With the novel Coronavirus predicted to peak in South Africa in September 2020, it’s time to brush away the cobwebs from hiking gear and make plans writes KAREN WATKINS.

The Tulbagh community are inviting nature lovers to hike the valley, for a cause, as the first official Tulbagh Disa Trail is set to take place from Thursday to Sunday, 10 to 13 September, 2020. The four day hike traverses 80km of Saronsberg, Winterhoek and Witzenberg mountains, mostly on private land.

Tulbagh Disa hiking trail
Terrain is varied on the Tulbagh Disa trail, from rolling single track through vineyards, blossoming orchards and olive groves to fynbos, gum trees and full dams. Pictures: Karen Watkins

Tulbagh community unite with new hiking trail

The idea of creating a hiking trail started as a seed sprouting from Tulbagh farmer Anwyn Orffer. After walking the Spanish Camino de Santiago she returned to Tulbagh and kept on hiking.

On the Whale Trail she met Ronelle van Zyl, organiser of the 100km Lighthouse2Lighthouse Ladies Walk, a fund-raiser along the southern Cape coast.

Anwyn decided that Tulbagh has much to offer. She approached the community who unhesitatingly gave amazing support. A trial Tulbagh Disa Walk was launched to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the town’s earthquake of September 29, 1969. With tremors measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale it is no wonder that nine people lost their lives.

Cross-trainer clad feet will tap a rhythm on varied terrain where oxen hooves once trod. Footpaths cross a patchwork of vineyards through the valley from olive groves and orchards in blossom to nature reserves filled with flowers. If it’s hot there are sparkling dams and rivers with cascading waterfalls and wildlife.

Highlights include olive product tasting at Oakhurst and a fruit packing tour at Modderasrivier. Farms include Tulbagh’s oldest wine producing farm De Oude Kompagnies Post and Theuniskraal which has been owned by the Jordaan family since 1929.

The trail ends at Vrolikheid where hikers meet Huis Disa residents who are beneficiaries of funds raised from the trail.

Accommodation is dormitory style at Waterval UCSA south of Tulbagh. Breakfast, packed lunch and supper are included. All you need to take are snacks and a water bottle. Transport in trucks and kombis from base to the start and end of the trail is an adventure and included in the cost. Everything is done by volunteers from the community.

Flowers are bountiful as amateur botanists trip over three disa species on the first farm on the Tulbagh Disa Trail. Picture: Karen Watkins
Flowers are bountiful as amateur botanists trip over three disa species on the first farm on the trail.

Tulbagh Disa Trail bookings

New friendships are made as weary hikers soak feet soak in Waterval’s swimming pool or lie on the lawn sipping local beneath a canopy of stars. Don’t miss it. All costs will be refunded should Coronavirus lockdown continue.

Bookings: The Tulbagh Disa Trail 2020 takes place from 10 to 13 September. Entry includes breakfast, supper, accommodation, a t-shirt, goodie bag and transport to the start and end of the trail.

The trail: The degree of difficulty varies from 2 on day 1; 3 on day 2; 4 on day 3 and 2 on day 4.

What: Tulbagh Disa hiking trail
Contact: info@tulbaghtourism.co.za
Pictures: Karen Watkins
WS