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Published: November 13th 2009
Easily viewable from almost anywhere on campus, Stellenboschberg was the closest mountain to the university for hiking. The entrance to the trials was right behind the university fitness center making it a popular place for walking and jogging. The first week I was in Stellenbosch, my roommate Theresa, Grant, Matt, and I went to check it out. Although the bottom of the mountain was a really easy climb, as we got further up the angle became steeper and steeper. We had only made it to the first peak when we decided to call it quits. The following day I quickly learned how out of shape my body was.
After a month or two Theresa and I decided to give the mountain another go, this time with Kelvin and Jenny. We made it past the first peak and on to the second with no problems. We stopped at the second peak to relax for a little while and we could hear barking. Strange, why would there be dogs on the mountains? We looked further up the mountain and saw at least half a dozen baboons running down the mountain. The baboons kept running up and down, chasing each other, but luckily
for us, they were not interested in coming after us. In fact, after we ate all of our food, we decided to continue hiking up the mountain, towards the baboons. As we progressed, the baboons ran further and further away from us and after a short while, they were nowhere to be found.
That wasn't the closest we would get to baboons either. On our way back to Stellenbosch from our spring break trip, we made a stop at a rest station. However, after we parked the vehicle practically right beside a baboon, there were not too many of us that were going to be getting out. Our tour guide, however, was driven much more fiercely by a need for nicotine than any concern for his safety. He seemed completely unfazed by the baboon and got out of the vehicle to smoke a cigarette only a few feet away from it.
After hiking Stellenboschberg twice, Theresa suggested that we try hiking in Jonkershoek. She had been biking there once before and heard that the hiking was supposed to be nice. Since it wasn't too far from campus, we figured we could bike to the mountain and then do
some hiking. Bad choice. Although we were able to find the place, it took us well over an hour to get there on our dirt cheap bikes with questionable breaks. Our travels were further made difficult by the non-flatness of the roads. By the time we arrived, we were exhausted. Even if we had still wanted to hike, we wouldn't have had the time to hike and then make it back to campus by dark. So we ended up buying something small to eat at the shop outside of the entrance and then heading back to campus.
A couple weeks later we were able to get a friend of ours to take us to Jonkershoek in his car. This time we were actually able to do some hiking and got to see some really lovely scenery. I've posted some of the really beautiful pictures that Theresa took.
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