Welcome to Rim of Africa

The Rim of Africa is not a trail. It is a story and a journey.  A traverse on foot through the wild of the Cape Mountains. It is also a non-profit organisation and public benefit trust which:

  • Supports matric students on the Wild Nights Out to connect with their dreams and visions through facilitated mountain wilderness trails.

Beyond our projects, we are simply in love with a long, rugged line of wild peaks and valleys, stretching some 750km from the Cederberg in the north, to the Outeniqua foothills in the east, forming the south-western rim of the African continent.

RIM OF AFRICA MOUNTAIN TRAVERSE
This demanding hike, is a full traverse of the Cape Fold Mountains and is divided into 9 stages each varying between 6 and 10 days in duration. 

Join us for just one stage, a combination of stages, or all stages linked to make one journey called a Thru-Hike. The traverse for 2020 takes place between 24 September and 20 November 2020.

WHY IT IS TOUGH
Some days will be very difficult or challenging as we walk through thick vegetation, over rough rocks and along old trails, in searing heat one moment and cold winds, or rain the next. It is not about distance covered, although we will hike far. It is not about any fastest known time, we take our time, but we also move at a pace that demands good fitness and enthusiasm for adventure.

WHAT IT TAKES
The Rim of Africa route is suited for experienced and fit hikers, who are looking for a different and meaningful hiking experience. We are not offering a packaged or tame adventure. We are experienced mountain guides in love with these wild places. We are there for navigation and safety with support and knowledge. You are responsible for your own food and preparation, while we supply tents and expertise. Read the FAQs here.

WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT
Because we only live once, and experiences count. Besides, mountains are a beautiful wild refuge where the journey of our life takes on new meaning. 

Prepare in advance, train, and know your own abilities and limitations before applying and you will get the most from this unique opportunity. Please note our terms and conditions. You are invited to apply and join us for the 2020 traverse. 

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About

Why

Who

How

Why am I walking here on this high mountain of experience? Why am I walking here where the sharp jagged edge of attaining this place has out-worn my weary limbs? What am I doing here cradled above the free-falling stream where small, high-pitched discomforts flutter among the thick vegetation like bird song, perch momentarily and then are lost within the low dense entanglement of diversity?

All that is up here feeds on this mountain. Even each delicately red Erica, each patch of damp, green moss, each brightly spirited sunbird and each pool of silent water.

We are not tourist guides or mountain guides in the traditional sense. We are people who have grown competent in our love for these mountains. We are not offering a packaged, tame experience. We are inviting you to embrace the Rim of Africa ethos and to join us, if that inspires you. We believe in the power of these mountains for good.

We have long wondered: How can we truly share the Rim of Africa experience? We have tried different things. We are learning. We are exploring. This is an experience, and one we all cherish each time we walk it. 

 

The Rim of Africa happens once a year in springtime. Places on this experience are limited. We invite you to apply for one of these places. The Rim of Africa is not for economic profit. But there is a cost. We strive to include people from diverse economic backgrounds and we make some donor funded places available.

If there is a space for you this year, you can join the Rim of Africa community, starting your thread of the story at Pakhuis in the Cederberg. You choose how much of the journey you want to hike. You may choose to hike multiple years in a row, slowly completing each of the 9 Traverses of the route.

It’s that simple.

 

 

 Route

Although the route we follow is generally the same each year, as this is a wild traverse much of it is off-path and so we vary our journey as required. This is the allure and appeal of the Rim of Africa as a mountain experience – it is always different. 

Take a look at each traverse offering below. Note the dates of each section and apply for your place.

24 - 30 September 2020

Traverse 1 - Cederberg

24 – 30 September 2020

Your adventure begins on-trail with breathtaking views of the highlights of the Cederberg from North to South. This classifies as the classic traverse of the Cederberg, from Pakhuis to Middelberg Pass.

Highlights:  The Cederberg is a remarkable wilderness area of rock formations, caves, rock pools and incredible vistas. A rugged terrain with rich biodiversity. This is one of the easier traverses and ideal to get into Rim of Africa way of hiking.

Duration: 7 days

Terrain:  Mountainous, some steep gradients, good trails and some off-trail hiking.
 
Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.
 
Hiking Grade: Fairly Strenuous. Two main climbs to ascend and one off-path day.
 
Distance:  ±90km
30 Sept - 5 October 2020

Traverse 2 - Kouebokkeveld

30 Sept – 5 October 2020

One of our most loved sections as we enter private land that takes us up some of the region’s most remarkable peaks. You will be forgiven for thinking you are in the Drakensberg. A tough traverse or two followed by a gentle descent to camp on the last day.

Highlights: Discover the real gems of the Kouebokkeveld, remarkable rock formations, secret valleys, towering peaks and views you never imagined possible in the western Cape.

Duration: 6 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, peak ascents, all off-path, technical.
 
Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.
 
Hiking Grade:  Strenuous
 
Distance: ± 60km
5 - 11 October 2020

Traverse 3 - Skurweberge

5 – 11 October 2020

The Skurweberg traverse is full of unexpected dimensions. A mixture of off-trail and beautiful ridge-line tracks with occasional crossings of farmlands and cooling pine forests thrown in to the mix, following the Witzenberg South to the fruit capital of Ceres.

Highlights: The rock pools on day one will never be forgotten. A tough yet inspiring traverse over the Skurweberge, crossing the Atlantic/Indian ocean water shed line and along the Witzenberg down to Ceres.

Duration: 7 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, on and off-path.
 
Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.
 
Hiking Grade:  Strenuous
 
Distance: ± 84km
11 - 18 October 2020

Traverse 4 - Hex River

11 – 18 October 2020

A unique opportunity to traverse the formidable Hex River Mountains. Vast amphitheatres of rock and rich vegetation with extensive views. A steep ascent, with incredible scenery and rich Fynbos, eventually lead us into the Klein Karoo with crystal clear rock pools.

Highlights: With almost 2000m altitude, this traverse reaches the highest point along the Rim of Africa. It includes incredible off-path hiking with a technical boulderous descent into the Hex River Valley. Sleeping in the shade of a vast amphitheatre. 

Duration: 8 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, off-path, technical.
 
Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.
 
Hiking Grade:  Strenuous
 
Distance: ± 92km
17 - 24 October 2020

Traverse 5 - Langeberg

17 – 24 October 2020

The ultimate ridge-line hike, from the Koo Valley to Montagu. Experience the thrill of walking in the sky, as we navigate vegetated and rocky ridges alike with extensive views, on a clear day as far as the Indian ocean.

Highlights: This traverse is out of this world – literally. Great fusion of hiking and scrambling through protea and mountain fynbos with incredible views for days on end.

Duration: 8 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, off-path, technical.
 
Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.
 
Hiking Grade: Strenuous
 
Distance: ± 75km
 
NOTE – the end of Traverse 5 includes a full REST DAY for Thru-Hikers and anyone completing 5 and 6 consecutively. 
24 Oct - 2 Nov 2020

Traverse 6 - Marloth

24 Oct – 2 Nov 2020

Our longest traverse, from the historical gem of Montagu, with an initial Camino style hike making way to exposed ridge-line scrambles, followed by Marloth’s luxurious hiking trails and after a superb boulderous descent, ending at the Klein Karoo village of Barrydale.

Highlights: Classic cape fold mountain formations from word go. Exceptional array of fynbos flora, some of the best in the Western cape. Vista of historical villages

Duration: 10 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, mix of on & off-path.

Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.

Hiking Grade: Strenuous

Distance: ± 115km

2 - 8 November 2020

Traverse 7 - Grootvadersbosch

2 – 8 November 2020

A perfectly laid out traverse from Barrydale through Grootvadersbosch nature reserve via one of the best ridge line scrambles down into Gysmanshoek, then past the famous Sleeping Beauty peak, ending in Garcia Pass outside Riversdale.

Highlights:  The fynbos splendour of Grootvaders- and Bosmansbosch, crystal clear pools at most camps, exceptional ridge lines and abandoned trails above remote protea covered valleys.

Duration: 7 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, on & off-path.

Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.

Hiking Grade: Strenuous

Distance: ± 82km

8 - 15 November 2020

Traverse 8 - Gouritz

8 – 15 November 2020

Following the final stretch of Langeberg from Garcia to Cloete Pass, through hidden valleys, fynbos covered slopes, crossing trading routes of days gone past. Via exposed ascends and high peaks, changing to passing green pastures and crossing the Gourits river.

Highlights: The solitude of the Eastern end of the Langeberg with its crystal-clear streams and protea covered passes. Unique mountain peaks with views of Swartberg to the North and the Indian ocean just 50km South.

Duration: 8 days

Terrain: Mountainous, some steep gradients, on & off-path, technical.

Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.

Hiking Grade: Strenuous

Distance: ± 78km

14 - 20 November 2020

Traverse 9 - Outeniqua

14 – 20 November 2020

This final traverse takes you from Cloete pass on old farm tracks and hiking trails through the foothills of the Attakwas mountains and via Robinson pass and Ruitersbos nature reserve ending in the southern Outeniqua mountains West of George.

Highlights:  An absolutely delightful semi-circular ridgeline route past Skurweberg, a final meander down a remote river valley and a peach of a camp in a bird-rich patch of Afro-montane forest.

Duration: 7 days

Terrain: Mountainous, gradual slopes mainly on and some off-path.

Camps: Wild camping, bucket washes, no fires.

Hiking Grade: Fairly Strenuous

Distance: ± 70km

24 Sept - 20 Nov 2020

Thru-Hike

24 Sept – 20 Nov 2020
The ultimate experience 8 weeks in nature, on top of mountains, through remote valleys, along hidden long forgotten paths, from the Cederberg in the North to the Outeniqua in the East. 
 
Highlights: Endless ridge lines, rock formations, crystal clear spring water, swimming in mountain pools, sleeping under the stars.
 

Experienced and knowledgeable mountain guides. Breathtaking vistas, crossing the Cape Floral Kingdom, afromontane forests, leopard tracks and game spotting. Proteas and bird life. Rock paintings, thoughts, impressions, blisters and pain, laughter and tears, friends, memories and personal transformation.

Duration: 58 days

Distance: +/- 750 km

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Questions and Answers

It is. . . 

All those who have experienced the Rim of Africa attest to its potency. It is about immersion. In wild beauty. In serenity. In well-being. In discomfort. It is exhausting and restful. It is about height and depth, about silence and dialogue, about solitude and connecting.

It is about wandering and wondering. It is enlivening, invigorating, tranquil and surprising. It is soulful, sweaty, serene and scratchy. It is spectacular and poetic. It is not really a hike.

It is an act of love. It is unhurried. It endures. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Application and Costs

Entries for the 2020 season are open – and yes, places are limited.

WHAT IT COSTS IN 2020

R595 per day + R2,500 non refundable deposit

Coordinating an annual traverse of the Cape Mountains over 750km of wild terrain, takes a lot of organising.

We can go into all the detail about what it costs to convene such an epic experience as this, to give you an idea here are just some of the things our team works on all year round to make it possible:

  • Access agreements and camping permits – are not free.
  • 2 Professional Guides – guides are a requirement by some of our private landowners.
  • Communications – helping you plan.
  • Insurance – oh yes, it’s advisable.
  • Medical supplies & satellite phone – for the unexpected.
  • Logistics, food drops, resupply service and transfers to the start and back to Cape Town – takes some planning.
  • Team of Organisers – 12 months of work to arrange the above and support website, financials, bookings, projects, etc.

And when we divide all of that by the small groups on each traverse, it comes to a daily rate of R595 + R2,500 non-refundable deposit per section or a total of just R6,665 average per traverse.

RIM OF AFRICA PROJECTS & FUNDRAISING
We encourage all hikers to support Rim of Africa’s core give-back projects by making a donation in addition to the above participation costs. If each hiker makes a donation of between R1,000 – R2,500 per section, we can continue to support the following project in 2020:

  • Wild Nights Out– supporting Matric students to connect across boundaries and reach into their future.

NOTES
Minimum Group Size
There is a minimum number of participants required to register before we can confirm a traverse will take place – so get your friends to sign-up with you.

Sponsored Places
We offer 2 supported places which are partially sponsored, for enthusiasts such as students, pensioners or others who need financial support at R1050 all inclusive per traverse. Details in the application form. Terms and Conditions apply. Apply here for a sponsored place.

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PREPARATION HIKES
We offer two preparation hikes before the start of the traverse. These are an important opportunity to familiarise yourself with technical off-path hiking and the correct gear you will need to successfully enjoy the Rim of Africa. Find out if this experience is really for you and learn from our experienced guides on these weekends. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Months of preparations by a small dedicated part-time team who obtain access permission from more than 200 different landowners, answer any questions you may have leading up to the event, work to prepare logistics and coordinate transfers, scout new sections of the route, and on it goes. We are amazed ourselves how much it takes to get a group of people into remote mountains.
  • Logistics support (this involves your extra gear and your own pre-packed food being made available at resupply points on days 3, 4 or 5 depending on each section. This allows for your pack to be lighter than would be the case otherwise. At each resupply point you can off-load trash, restock your food, and pick up fresh gear / clothing).
  • Amo-boxes for storing gear and your pre-packed food.
  • 2 x Route Leaders per traverse.
  • All access permits + conservation fees.
  • All overnight camping fees.
  • Medical emergency pack, emergency satellite phone & GPS.
  • Indemnity insurance for any damage inadvertently caused to private property. 
  • A small dedicated team taking care of everything along the route for you, ensuring your re-supply boxes are delivered and trash removed.
  • The knowledge that your donation is being used responsibly.
  • Special and memorable Rim of Africa gifts from the trail.
  • An experience that will live on long after we reach the end of any stage, memories of wide open places, silence, pleasure, achievement, some pain and loads of good companionship. It will be tough, beautiful and amazing.

NOT INCLUDED
Rim of Africa is for those of us who enjoy the experience of preparing for an extended time in the mountains. The following is not included in the cost:

  • Food – you need to bring and pre-pack all your own food. This is great as it means you get to eat exactly what you love and can plan your meals according to your energy needs and preferences. 
  • Cooking stoves – You need to have your own stove for cooking or team up with another hiker and share. 
  • Tents – We have a limited supply of tents for rent on a first come first served basis, so sign-up early. 

Apply today as places are limited and the traverses sell out quickly.

 JOURNAL + IMAGE GALLERY

In 2012 a National Geographic Young Explorer, Jay Simpson, completed the first Thru-Hike of the rim of Africa route. Read his entertaining, informative and fun blog posts below.

View some of the many images taken by hikers over the years. 

 

Bookings:  +27 23 614 1895  – Ninon

Emergencies: +27 23 614 1895

Whatsapp:  +27 82 600 8117 – Ninon

Non-Profit Trust: +27 83 261 7960  – Ivan

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