Berg and Beach Run Trail & EventEnquire Now
5 - 52km, 6 - 8hours, Intermediate - Hard
+27 82 658 3078 www.quantumadventures.co.za
Configuration: There are various circular and return route options
General Information: Gravel roads, lots of single-track, beach and river mouth crossing. There are some trail markings on wooden stakes. The event is a two-day stage race in which you cover 23km on the first day and 27km on the second day. When running on your own you can explore a network of more than 60km of trails.. The event takes place towards the beginning of October. The rest of the year, you have to choose between winter rains and summer winds.
There are no water points during the race. There are ablutions at the trail head and you will find all you need in the village. Cell phone reception is good, except when you are behind the mountain.
Hermanus has the status of being the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern right whales visit adjacent Walker Bay from June through to December. The town is also blessed with rugged mountain ranges, the pristine Klein River Lagoon estuary, excellent beaches and plenty of outdoor adventure activities.
Walker Bay stretches from the Klein River estuary to De Kelders at Gansbaai. This section is about 1 000ha in size and has a coastline of 17km. It has a long beach, known as Die Plaat, with white sands and rocky limestone outcrops. Immediately north-west of the reserve is the scenic Klein River lagoon, with Fernkloof Nature Reserve blanketing 1 800ha along the Kleinrivier mountain ranges rising above Hermanus.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve boasts a network of more than 60km of trails, providing runners many opportunities to enjoy the mountains. Various trails offer unequalled views over Walker Bay, Hemel en Aarde Valley and Maanskynbaai.
The ‘Berg & Beach Stage Run must surely rate as one of the most scenic trail runs in the country. Day one follows a 23km coastal route through Walker Bay Nature Reserve, followed on day two by a 27km mountain run in Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Entries are restricted to 200 runners.
The first day’s 23km run starts on an old 4x4 track along the cliffs above the bay for 4km, before dropping onto the beach. A 2-hour tide window ensures ample time for slower runners to beat the high tide. Runners may have to cross the river mouth (safety marshals and inflatable boats will be in place). You must therefore ensure that you have a small dry bag to keep phones, etc. dry while crossing.
The run continues along the beach for 3km, then follows the cliff path and the course of the Mossel River to the finish back at Fernkloof. The 27km mountain run on day two starts along a short dirt road, then moves onto a superb single-track hiking trail for most of the remainder.
Follow the N2 from Cape Town past Somerset West and over Houw Hoek pass, then take the R43 to Hermanus. Once in town, look out for Fir Avenue on your left. The trail head is at the entrance to Fernkloof Nature Reserve (www.fernkloof.com).
The Overberg is a region that’s easy on the senses and pleasing to the eye. Its landscape is a tapestry of colours and meandering patterns, both natural and manmade.
The region forms a relatively small part of the Western Cape; it is mostly rural, and is blessed with stunning scenery and unique highlights. Its largest town, Hermanus, is said to provide the best land-based whale watching in the world. It also has exquisite beaches, including the blue flag Grotto Beach, and the nearby Hemel-en-Aarde Valley epitomises the majestic beauty of the region.
Across Walker Bay, the towns of Gansbaai and Kleinbaai are best known for shark cage diving to see great whites at the hotspot near Dyer Island.
L’Agulhas stands at the southernmost point on the African continent, and is the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
The Overberg fauna and flora is protected in the Bontebok National Park, and its nature reserves include De Hoop, De Mond, Salmons Dam, Marloth, and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Staying with wildlife, the penguin colony at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay is also a tourist favourite.
Swellendam and the small mission towns of Genadendal and Elim are amongst the Overberg’s historic icons. Others that are popular with visitors are Greyton, Stanford, and Napier.
In summer the farmlands are dominated by shimmering shades of brown, the fields stripped of their winter crops and the bare earth ploughed into meandering combed patterns dotted with tightly compressed wheels of straw awaiting collection. Labourers’ cottages hunker down beneath old blue gums and on a cold day smoke drifts from their chimneys.
Throughout the year the early morning and late afternoon sun accentuates the sensual curves of the ridges wreathed in fynbos. When the winter rains return, the undulating, sometimes tiered fields shrug off their brown and slip into the vibrant greens of wheat, barley, and oats, and the brilliant yellow of the iconic canola. On still, sultry mornings, blue cranes, South Africa’s national bird, float overhead craaaaaaking as they go.
The coastline is punctuated by long sweeping bays and rocky outcrops that fringe the southern boundary of this landscape. Here one can spend hours sitting on the white sand, being mesmerised by the eternal activity of the sea.
Add to this a scattering of charming inland villages; locally produced beer, cheese, and wine; lighthouses, bird watching, and wonderful food, and it becomes evident why one needs plenty of time here.
Look out for
Southern-most tip of Africa - at L’Agulhas, which is also the official meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
Shark cage diving - near Gansbaai there are several operators who do trips daily out to the Great Whites’ favourite hunting grounds near Dyer Island.
Whale watching - the Overberg offers great land-based and boat-based whale watching (best between July and November).
Beaches - the Overberg beaches are amongst the finest in South Africa. They include the longest beach in the southern hemisphere - at 14km - which curves along the coast at Struisbaai.
Swellendam - is the third-oldest magisterial district in South Africa. At the base of the Langeberg Mountains on the N2 highway the town has an array of historic buildings including the Drostdy Museum.
Hermanus - On the coast in the west of the region. It is the largest town in the Overberg and popular with visitors all year round. It’s especially well known for its superb land-based whale watching.
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley - near Hermanus - this scenic area produces a range of wines and is known for its Pinot Noir.
Bontebok National Park - The smallest of South Africa’s National Parks, it not only protects the fauna within its boundaries but also endangered flora in the fynbos biome. In addition to the bontebok, the park is also home to Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, grey rhebuck, and Cape grysbok as well as 200 bird species. There are hiking and mountain-biking trails and fishing and swimming in the Breede River. The accommodation and campsite are situated at Lang Elsie’s Kraal amongst a riverine thicket of trees and aloes near the banks of the Breede River. This consists of 10 self-catering chalets with wheel chair access, and caravan and camping sites. There are also picnic spots with braai and ablution facilities for day visitors.
De Hoop Nature Reserve - Each year between June and November whales return to the rugged coastline of this 34 000 hectare reserve near Bredasdorp to breed. During this time the marine reserve supports 40% of the world’s Southern Right whale population. Although these may be the drawcard for many visitors there is much more in the line of nature-based activities for the visitor. Lowland fynbos is the dominant vegetation throughout the reserve and this supports bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, grey rhebuck, eland, and baboon, as well as many smaller mammals. It’s a great destination for ‘twitchers’, with the De Hoop vlei attracting a large number of water birds and pushing the recorded species to an impressive total of 260. Besides being able to walk anywhere in the reserve there are several day hikes and the popular 5-day whale trail. Accommodation options are varied from cottages and rondawels to restored houses and neat camping and caravan sites amongst the milkwood trees. Most accommodation is around what is known as Die Opstal near the fresh water vlei and park reception.
Wines - The region has some top class wineries that offer tasting and sales.