Hike an off-the-beaten-path 1500 m high mountain near Tulbagh, Western Cape. There really is no path up so you have to find your own route, however the main difficulty is endurance. You’re rewarded by fantastic 360-degree views from the top.
This hike starts at Oude Compagnies Post Cottages, 15 minutes from Tulbagh and 1hr30 from Cape Town via either the N1 or N7. We stayed two nights at these wonderfully located cute cottages – see Where to Stay for details.
From the front of the cottages on the side of the mountians, head right along a track by a grassy field.
- Take: sunhat, sunscreen, water and snacks.
- In summer, set off early to avoid climbing in the heat.
- Don’t attempt this route if the weather is bad – there is no path and some steep drops so you need good visibility.
- Though this route is not very far, it is very tiring.
- Stay at the beautiful cottages of Oude Compagnies Post* for an easy early start and a relaxing post-hike swim.
- If you don’t stay at the Cottages, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 72 555 3782 beforehand to ask for details.
After a few hundred metres you reach a row of trees and turn left towards the mountain through a field of vines.
The prominent rocky mountain that you see is not the top but just over half-way up. To the left of this top is the saddle that you are initially heading for and where the path ends.
After leaving the grapes the path becomes narrower and heads quite steeply upwards through colourful fynbos.
Once you’re at the saddle you have great views over Tulbagh Valley and also the flat fields on the other side stretching to the ocean.
The path now ends but you continue upwards through the low heather and undergrowth. Head right (north) and aim for the top of the ridge. It begins to get rocky and you have to detour around to avoid the cliffs but there is not any serious scrambling.
After a couple of kilometres and 300 metres climb you reach a very flat plateau. You’re basically at the top of the rocky mountain you can see from the cottages below, but now another surprise mountain has appeared in front of you and you can see the real top.
There is a patch of differently coloured, scratchy vegetation that you walk through before reaching the new slope. We headed diagonally up the grassy patch before crossing left over the hump into the shallow valley.
We continued straight up the shallow valley to the top ridgeline.
Near the top, the righthand (eastern) side of the mountain becomes extremely steep. In fact, the cliffs are overhanging and you can see a patch of red sandstone that gives this peak, Roodezandberg, its name. Have a look, but then stay away from this dangerous edge.
As you continue there is some scrambling over large boulders along the ridgeline, though we avoided this scramble on the way down by taking a slightly lower route.
At the Top
Finally you reach the top, marked by a white trig point. Relax and enjoy the 360-degree view!
To the north, you can see the peaks of Grootwinterhoek, to the south-east the beautiful horse-shoe valley of Tulbagh, and to the west the flat fields and the ocean. We thought we could even make out Table Mountain!
On the Way Back Down
The return route is the same as the way up. On the climb we noted prominent features at important locations to help us avoid cliffs and keep in the right direction. Even so we didn’t return entirely the same route.
As we descended the temperature increased and the sun beat down on us. There is no shade. We were very happy to get back to our cottage, have a late lunch and a refreshing swim before relaxing by the pool for the rest of the day.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the lovely cottages of Oude Compagnies Post*.
The views are fantastic and the atmosphere is very peaceful. You can taste and buy the wine in a large, unique barn just next to the cottages.
The interior of the cottage was well-designed and the WiFi strong. There is a braai area and elegant swimming pool in front of the cottages and everything has an amazing view. I would highly recommend a stay here!
Find out more about Tulbagh here.
Chasing Ostriches Book
Our stay at Oude Compagnies Post* was the second-last stop on our two-month road trip around South Africa which we wrote up as a book, Chasing Ostriches. Discover many other amazing places in South Africa and see more photos here.