just step after step until you reach a small waterfall next to the ladders going up where you reach loose river stones that you negotiate as you scramble your way to the top. Close to the top you find the stone turns into a sand dune path and then you reach the Hely-Hutchinson Dam were we stopped for a quick snack and to refresh our feet.
The Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson Dams were constructed between 1896 and 1907 in order to supply Cape Town with water.
After our refreshing rest we carried on past the HH Dam to the Waterworks Museum.
The Waterworks Museum is located on the northern side of Table Mountain, between the Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson Reservoirs, in Cape Town, South Africa. The museum was founded in 1972 by Terence Timoney, a retired waterworks engineer. The museum houses a display of memorabilia from the construction of the dams on Table Mountain which include a beautifully restored narrow gauge steam engine. It has an interesting display of original equipment, hand tools, instruments and photographs and includes the original well-preserved steam locomotive used to haul equipment from the old cableway at Kasteelspoort.
From here we took a path up along the other side of the dam, in a gully up to the Aqueduct where all the Disa were in flower.
Garry found a stunning spot for us to relax, have lunch and take many photos of the Disa at the little waterfalls.
After our lunch stop we headed up to the Aqueduct. “This is the aquaduct. Built in the late 1800’s to channel water from St Michaels Peak into the waiting reservoirs. Walking it now it is amazing to think that the aquaduct and the stream are able to provide enough water to fill the 2 largest dams found on the mountain!”
From here we headed down along Smuts Track (This route named after Jan Smuts, one time president of South Africa who walked this route every day until well into his mid seventies.)
Then up and along and over Castle Buttress. But I do suggest you do this with someone who has done this before. Thanks to Steve who knew the way and took us and 2 lost hikers through the cave.
After a quick stop to enjoy the view’s we continued along the path until we reached and decent down Nursery Ravine and back to our cars.
The end of a long but beautiful hike!