Hikes at Steynshoop
The Steynshoop Mountain Lodge property has hikes with colour-coded signs. The property includes almost a kilometre of the top of the range above the lodge, as well as extensive indigenous forest immediately above it. Please note that all these routes cover stony, rocky terrain and require good walking boots or shoes. Guests should take a cell phone with the lodge number on it, so as to be able to ring if necessary and should advise the reception staff of your intended route, before going.
The following are brief descriptions of the hikes within the property –
Red – this route starts at the end of the field below the swimming pool and goes (quite steeply) through the trees and into the heather area above them, to the west, to the boundary fence, where there is a gate from which you can walk to the top of “neck” going through the top of the range, where there is a solitary tree, and giving access to the top of the cliff range (to the east), with magnificent views to the north and south (you can see gold mine dumps in the distance, to the south and platinum mines to the north, indicative of the vast mineral wealth of the area and helping to explain why thunderstorms and lightening are so intense in the Magaliesberg range and valley).
Blue – this route goes up the path to the left of the waterfall and the stream feeding it, getting into quite rich indigenous forest with more and more impressive large trees as you go up quite steeply. You then break out into the heather area above the trees and below the cliffs and “Lightning Gorge” (directly above the lodge). From here you can walk along the base of the cliffs, to the east or the west. There are small caves at the base of the cliff face and you are advised not to go too close or into these as we have noticed disturbed grass at some, which could indicate that they are lairs for leopard, which are known to be on the property (as their spoor is occasionally seen).
Yellow – this the easiest route to walk, starting on the left of the approach gravel drive (where the gravel ends), and looping around through lighter treed areas, with a lot of protea trees. It eventually joins up with the Blue route which can be descended, through the rich indigenous forest, back to the lodge, emerging at the waterfall (the Blue route is easier to walk down, than up).
Lightning Gorge (in the cliff face directly above the lodge). As mentioned above, this can be approached via the Blue route. The Mountain Club of South Africa recently installed a series of chains to assist climbing up to the top of the range via the gorge. This is a very steep route which should not be attempted by people suffering from height sickness, and guests intending to use it must do so only accompanied by a guide from the lodge. By going on this route and going to the west at the top of the range, you can return to the lodge via the Red route, giving an interesting circuit of the property, the indigenous forest and the range.
The property bordering on the Steynshoop Mountain Lodge property, to the north and east of the top of the ridge (i.e. on the northern slope of the Magaliesberg range) belongs to a consortium of owners led by the Mountain Club of South Africa (“the Mountain Club”). It is a very large property and includes famous features such as Castle Gorge, which is an attractive site with a perennial waterfall.
Steynshoop has an arrangement with the Mountain Club whereby its members can gain access to its property, by prior arrangement with Steynshoop, through the Steynshoop Mountain Lodge property, and the Mountain Club in return allows guests of the lodge, accompanied by the lodge’s guide and with prior booking, to hike over the Mountain Club property to Castle Gorge and other sites, such as Seremodi, which also has interesting water features.
The hike to Castle Gorge is a long one (4 hours, plus) and guests doing it can elect to either return on foot or arrange to be collected at Damhoek, a twenty minute drive from the lodge. Guests are warned that the rock faces at Castle Gorge are high, smooth, wet and slippery and over the past decades several people have been killed through careless clambering over them, as a result of slipping and falling.
Other “outwalks” can be arranged, such as to the Nooitgedacht battlefield site (some of which is now unfortunately covered by extensive and large signal towers, at the top of the range), and to the northern slope beyond it, where there are again very scenic waterfalls, pools and streams. These require advance arrangement with the reception staff, and guests must again be accompanied by a guide from the lodge.
The remnants of British fortifications which were overrun by the Boers at the commencement of the Battle of Nooitgedacht are visible after a long hike to the east from the lodge (three hours, plus).
The following maps show the both the hikes on the Mountain Lodge property and the “outwalks” referred to above, together with some photos of scenery on the walks concerned.