Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Crystal Pools


On Sunday 13 February 2011 I did the Crystal Pools hike in Gordon's Bay. After hearing rave reviews about it and reading other people's views I decided to join my buddies on this half-day hike.

All the reviews I read claimed that it was an easy or leisurely walk to the first waterfall. LIES! All lies!  I could gauge by the way the other hikers passing us were dressed that they were told the same thing. Ladies with fancy slip slops and hand bags were walking slowly to avoid the MANY rocks you will encounter.  It's not hard - it's just not as easy as most people make it out to be. Also, there's no shade - and the sun shows no mercy.
From the parking lot at Sunbird Guesthouse, we had to walk to the entrance of the hike

Whale sperm ..haha

And off we go

You get some nice views of the sea at the beginning
 We took about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the first rock pool. There's nothing 'crystal' about it but it's big and there are some logs floating around in case you're too lazy to swim and you want to float about.
The first pool

The second pool is about  5 to 10 minutes further up (above the first pool). This one's bigger and has a REALLY high kloofing spot. If you've got the balls, you can jump into the pool from about 18 metres above. Because the water's so dark, it's difficult to see the rocks below you so be careful while you're swimming. There's a little waterfall you can chill under and it has a cool view of the mad people jumping.

If you look closely on the right you can see people waiting to jump

All in all it's a fun day out - just wear appropriate walking shoes or takkies. It's not THAT laidback. Wear sunscreen and a hat or cap. Take lotsa water as I wouldn't recommend drinking from the pools, and pack some lunch and snacks.

We didn't go all the way up to the top waterfall because we underestimated the walk and the sun. So by the time we reached the second pool we were done for the day.

Get your permit (R15) at Sunbird Guesthouse, just before the Steenbras Bridge and you can park there (R10) or further on opposite the trail entry. On the trail you'll see little red markers as you go - make sure you follow them and don't get lost. Have fun :-)

UPDATE (2012): Pre-booked permits are now R60 a person and can only be obtained at the Helderberg Nature Reserve main gate during operating hours. A minimum of three and maximum of 10 peopler per group are allowed and the hike only allows 50 people in total at a time. No kids under 12 allowed.

Markers to help you find your way