Seweweekspoort Peak


Seweweekspoort Peak is at 2325m the highest peak in the Western Cape and situated in the Klein Swartberg mountain range close to Ladismith.  It is normally climbed either from the longer southern route (Hoeko) or the shorter northern side (Vleiland).


Southern (Hoeko) approach:
Please click on maps below for large view:

  

From Ladismith, take the road eastwards towards Calitzdorp/Oudtshoorn for about 11km to where a sign indicates "Hoeko".  Turn off here (north) and just after that right again on the Balmoral dirt road.  
 
Please call Mr. Gerrit Nel in advance on 028-5611628 to get permission for crossing over his farm to the start of the route.  With a diff-lock bakkie or 4x4 SUV one can drive up a steep track to gain some height and cut out 30 minutes hiking before parking your vehicle.  If you're driving a sedan you can park at the start of this steep section. 
 
From the parking area the trail starts as an old forestry jeep track and continues until a hut/shelter is reached after 1,5 - 2 hours.  From here on a hiking trail continues zig-zagging up the hill for about 10 minutes (+-200m from hut) whereafter it starts turning left (north), crosses a small stream (often dry), and continues along the base of a rocky ridge.  Eventually a rain gauge will be found.  This is unfortunately the end of the hiking trail and one needs to look out for stone beacons that guide the way further.  From the rain gauge one climbs the steep slope until on top of the ridge and roughly follows it all the way until the cave area is reached.  Look out for a large rock leaning against the rock face, cross underneath and the cave is about 50m further on the righthand side, although it's not easily seen since it's a horizontal split.  Seweweekspoort Peak's cave (also known as the Colas Coetzee Cave) is roughly (poor signal) at S 33°24'12.6"  E021°22'09.5''  at 2015m a.s.l. if you're using a GPS.  The cave's water puddle is between thick grass near the rocks about 10m from the cave. 
 
From the start from the cars to the cave (up, one way) will take 5 to 8 hours' hiking and although streams may be crossed after rains, it is recommended to take enough water from the parking area to cover the trip.  Most call it a day after reaching the cave and go to the summit the next day before descending back down.  Between the cave and the leaning rock one scrambles very steeply upwards in a narrow gully until more even ground is reached.  From here on it takes a sharp eye to follow the stone beacons between the rocks and boulders and some exposed scrambling will be encounter whereafter a large plateau is reached.  Cross this in the obvious (northern) direction to the summit and after some more scrambling and a short chimney/gully one will see the old trig beacons on top.  Descend the same way down to the cars.


Northern (Vleiland valley) approach:
(normally used in the 9-Peaks Challenge)
Please click on map below for large view:


The parking/start for this route can be reached either from Laingsburg, or by driving through the magnificent Seweweekspoort pass when coming from the Ladismith/Calitzdorp side on the Route 62 (please refer to the map above).  

Vehicles are parked at a gate next to the gravel road that runs through the Vleiland valley (between Laingsburg and the Route 62).  Please refer to the map for the exact location ( S 33º21'59"  E 021º21'54"
 ) and strictly use this parking only please.  Do not park at any of the nearby houses.  The landowner of this property, Mr Jaco Hunlun, does not charge a fee at this stage but he must always be informed well in advance of your vehicle description, group size and date(s) of your climb.  Please contact him (preferably via Whatsapp) on 0762700101 to make arrangements.

After crossing Mr Hunlun's property the rest of the route falls on the "Towerkop Staatsbos" property, managed by Cape Nature Conservation, who doesn't require official reservations for this area.  (Unless you're a commercially operated group)

Similar to most parts of the southern route, no hiking trail exists on the northern approach either.  Over time the route indicated on the map (blue line) has been proven to be the easiest.  The northern approach is much shorter than the southern route, but of course steeper in general.  Water and natural shelter (caves) are non-existing on the northern approach, so water supplies need to be filled up in advance.  It is possible to cross the summit and descend down the southern side until the cave with water there is reached, however it is not normally done as part of the day hike since a good few hours extra would be required.

The northern approach route is normally done as a "car-to-car" up-and-down day hike within about 5 to 8 hours depending on group size, fitness and weather.  Please be prepared for gale force winds on top, as well as snow and ice during the winter months from April up to October.  Mobile reception might be limited.  Should accommodation be required, please click on www.seweweekspoort.co.za for anything from camping to self catering.  It is close by in the Vleiland valley and very convenient as an overnight stop when climbing Seweweekspoort Peak (especially for the northern approach)
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Please click on pictures for larger view:
Parking spot for Northern route.

Approach from Northern (Vleiland) side with the summit at the top (to the left).

View from the summit of Seweweekspoort Peak towards the west.  Towerkop in far distance.
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