Take the plunge! Your kloofing guide this summer

by CapeNature

One of the most popular activities throughout our CapeNature reserves, the Suicide Gorge kloofing trail, and its less extreme partner, the Riviersonderend Route, provide seasoned hikers with the chance to experience some jaw-dropping landscapes while undertaking some exciting jumps off cliffs and rocks into pools of cool Cape mountain water.

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Take a leap of faith. Photo: Michael Walker

The Riviersonderend Route, while still long and difficult, is ideal for those who don’t want to go too extreme on their first kloofing adventure. Starting off with a 4.1km hike, you then reach the kloofing section of the day which, while 6.1km long, only features a few compulsory jumps, the highest of which is 7m. Then it’s a 3.6km walk back to the parking area. The whole route will take you 7-8 hours, so be prepared for a long day.

Suicide Gorge, on the other hand, is only for the brave. You shouldn’t attempt this unless you’re an experienced hiker with high fitness levels and no fear of heights. However, don’t let the cautions put you off – if you do undertake this challenge, you’re in for a treat!

You begin by hiking for 8.4km, high into the mountains. Then the kloofing adventure beings. Despite being only 1.3km, you are going steeply downhill the whole time, undertaking many high, exhilarating jumps and even a waterfall slide. The highest of the compulsory jumps is a heart-stopping 14m leap into the pool below, with the resultant adrenaline surge your reward. The kloofing section also involves a lot of swimming, so be prepared to get wet, and stay wet! You’ll then have the opportunity to dry off somewhat, hiking for another 6.5km to get back to your car. Clocking in at almost 17km, this trail will take you upwards of 9 hours, so you’ll need to get in early and keep moving to get out before dark.

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Photo: Michael Walker

Look out for the signage, provided by CapeNature, at key points along the route, including at the parking area, the beginning of the kloofing sections, and at the kloofing exits, as well as the provision of waterproof maps. This way you can be sure of your route, and enjoy yourself without worrying about getting lost.

Watch this exciting video of the Suicide Gorge kloofing trail to see what you’re in for:


*Please note the hikers in this video are experienced. All those who go on the trails must adhere to the kloofing rules below if you are not used to these conditions.

To book your kloofing experience, get hold of our call centre on 021 483 0190, or email them on reservation.alert@capenature.co.za.

ACCESS
Parking is available near the office on the entrance road. Both kloofing routes start with a walk from the office along the management road to Landdroskop. Routes are signposted on the footpath.

KLOOFING RULES

  • Start early. Hikers may not set out from the starting point later than 9am and must be out of the reserve before the gate closes at 7pm.
  • You must have a permit.
  • Groups must be guided by an experienced kloofer who has done the trail before.
  • No children under 12.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

  • Reserve office hours are 8am to 4pm weekdays only. The entrance gate is open from 8am to 7pm. A staff member is on duty seven days a week.
  • The route is open from 1 November to 30 April every year.
  • Saturdays and Sundays must be booked a month in advance.
  • Reservations (permits): +27 21 483 0190, email: reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
  • Group size: five groups of six people are allowed over weekends; groups of 12 to 15 allowed on weekdays.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Hiking permit
  • Good, lightweight hiking shoes.
  • Swimsuit, a quick-drying shirt and swimming shorts. Cotton is not advised. Remember, this is a wet hike.
  • A light wetsuit is recommended – 80% of the kloofing requires swimming and you will remain wet throughout.
  • Bring a change of clothes along and leave it in the car for after the hike.
  • Drinking water (drinking river water can cause illness).
  • At least one proper dry bag, waterproof for 14m drops into water, with warm jackets or tops for the group.
  • Lunch and energy snacks in sealed bags. This hike requires energy.
  • Waterproof sunblock. There are patches of shade to rest under, but for most of the walk you might be exposed to the sun.
  • Waterproof camera/video camera. Views are incredible and you will want pictures of you and your friends doing the jumps.

KLOOFING SAFETY

  • Kloofing is strenuous and jumps can be dangerous. Only do these routes if you are a fit and experienced hiker. Go with someone who has done the route before.
  • Weather can turn quickly in the mountains. Check the weather forecast and do not start if rain or poor weather conditions might set in.
  • Wear a wetsuit and carry food, emergency gear and warm clothing in a waterproof pack.
  • Once you’re in the gorges, the only way out is to continue down the river, so be prepared for a long day. Tell someone where you are going and your expected time of return. There is no cellphone reception in the kloofs, so you’re on your own.
  • Never jump without testing the water. Cape mountain water is very dark due to the natural tannins in the water, and underwater hazards can be invisible. Never assume that a pool that was clear of obstacles before is still safe, large rocks and branches are regularly moved around by water.
  • Land feet first, legs together, with your arms at your sides. Never, ever dive.
  • When booking a guided trip, ensure that your guides are qualified and check whether wetsuits are provided.
  • If there is rain, beware of flash floods, the river can rise metres in minutes.

*Please note that the Suicide Gorge and Riviersonderend Route kloofing trails may be closed at any time at the discretion of the reserve staff, in the event of inclement weather or any other unsafe conditions.

Published in Eco-Tourism

One Comment

  • Stefan Burger

    December 18, 2017 8:29 am

    Good morning

    Does the river have enough water in for doing the The Riviersonderend Route?