8 April 2018

Report and photos courtesy of Alistair Nixon

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

Twenty-two hikers had shown their interest in doing the hike and the same number turned up on the day.The hike is as grade 2 which is ideal as an introductory hike or for the more experienced a good 'leg stretch'.

We all met at the Rotunda, shared transport and drove to the Soil Science laboratories about half way up the Cedara main avenue, lined with azalea bush and liquid amber trees. After a brief introduction to Cedara we set off towards the Dept of Agric HQ, skirted this and on to the lecture theatres which is the start of the road leading onto the farm proper. (This is also the start of the Swartkop hike)

From this point there is normally a good view towards Swartkop but because of low cloud there was nothing to see. The road leads down past the mushroom centre (a Chinese sponsored facility), the piggery and down a hill onto the dirt road. The low lying section of the road passes through an area which during spring is alive with red bishop birds and 'red hot pokers' - well worth a visit in season.

Our normal route past the dam and into the forest was hindered because the dam was overflowing meaning we could not get through to the border fence. We retraced our route adding an extra 3 kms and took an alternative route into the forest. Despite the drizzle we happily made our way around numerous puddles and obstacles to join up with the arterial forest road and onto the picnic area some 5 kms on. (9kms to this destination)

It is a very picturesque setting alongside the second dam. In its hayday it was a much sort-after picnic spot. Unfortunately security issues have meant it is under utilised. A large separate group had already arrived equipped with gazebos and braais. Much to the hikers disappointment the aroma of bacon and coffee was not a unannounced surprise organised by the MHC.

After a pleasant half hour interlude we returned back along the same road we had arrived. At the Rotunda we treated ourselves to an excellent lunch.

1. Group before setting off
2. Cedara avenue
3. Heading out

7. Lunch stop
8. Heather and Julia enjoying lunch
9. Lunch stop
10. Lunch stop
11. Margaret preparing for rain

14. Wet return passed the mushroom centre
15. Returning passed sports fields
16. Lunch at the Rotunda