Waterval Porterville Trail, Porterville, Western Cape | Cape Town Hikes | Hiking Guides for the Waterval Porterville Trail to be found in Porterville

 
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  Home | Hiking Guide | Waterval Porterville Trail

This is an adventurous route, starting in a densely wooded ravine with 20-odd waterfalls and tiered pools. The path then leaves the gorge and meanders across the mountaintop, following the ridge above the farm, before descending a gorge to another farm and dam and then following a jeep track back to the start. When entering a vakansieplaas, it’s unusual to be greeted by an indemnity but when hiking the eight-hour circular Waterval, route it’s easy to see why owners Mac and Susan Jordaan cover their backs. When I heard about this hike, up a series of waterfalls in a kloof and then up across a mountain and down another kloof, I had to do it. Waterval is just outside Porterville, lying where the Olifantsrivierberge merges with the foothills of Groot Winterhoek, and only two hours from Cape Town. Submitted by Karen Watkins.

   
Waterval Porterville Trail
Waterval Porterville Trail
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Where: Just outside Porterville, two hours from Cape Town
Start/End:
Waterval Vakansieplaas, call Mac and Susan Jordaan 082 878 1358. Click to see route description
Walk Duration: Eight hours including breaks.
Type of Terrain:
Steep wooden steps, rocky, slippery terrain
Difficulty:
The route is not for the faint hearted or for those who are unfit.
Bookings: of chalet akkomodasie, kampering, slaaplokale and hiking at Waterval Vakansieplaas,
call Mac and Susan Jordaan 082 878 1358
Weather Report:
Click here to plan your hiking day noting daily temperatures.
Waterval Porterville Trail
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Route Description:

This is an adventurous route, starting in a densely wooded ravine with 20-odd waterfalls and tiered pools. The path then leaves the gorge and meanders across the mountaintop, following the ridge above the farm, before descending a gorge to another farm and dam and then following a jeep track back to the start.

When entering a vakansieplaas, it’s unusual to be greeted by an indemnity but when hiking the eight-hour circular Waterval, route it’s easy to see why owners Mac and Susan Jordaan cover their backs.

When I heard about this hike, up a series of waterfalls in a kloof and then up across a mountain and down another kloof, I had to do it.

Waterval is just outside Porterville, lying where the Olifantsrivierberge merges with the foothills of Groot Winterhoek, and only two hours from Cape Town.

My first encounter with Mac Jordaan was when a group of children trailed behind him, carrying containers of food for the various farm animals – sheep, goats, horses and two Springbok. Apparently Mac not only accommodates hikers and campers but also animals rescued from road accidents and airports. His quiet gentleness is immediately evident and it came as no surprise to hear that he was a teacher of science and mathematics in Porterville but he is now living his dream. “I love trees,” he states reeling off scientific names and, “there are 46 indigenous trees and shrubs between the guava trees and the first waterfall”.

Mac is almost blind and has an untreatable eye disease but, despite this, he has built the resort and hiking trail, an enormous feat considering having to bypass 20-odd waterfalls.

The weather prediction wasn’t good, 100% possibility of rain in Cape Town over the Freedom Day long weekend. Hoping for better weather in Porterville, we set off for Waterval vakansieplaas and sure enough woke to clear blue sky and no wind. Four of us set off on the ascent of Assegaiboskloof, according to the maps, but because it’s on Waterval Farm, most people call it Watervalkloof. There are said to be 26 waterfalls but it’s anyone’s guess how they can be counted. Some are high and spectacular while others are shorter, gushing rivulets however, all of them are delightful to see, photograph and I’m sure, in warmer weather to swim under.

Climbing the first vertical ladder, we crossed still-wet rocks and a slippery looking log bridge, the indemnity running through my mind: “Regardless of how it may have been caused or occurred and/or whether it occurred directly or indirectly as a result of any negligence by the abovementioned parties.” The indemnity was no longer a laughing matter as we scrambled up steep rock slopes, climbed vertiginous ladders, crossing and re-crossing the stream on moss-covered slippery rocks – a veritable obstacle course and mind your head!

Two hours later we reached the top of the forested gorge to pass through a bushy section, soaking us from head to foot after the rain of the past two day’s. As the sun hit the rocky cliffs, we stopped for a welcome break.

“Follow the yellow markers. If you can’t see them, you’ve gone the wrong way,” Mac’s words rang in my ears as we followed a clear path but with no markers. What relief as we came across an arrow and relaxed as we traversed the face of the mountain with Porterville spread below among golden wheat fields. Unusual rock formations surrounded us inspiring our imaginations to run wild.

Mac had talked of a “crater” and I visualised a barren depression surrounded by rocks, it was in fact a vlakte, verdant with restios and flowering Brunia nodiflora, Stompie. Our route took a course past a rocky outcrop and Haeria argentea Kliphout, some in flower and some with bright red glossy berries, plus aloes, clinging to rock face. At this point we had been walking for four hours.

Making our way through the forest, we entered the vlakte to enjoy lunch, sunning ourselves like dassies on rocks, before the descent into Blindekloof.

The descent is dreadful! With knee-wrenching sections of loose rocks, bushy in places and with two vertiginous ladders to bypass the waterfalls, we were unhappy! We moaned and complained, we slid and swore, but it came to an end, thankfully, and a final stretch along a dirt road back to the farm, six hours from the start.

The waterfalls were spectacular but we need to go back and appreciate them fully, now that we know that we can survive them!

Grading: If you don’t like the wooden steps in Skellies (Skeleton Gorge) this is not for you. If you are sure-footed, have a good head for heights and hike regularly then it is for you. A bonus is that you need only carry approximately half a litre of water, because the water quality is so good.

Thanks to Karen Watkins for submitting this hike.
Karen Watkins (Author of Adventure Walks & Scrambles in the Cape Peninsula)

www.uncoverthecape.co.za
 

Waterval Porterville Trail, Porterville, Western Cape | Cape Town Hikes | Hiking Guides for the Waterval Porterville Trail to be found in Porterville

 
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