- Multi-Day Hike (Day 1: 10 km, day 2: 12.5km)
- Some water along route
- Permits needed
- Shade in some places
Arangieskop is a stunning and challenging two day hike. There is certainly good reason it is considered to be one of the toughest hikes to complete in the Western Cape. Day one is only 10 km but it is a steep uphill battle almost the entire way with a overnight stop at the Arangieskop hut. Day two starts with another short uphill climb to the summit followed by a long tough descent that will most certainly take it’s toll on your body, leaving you struggling to walk comfortably the next day. If you do brave it this hike, the views and general scenery along with the unbeatable feeling of accomplishment make it all worthwhile. Permits are required for this hike, phone or email the Langeberg Municipality at +27 23 616 8027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hike starts from the Dassieshoek hut, as you exit the gate take a turn to your left. Walk along the dirt road until you reach the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve. At the first fork in the road about 800 m into the hike, make sure to stay left. On day 1 look out for the white footprints and cairns, these will keep you on track in moments on uncertainty (this changes to yellow footprints on day 2).
At 1.2 km take a sharp left, close to the picnic area. Shortly after this, cross a bridge made from railway line. The road will take a bend to the right shortly afterwards at about 1.36 km a set of footprints will guide you off the road to path on your left where the ascent begins. Some carved out stairs will assist you for the first part of your climb, which takes you into the fynbos. Unfortunately, this area was still recovering from fire damage when we walked through it. Although the bushes may still be recovering don’t forget to take a look at the scenery of Robertson behind you and the beautiful mountain ahead of you.
At 4 km the descent starts into the valley. On your way down there’ll be some chains and ladders to help you get down to the water. At the bottom you will find plenty of shade, flowing water and many comfy rocks to rest on. This area is great for a tea stop, a short recuperation period and a water refill. It will be needed, as the section ahead is no easy feat.
Mike Lundy quotes the first 3 km of this section as “what will separate the men from the boys”. From here you do just under 5 km of climbing and gain 740 m in elevation. After walking along the river, the path takes a turn to the left where the ascent starts. Most of this section you walk along a switchback path. Along here, there a few spots especially closer to the top where the path becomes less obvious. Generally, it just takes a few moments of exploring to find the next cairn or set of footprints to guide you.
There is a 2 km (to go) marker as you come across another water point. With 9 km behind you and just 1 km more to go, the worst of the ascent is behind you and the gradient evens out for the rest of the walk to the Arangieskop hut, your overnight accommodation. Here, you are able to treat yourself to warm showers and even flushing toilets. Our advice is to get the donkey boiler going as soon as you get there. Generally, the hut is full and all 25 hikers will want to freshen up. The hut is also equipped with electricity for lights and braai area, so don’t forget to pack some meat.
Day 2 is a total distance 0f 12.5 km back to the Dassieshoek hut. To make your way to the Arangieskop summit back track the way you came into the Arangieskop hut and follow the yellow footprints to the top. The hike to the summit is just over 1 km in distance and 200 m in elevation.
After reaching the summit, the tough descent begins. Go especially slowly and carefully over this first section but be sure to still stop and take in the spectacular views while descending. About 4 km into the hike, the trails leads you down into a forest area. This sections of the hike is far more overgrown the the preceding kilometers of days 1 and 2. Much of this section is along the river. The trail is also not obvious at times, keep a look out for those footprints. At approximately 4.5 km, there is another short climb, which requires some basic scrambling at some parts. The hike continues for another 500 m on a relatively flat gradient. Watch your footing along this part of this hike. The path is falling away in some sections and is loose along the edges in others.
The path will lead you down into a valley. This is a good spot to stop, catch your breath and refill your water bottles before the last short and easy climb. The descent following this is rather straight forward, but still long. At about 8.5 km the path will start to zigzag down. Continue along this dirt road and follow the yellow footsteps. At approximately 10.8 km you will arrive at the farm roads that will lead you back to the Dassieshoek hut.
Photo credits: Nicole Morse