This was my break-out hiking adventure after months of Covid-19 lockdown. I had not been to the Gifberg Holiday Farm for over ten years and when it became uncertain at what stage we would be allowed to travel across provincial borders, it was an obvious alternative on our mission to see what was already promising to be a fantastic flower season. Neiuwoudtville, that was on the original itinerary, is just across the Western Cape / Northern Cape border and we could not take that chance of cross border travel still being banned.
The farm is approximately four hours drive from Cape Town, just south of Vanrhynsdorp and well worth it for the four day / three night break. I had originally planned to take a drive to Neiuwoudtville on one of the days, but in the event, we were enjoying the farm environment and trails there, to the extent that no one wanted to get into the vehicles to make the trip. The flowers are not quite as extensive as you might find further north, but are nevertheless brilliant and the trails more than make up for it.
We arrived in the early afternoon in overcast conditions, but we seemed to have left the rain behind. After settling in to the well located stone cottages we had enough time to undertake the 4 km Hamerkop Trail. This one of four circular trails that start and end at the farm. Accompanied by Pieta, one of the two resident farm labradors, we followed the footprints along led us along the scenic Gifberg River, passing small cache of San rock art paintings, to the strongly flowing Blouvlei Waterfall. the way. The trail is clear at this point and the waterfall comes into view fairly soon after the start and once there, there is a little scramble up to top of the falls and the Vondelingsgat (Foundlings Hole – based on the potholes that have been eroded by the fast running water). After the waterfall the footprints seemed to disappear for a while as we followed Pieta, who seemed to know the way – he must have been on his own mission at that stage and we had to search for a few minutes to get back on track. The trail then leads to farm track back to base, in time to light the fire for the evening braai (barbeque) and a welcome sun downer.