This walk starts in dry Renosterveld and takes you to a waterfall that overlooks the Barrydale valley. The gradual incline of this route makes it perfect for trail runners and children (who can manage 4-5 hour hike). Caution is key if you want to attempt the technical descent to the water pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Nature lovers will be spoiled by the richness and diversity of the vegetation along the route, which includes some very special endemic species of Fynbos.
The name Renosterveld is derived from the Afrikaans word ‘renoster’, meaning rhinoceros, which is thought to refer to the Black Rhino which historically occurred in the Western Cape prior to its extermination as a result of hunting by early colonists during the 18th-19th Century. This is in reference either to the predominantly grey colour of the vegetation which was thought to be similar to a rhino hide or that Renosterveld was a key habitat for black rhino. We will never know for sure the exact answer.
Botanist, Flora Cameron, found her home in Barrydale and had this to say about the Cape Fynbos, succulent Karoo and Renosterveld biomes in the area: "There are interesting succulents amongst the Renoster bushes at the start of the trail. The most interesting of these is Machairophyllum albidum. Muraltia heisteria with its purple and white flowers offers brilliant colour. The transition zone (ecotone) is defined by a belt of bright green Dodonea angusta (sandolien). Restios (reeds), Ericas and Proteaceae indicate the start of the mountain fynbos. Protea repens, Protea piscine, Leucadendron salignum, Leucospermum calligerum, Erica plukenetii, Erica vestita. Many colourful bulbsand daisies depending on the time of the year. Always something flowering. Watsonias, Podalyria biflora, Euryops, Acmadenia. It is a largely undisturbed example of the fynbos of the Northern slopes of the Langeberg. Best flower books: Field guide to fynbos by John Manning and Plants of the Klein Karoo by Jan and Anne Lise Blok."
An early morning hike is suggested to allows visitors the best chance of experiencing the thriving bird-life in Barrydale. Starting your hike early will also prevent you from being out in the harsh African sun at the hottest part of the day. There is little shade to be found along the trail. A hike to the waterfall and back takes about 4 hours. This route is maintained by local enthusiasts.
GET INFO FROM A BARRYDALE LOCAL:
Flora is a member of Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers and offers outdoor enthusiasts guided hikes in the area at R100 per person.
HOW LONG AND TOUGH IS THIS HIKE:
Distance = 10km (5km to waterfall and 5km back to start)
Climb = 400m
Direction = up and down on same route
Total Hiking time = 4 hours
WHEN ARE TRAILS OPEN:
SUNRISE TO SUNSET
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG:
At least 2 x 750ml water bottles. Barrydale can get extremely hot, so to be safe you should take 2 liters of water per person. You could fill up your bottle at the waterfall, but to get to the water is a tricky descent and you might not be able to refill.
- You will be in direct sunlight the whole time. There is no shade so remember sunscreen and a hat.
- The hike down to the waterfall is tricky, be very careful not to slip and hurt yourself.
- Leave no trace policy, do not litter and take only memories back home.
- No fires allowed.
- There are no ablution facilities along the route.
TRAILS STARTS & ENDS:
You can follow the green route that passes through Barrydale and Smithsville (and informal settlement bordering the town) or the Yellow route that passes The Blue Cow Restaurant, around Barrydale.
Are dogs allowed? Yes.