A rendezvous with nature - Grootvadersbosch Trail Challenge

Words: Ugene Nel | Photos: Ugene Nel & Jacques Marais

Boosmansbos World Heritage Site. This small sign welcomes visitors to one of South Africa’s very special trails at Grootvadersbosch, near Heidelberg in the Western Cape.

Photo credit: Ugene Nel & Jacques Marais

Now in its fourth year, the Grootvadersbosch Trail Challenge has become synonymous with all things adventure trail runners wish for. Sometimes you've got to be careful what you wish for…

Every year the routes change and this year runners will experience some changes to day one's route, the 'mountain' run. The tough route to the top of Boosmansbos remains and is one of the most scenic, with rare, indigenous plants such as the Heidelberg heather and strawberry everlasting featuring along the trail. The descent, with deep gorges, also stays the same. The only difference is that the last 3 km to the finish will be easier and have a slight descent to Honeywood Farm. A couple of supposedly hard-core runners nearly cried last year when they thought the last few kilometres would be a flat run in and were faced instead with a steep climb to the finish. After the challenging 33 km route on the first day, runners’ efforts will be rewarded with a traditional, farm-styled potjie lunch.

Day two is known as the 'forest' run and it's a much shorter route at 22 km. Runners will set off from Honeywood Farm along a trail that meanders through giant Californian redwoods, wild saffraan, yellow woods and an array of other indigenous trees and forest shrub. From there, a gentle 2 km downhill section takes runners alongside a bubbling mountain stream and through a section of the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy before entering the Cape Nature section of the reserve's trails. The last 3 km of the trail is down a spectacular section of the indigenous forests, below Honeywood Farm, and a short section of 'kloof trail'. The prize-giving lunch will consist of a traditional South African braai, and the warm hospitality of the Conservancy and Cape Nature staff will ensure participants remember this adventure weekend for a long time!

Photo credit: Ugene Nel & Jacques Marais

Definitely worth knowing is that the hiking trails in Grootvadersbosch are a gem just waiting to be discovered by those who wish to spend the weekend with their loved ones; there's no need for the family to stay at home for this weekend. There are also many other pursuits in the area to keep everyone entertained, so bring your mountain bike, fishing rod, bird and tree books or just go for a hike. Trail permits are available from the Cape Nature office at the reserve. There are great camping facilities and cottages available in the reserve. For those keen on beekeeping, Honeywood Farm offers courses for aspiring beekeepers. For more information on Cape Nature and its other reserves, visit www.capenature.co.za

Dare to dream

The only way to grow, mentally and/or physically, is to subject yourself to new challenges. Living within a comfort zone is cosy, but you will remain as you are and your world will remain a small bubble. Don’t be scared to wish and then pursue those dreams.

Race information:
• You can enter both days of running or choose just one of the two days.
• There are various categories you can enter.
• Entries are limited and close on 16 June. No late entries will be accepted.
• For more race information, accommodation options and to enter, visit www.quantumadventures.co.za
• Check out the images from the event, held in previous years, on Quantum Adventures Events Facebook and visit the 'Albums' section.

What runners should know:
• Race rules will be strictly enforced.
• The difference between a waterproof rain jacket and windproof jacket.
• A rain jacket must have a hood and long sleeves.
• Don't participate if you feel sick or are recovering from an illness, such as flu or similar (it takes a while to fully recover from flu).
• Your limits.
• You will be subjected to nature, so there's no guarantee you will be safe. This is an event and nature is unpredictable, especially in remote areas.
• Make sure you have adequate medical cover, not just for this adventure but for all future ones.
• Entries are limited to ensure you have a very special experience in a special place.
• You will experience something unique – that is guaranteed! •

More information
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