Climb George and Cradock Peaks
Cradock Peak, at 1578m above sea level, is the highest peak in the Outeniqua Mountain range. George (1337m) and Cradock peak are part of the same mountain massif and for the most part is reached by the same trail. The trail starts at Witfontein Forestry station and follows forest roads through the pine plantations to the base of the Outeniqua Mountains. From here the you take a footpath down across a stream and then you start climbing up the foothills, across the railway line and up, up, up. Be sure to take enough water, the stream you crossed is the only one on the route. Just before reaching the ridge between the two peaks there is a small fountain with a small pond left of the path that often has water in. On the ridge you will encounter a T-junction, left for Cradock Peak and right for George Peak about a kilometre away now. From here it is still another 2km to Cradock Peak, the path quite well marked and established all the way. Shortly before reaching the top of Cradock Peak there is a short non technical rock scramble, it is not hard but would make someone afraid of heights think twice. On the summit there are some antennae and radio equipment. The view from here is incredible, you can see all the way to Mossel Bay, the Swartberg Mountains, George, Knysna and all the way to Peak Formosa a 115km away. Return to the forestry station via the same trail.
Precautions: This is a trail amongst mountains and should be treated that way. Weather in the mountains can change drastically in no time without warning. I've done this hike starting in warm sunny conditions, 20-30 degrees centigrade, and by the the time we reached the top experienced temperatures of almost 0 degrees, a cold wind and it was fully fogged over. Be sure to take warm clothing, water and food.
To George Peak and back: 17km.
To Cradock Peak and back: 19km.
If you plan on doing both peaks it will amount to 21km there and back. A fit hiker can do either of the peaks in 7-8 hours. Start early to make sure you have enough time.
Permits/costs: There is no cost to hike in this area, you do however need to fill in the logbook and get a map as permit at the forestry station. It is for your own safety.
Directions: From George take the N12 to Oudtshoorn over the Outeniqua Pass. Just outside George before reaching the pass take the turn-off to the right to Witfontein Forestry Station and the Montagu Pass. Shortly after turning here turn right into the Witfontein Forestry grounds and continue on to the office building and park here.
Other: The water in the streams are drinkable, the dark colour is due to the tannins and humic acids from the leaves on the forest floor.
Witfontein Forestry Station - S33 56.145 E22 25.632
George Peak - S33 54.718 E22 27.758
Cradock Peak - S33 53.661 E22 27.621
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