Crystal Pools: Perfect Way To Greet Summer In Cape Town
Some friends from the Couchsurfing expat community are getting prepared for an amusing hike in December. The place is called Crystal Pools. The name pretty much explains itself but for those of you who lack imagination, here is a brief summary: Crystal Pools is part of a nature reserve in Western Cape that is full of very refreshing rock pools. So, this is a perfect opportunity to have a summer picnic.
Commemorating last year's hike: I went there in December 2017 for the first time. You might wonder why people are making plans for this hike so much in advance. Here is the thing: You need to book, and I mean, seriously book. To preserve the flora and fauna of the area, they are only allowing a certain number of people to enter the reserve at a time. This number is usually around 20-25. This year, all the weekend spots for November have already been filled up from last week. You can imagine the demand now.
The area attracts not only humans, but also many animal species led by baboons. According to the official guide, the management of the park always tracks their movement and informs visitors of their existence in the park just in case. There are also wild cats, foxes and leopards which are nocturnal and hiding during the day. I don't know if I should feel sad or relieved.
All we had to do was to book for the entire group, which would cost 69 Rand per person. One friend did the whole transaction and the rest of us paid her.
The place is near Gordon's Bay, about an hour away from Cape Town. It is a part of a bigger nature reserve in the area called Kogelberg Nature Reserve. The entrance is basically at the mouth of Steenbras River.
I might be mistaken, but I heard from a local Couchsurfer that there were nine lakes in total. The first lake was 45 minutes away from the entrance and the hike was fairly easy. Needless to say that the water was extremely cold.
The hike became more strenuous from here to the second and the third lake as we started to climb uphill for about twenty minutes. The sun was right on top of us and it was midday, so I can't emphasize how hot it was. The complaining stopped as we arrived at the second lake. The feeling of diving into the ice-cold water after sweating your arse out is indescribable.
On a side note, don't let the word crystal trick you because the water is not actually crystal clear. It has the brown color that I encountered in almost all of my hikes in South Africa. This was again caused by the fynbos growing under water.
I was able to capture lovely photos from lookout points.
I don't have a clear memory of the day but we must have explored five or six of the lakes but we were unfortunately running out of time. The rumor has it that we would have had to pay a fine if we left the park after the closing time of 5 pm.
To reward ourselves after this easy hike, we ended up going to Strand Beach in Gordon's Bay. We stopped by The Belgian Waffle House where I had Nutella-waffle (with extra Nutella topping).
It was a perfect way to start the long-awaited summer and a messenger for many refreshing moments to follow. Who is excited for summer, Southern Hemisphere? Drop me a comment below.