Valentine’s Day is a date disdained by anyone with a brain. And, since we hikists definitely have at least one between the three of us, we decided the best way to spend this deformed festival of love would be by doing something we love.
Moreover, Alison happened to remember that Table Mountain actually presents its very own Valentine’s to those who truly love her: the Red Disas, which bloom brighter than any bunch of roses in cool, bosky gorges under a glittering confetti of falling water.
Suikerbossie Circuit Hike Details
Elevation gain: 674m
Starting elevation: 157m
Max elevation: 723m
*Maps and stats by Map My Run, which worked just fine beacause we didn’t go into any caves.
10 Tips if you want to see Table Mountain Disas on the Suikerbossie Circuit
- The Pride of Table Mountain or Red Disa (Disa uniflora), only blooms once a year in early February, in shaded, moist places. Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine is well-known as one of the best spots to find them.
- There are two starting points for this hike. You can start close to the base of Myburgh’s Ravine, by parking at the end of Farrier’s Way in Hout Bay and finding the signposted footpath. However, this means you have to do a long, unshaded, horizontal slog across the face of the mountain at the end of your hike, which isn’t great.
- I recommend starting from Suikerbossie. There’s a parking area just after the turn-off to the restaurant from the main road and you’ll find the start of the trail just to the left of the Ryterplaats Estate entrance. Follow the path straight up to the end of the trees, then turn right and continue along the contour path for about an hour until you reach the second forested ravine, which is Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine. Follow the path up this.
- This is a fairly strenuous and dramatic route. It’s not that difficult, but it is fairly long, and it’s not that dangerous, but it can be a bit slippery and exposed in places, giving a good impression of danger. Inexperienced or unfit hikers should probably give this one a miss.
- Look out for the Red Disas on the wet rock faces on the right hand side about halfway up the Ravine.
- At the top, there’s lots of soft, thick Chondropetalum tectorum or, as I call it, ‘bed grass’ or ‘bliss bush’. This is my favourite restio, and is great for having a rest on, yo 🙂
- I was lucky enough to spot the uncommon Blue Disa (Disa graminifolia) on the plateau just before the descent to Llandudno Ravine. Keep an eye out for it!
- Another thing to keep an eye out for is the sharp right when you reach the small valley on your way down – this is the way to go for the descent via Llandudno Ravine. Do not go up the other side of the valley.
- Sunblock, hat, water, proper walking shoes.
- There’s pretty much no point in trying to go to the Hout Bay Market on Valentine’s Day. We thought this would be a brilliant lunch plan until we hit the traffic jam leading to the harbour. Hot Valentine’s Day lunch tip: apparently Pakalolo’s in Hout Bay is not considered romantic, and therefore had plenty of room for eight hungry hikers.
Photographs of the Suikerbossie Circuit Hike
Alison Westwood is a travel writer and hikist. You can read more of her writing at alisonwestwood.com