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Victoria Peak

Leader: Pieter Jordaan 21 August 2019 Victoria Peak

Twenty-three sleepy souls met at the Jonkershoek Reserve Gate at 07h15, eager for a long and rewarding day in the mountains. After a few minutes milling about, and several calls for Wild Cards, a permit was organized and the indemnity form completed. From here it was a bumpy 20 minutes to Witbrug, with some of the less rugged vehicles just about scraping into the parking area.

At 08h00 we promptly set off down the waterfall trail towards the second obstacle of the day: Kurktrekkersnek. The weather was pleasantly cool and clear skies promised us outstanding views for the hike ahead. Both waterfalls were in full flight and the first few kilometers flew by as we basked in the magnificent backdrop. Suddenly the trail pitched dramatically upward and the grind to the nek began. Good solid trail degraded into scree and the going was tough to the lookout point about 3/4 of the way up. Here we said farewell to three of our party who decided rather to enjoy their day out on the classic Panorama Route chasing orchids. We reached the top of Kurktrekkersnek at 10h00 and everyone eagerly delved into their packs for the first snack break of the day.

Feeling refreshed and in good spirits, we soon reached the Victoria Peak junction. From here we squelched through the marshy terrain for few kilometers to the base of Victoria Peak. Now and then one of us would stumble sheepishly: feet soaked through as they got caught out by the streams and pools hidden amongst the reeds.

A strong northwesterly had picked up and most of us donned warmer gear before tackling the steep final ascent. This climb went by rather quickly, perhaps driven by the reward of a large lunch and a well-earned rest. At the top, however, we were greeted by the full force of the wind and we saw what it was driving: a large bank of clouds was rolling towards us, down the Jonkershoek valley. Fortunately, Torben was able to find an area to hunker down in, a few meters down the slope, and we tucked into our meals.

By 12h30, everyone was feeling the chill in the air and we started our long descent into clouds below. Once we hit the Dwarsberg plateau once more, visibility had dropped considerably and we were very grateful for the rather clear trail. At the Panorama Trail junction, we swung right towards Bergriviernek and then dropped down towards the cars at Witbrug.

We rejoined with our botanist party of three shortly before the end and swapped stories of what was a truly memorable day out. It had taken us 7.5 hours to cover the 20km route, not bad for a party of 20!

Pieter Jordaan


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