Hell’s Gate Hike – Orange Kloof

This is truly a spectacular hike! We had our names down to do this hike, but due to the rain it was moved 3 times, but it was definitely worth the wait. A friend booked for us, so none of us saw that this was a level C hike with fitness required. I must admit that I am very happy I didn’t know otherwise I might have pulled out due to my fear of heights. Our guide was really great at guiding us and nature provided so many natural holding places on those uphill scrambles, that I managed very well on the uphill exposed section.
Hell’s Gate is a full day hiking trail in Orange Kloof. N.B. Orange Kloof is a restricted area and a permit, maximum 12 people, is required. We are members of CUM Hiking Club and had Mark Hawthorne and his son Justine as our guides. I wish I knew so much about the fauna and flora of Cape Town! WOW, wow, wow… definitely one of the best guides I have had in a long time. It’s so nice to learn something new and hopefully I will remember some of it. 🙂

There are pools to negotiate, steep banks to scramble up and some exposure so I definitely do not recommend this for a beginner.  We did not find the route too difficult but if you don’t know the way you may get lost and it was very slippery at places. Better than average fitness would be needed to enjoy the day. I would love to do this hike when the Disa are in flower and we can stop to swim. The water was just too cold this time.

We start at Constantia Nek in the parking area and walk along Ring Road (the jeep track) until we reached the start of Disa River and stopped for a quick tea break.

We started our hike up the Disa River Gorge, scrambling up alongside the river’s many waterfalls to Hell’s Gates. Walking past waterfalls, pools, ferns and indigenous forest, you will find it hard to imagine that you are so close to city life. Very slippery at places and slow going. One of our ladies slipped and fell into the icy cold water. Thankfully she did not get too hurt and we had some dry shirts between us to give her. She just isn’t sure how damaged her camera and cell phone are as they both also got wet.

From Hell’s Gate we scramble up past the waterfall over rocks and bushes to the top where we had our lunch break.

From here we weaved our way through some rather thick bushes to the path and entrances of the Woodhead Tunnel and the Apostle Water Tunnel, before returning via the Disa Gorge Hiking Trail which is also part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail that I did a few years ago.

This trail is apparently very well booked but it is worth waiting for a opening. For permits you can call 021 689 4441 – If you don’t have a guide that knows the route, you will be allocated a volunteer guide.

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