Our hike started in Silvermine, where we met our guide, Binnie Ridgway of Ridgway Ramblers. I foolishly hadn't eaten breakfast so I was pretty worried about survival. I became even more worried when I was handed a roll of toilet paper and a spade and told "you know what it's for"... but I wasn't willing to show any fear. I was tempted to panic-eat my entire lunch pack but everyone was watching and anyway, I read in a magazine that exercising on an empty stomach burns more calories for longer. And so we set off... on one of the most amazing weekends I've ever had.
It's really hard to describe the views and how good it felt to be out in nature, legs burning and lungs filled with fresh mountain air. There is really no way I can get the feeling and the energy across without actually dragging you up the mountain to experience it for yourself. I'm ashamed to say that in the three years I've lived in Cape Town, the most I've ever "hiked" has been up Lion's Head. I was nervous about the 25 kilometers that lay ahead, but I got so caught up in the beauty and the endorphins exploding through my body that soon it was lunch time and my new friends and I were having a rest and laughing and my legs weren't even burning as much.
The first day we hiked eleven kilometers with quite a long hike down into the Constantia Neck valley. By the time we reached the tented camp we would be spending the night in, I was almost too exhausted to marvel at how beautiful it was. I pulled off my shoes and crawled straight into bed for a power nap before I even had a shower. An hour later I woke up to the sounds of guitars and a grumbling belly.
The Orangekloof Tented Camp is a beautiful luxury camping set-up in Constantia Neck. There are six comfortable luxury tents with electric lights and fluffy bedding, a bathroom with hot showers, a huge fire pit that's perfect for singing around the campfire and an equipped kitchen. It's so magical that if the option to live there was available I would snap it right up.
Lucky for us, we were treated to a private performance by my new obsession, Black Handed Kites who are pretty much the epitome of around-the-campfire-music. So obsessed with these guys. I've been listening to their album on repeat the whole week and I know all the lyrics by now.
Sunday's hike was longer and tougher but it took us through a stunning forest where fairies would definitely live if they were real (and they are) and up the back of Table Mountain. We had 14 kilometers to hike and by about the 400m mark my legs and feet were aching so much that I almost gave up. I think it was a combination of stiffness from the 11km's on Saturday and the liters and liters of Sedwick's I'd gaily consumed around the fire that was causing me to feel like I was dying. But I soldiered on and with every step I became more grateful that I did. I wish I could use my words to describe how beautiful it was but that's just crazy! No words can describe the experience.
At around 3pm we crested the last big vertical climb and suddenly everything was flat and there were clean, well-dressed tourists all around us. I'd gotten so caught up in the challenge and excitement of the hike that it was almost a culture shock to be back in civilized society. We were exhausted and sweaty but man, were we proud. Naturally, we celebrated with the bottle of Sedgwick's I'd conveniently kept in my backpack. We'd started, 25km's and two days ago, as relative strangers. As we shuffled into a cable car to glided back down the mountain, we said goodbye as friends.
Sedgwick's made this awesome video, shot by Jacques Koudstaal with the track by Black Handed Kites:
Thank you Sedgwick's for the absolutely awesome experience, memories and new friends. What an awesome way to #ShareTheWarmth. Find out more about hiking the Hoerikwaggo trail on their website. If you are looking to book a guide, I highly recommend Binnie. She was really awesome and she knew all the best secret spots along the way...