Hike #1: New Year’s Day on Devil’s Peak

What better place could there be to see in the dawn of a new year than at the top of a mountain?

This is a question only a hikist could ask. Because there are obviously much better places to be at dawn on New Year’s Day, most of them featuring pillows and a duvet.

However, Alison managed to persuade several other people, that sitting on a rock at the top of Devil’s Peak would be more fun than staying snuggled up in their beds at 5am on 1 January 2016. She also told everyone it would take ‘only a couple of hours’ and that it was an ‘easy’ hike. She further lured her victims with promises of coffee and homemade mince pies.

Since this was clearly a case of murder with malice aforethought, it was something of a miracle that everyone survived and is still (probably) talking to Alison.

Five people alive on top of Devils Peak
Five people alive and (mostly smiling) on top of Devils Peak.

Devil’s Peak Hike Details

Distance: 6.4km

Duration: 2h57

Steps: 9085

Calories: 426

Elevation gain: 581m

Starting elevation: 432m

Max elevation: 963m

Devil's Peak Hike - Terrain imageDevil's Peak Hike - Satellite image

*Stats and maps created using Map My Run

10 tips if you want to hike Devil’s Peak at dawn too

  1. Start by 5am. Starting at 5am won’t get you to the top in time for sunrise, but if you start any earlier, you’ll need to bring headlamps. (Alison isn’t a fan of hiking in the dark, because it reminds her of summit day on Kili, which she really did not enjoy. Also, nobody else wanted to start earlier anyway.)
  2. Here are the GPS co-ordinates for the parking lot on Tafelberg Road opposite the start of the clearly signposted trail (just paste them into the Google Maps search bar):  -33.955098, 18.424511
  3. Be prepared for a long steep slog and take plenty of water.
  4. Take a light sweater or windbreaker even if it’s a warm morning. It can get surprisingly windy and chilly higher up.
  5. Your hiking time could vary from as little as 2 hours (if you’re fast and fit and don’t bother hanging about at the top) to as much as four hours (if you twist your knee and decide to look at the view as often as possible *cough, Paul*). We walked for just under three hours (going very slowly) and spent an additional hour lounging around at the top. If you know you’re slow, take a hat and sunblock too. But you really want to be off that mountain by 9am latest in summer.
  6. Take hot drinks and yummy snacks for the top. Mince pies are a hit. Boiled eggs aren’t as popular.
  7. If you have dodgy knees, bring a hiking pole or two. The second part of the ascent (after the saddle) can be very loose and slippery in places, and is tricky coming down.
  8. Only spend New Year’s Eve partying until 4.30am if you’re mad and Australian *cough, Virginia*. If  you’re just a normal South African, have a sensibly early night.
  9. Bring money for fast food afterwards. Oh, hot chips. Oh, chocolate milkshake…
  10. Don’t tell people it will be easy. You’ll feel like an asshole after the first 10 minutes of puffing and you could lose friends. *cough, Alison*

Photos from the Devil’s Peak Hike


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