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Memorable hike marks 80 years

20 Jun

Memorable hike marks 80 years

“The aim of the walk was to spend time with my three children – Sally from New Zealand, Tim from Australia and Andrew from Hermanus. We had last been together five years ago at my late husband’s funeral in June 2019. This was a joyful reunion.”

So said Barbara Stuart who completed the Hermanus Camino for her 80th birthday.

“The experience was wonderful. The team – Jack, Shaun and Victor – went out of its way to make each day memorable. As guides they were experienced, empathetic, knowledgeable and fun. We walked, talked, shared, laughed and struggled up the mountain. The food was excellent and the accommodation spotless and comfortable.

“Only once did we have a power failure and have to go to bed with candles and torches.”

She shared her five-day experience with Hermanus Times.

Day 1: “We were welcomed by Leon at High Season Farm; given information and treated to a delicious supper in a picturesque setting. Our cars remained there for the duration of the journey.”

Day 2 (approximately 12 km): “We walked through the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. We went to the top of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and then to Die Plaaskombuis. Jack told us about the leper colony in the area and Dr James Barry, who had been an accomplished British army doctor. After his death it was discovered that he was a woman. We drove to Ataraxia Wine Estate, which resembles a church and is filled with modern art, for a tasting. We were then taken to Glen Oakes, with cottages made from stone and wood.

Day 3 (approximately 15 km): We wandered up and around the valley looking at all the fauna and flora. Jack pointed out all kinds of fynbos. He gave me a bunch of sage, which I kept in my backpack all the way home. We walked past apple orchards and had to climb over cattle grids from one farm to another. We made our way to Klein Watervalplaas, and there was plenty of rain and mud. The owner of the farm, Rob, told us stories of his mining exploits all over the world, especially in China.

Day 4 (approximately 14 km): This was by far the toughest day starting with a walk to the base of Haarkappers mountain route. We criss crossed upwards, which seemed to take forever. Finally we reached the top and the views were exceptional. We saw huge rocks named David and Goliath and lots more fynbos. The Khoi-San Rock Art in the hidden cave was viewed by some climbers. I was very happy to reach Phillipskop and have a glorious massage.

Day 5 (approximately 18 km): This day was much easier and entertaining. We walked to Stanford stopping at the Zesty Lemon for coffee. Jack told us about Sir Robert Stanford and took us through the town pointing out many historical buildings, eg the house where Lady Anne Barnard stayed as well as the beautiful old Anglican church where the pews are built diagonally to the aisle. The Stanford Market was busy, and we walked to the African Queen and were transported down the Klein River by Chantal. We disembarked and walked over some pinkish worm-like plants to Wortelgat.

Day 6 (approximately 14 km): We woke to pouring rain so set off into the Walker Bay Nature Reserve to the beach in our raincoats. Several walkers walked barefoot in the water and Jack pointed out baby sharks and various interesting shells. We waited in the rain for the motor boat to take us across the Klein River mouth. We had to scramble over rocks to get to the Fernkloof Nature Garden, where we looked at beautiful milkwood trees that have branches growing sideways. Jack used tuning forks to show us the reaction of certain plants for the bees. Finally we reached the Cliff Path and made our way to Burgundy restaurant, where we were given a delicious meal and certificates to indicate our success.

She concluded with these words: “I achieved my aim in spending the week with by beloved children and at the same time making wonderful memories which will last forever.”

Barbara Stuart with her children Sally, Tim and Andrew.


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