This Sleeping Beauty Hiking Trail covers a distance of 14 km from the old Toll House to the crest of Sleeping Beauty and back. It is an relatively easy walk (depending on your level of fitness you can reach the top in 3 -4 hours) and numerous streams are crossed. An abundance of bird life can be seen while wandering leisurely through the Fynbos. Water bottles are re-filled where the trail meets the Yellowwood forest at the top of the ravine. From the forest the trail winds its way to the top behind the Sleeping Beauty mountain peak. The last stretch is a steep 1.5 km to the crest, from where you will have the most magnificent panoramic view of the Langeberg Mountain Range.
Protea species encountered on the Sleeping Beauty mountain trail are speciosa, grandiceps and coronata. The large variety of Erica makes this route a paradise for the Erica enthusiast. The Erica blennagrandiflora, unique to the Riversdale area and also known as the Riversdale Orange Heath, as also, the Erica inclas and Erica papyraracea, are three of the rarest heath species found.
Please note that currently no permits are available for the Sleeping Beauty Hiking Trail (as well as Kristalkloof). Cape Nature are in the process of upgrading the trails and will implement new permits that will be available at their office in Riversdale in the coming months. In the interim you are more than welcome to hike the trail without a permit and at own risk. The route is easy to follow and maintained. Please never hike alone.
Background about the Sleeping Beauty Mountain:
The Sleeping Beauty Mountain in Riversdale/ Western Cape with a face, breasts and legs is properly the best artwork of nature in South Africa and surely one of the unknown wonders of the world.
Photographer Aubrey Goodman provides a full view of this unique mountain on the website of fine art america and on his facebook page.
He said that he was never in his life/ career so bound by nature as The Sleeping Beauty.
There is a folkloric legend regarding the mountain, passed on for several generations. The tale is one of Kalinga's most loved bedtime stories popularly sang in the native ballad Ullalim, the tale of two lovers ended by a tribal war has different versions depending on the tribe where the story began, the name of the protagonists are different, but with only slight variation in the story, one version of the story is about Lubting and Mawanga, one about Dinayao and Binsay, and the other Edonson and Banna - all ending with the female protagonist resting on Patukan, in despair after the loss of her loved one.
How to get to the Sleeping Beauty Hiking Trail:
Follow the road to Ladismith (R323) for about 20 km out of Riversdale. After ascending the Garcia Pass, the start of the route is on the left just after the Toll House.
Best time to visit:
Ideal months for exploring the fynbos on the mountains are March and April and again in August and September. Spring, autumn and winter are generally cooler and more pleasant for hiking.
What will it cost:
Currently there is no charge until permits become available again.
Around the area:
Korentepoort Dam will offer a refreshing dip to cool off after your hike.
Where to stay:
A wide range of accommodation establishments are available in Riversdale.
What to pack:
Hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes, water, camera.