It’s been some years since I last set foot in the snowy mountains of the Cape. That mid-winter expedition to the Koue Bokkeveld involved a single-cab student bakkie called Daisy with a lone headlight that flickered Morse-like through the thick fog, its dodgy brakes protesting at high pitch the whole way down the mountain pass and not much in the way of tyre tread. Needless to say, we barely made it off the mountain alive.
Fast-forward 15 years and I’m ready to give it another bash, this time with a road-worthy vehicle, GPS and an excitable 16-month-old toddler who’s never seen snow. Parents in the know tell me that the Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve is one of the best spots for a family outing. It’s a two-hour drive from Cape Town which, fortuitously for those who remember to pack the iPad, is about the same length of time it takes to watch Frozen. Pass through Ceres and turn right on the Bo-Swaarmoed Road, drive for 19 km (past Klondyke Cherry Farm) and turn right at Erfdeel/Matroosberg, following a dirt road for another 4 km to Matroosberg Reserve (download map here).
The helpful folk at Matroosberg post daily updates on their Facebook page so snow-seekers will know when the weather’s just right to go and which parts of the reserve are accessible with or without a 4×4. The white-knuckle type can join the challenging 4×4 trail to the Matroosberg Peak, 2 240m above sea level, passing impressive rock formations along the way. During peak snow periods, to keep the traffic in check, the cut-off time for entry to the 4×4 trail is 11 am. Permits can be obtained at reception and cost R50 pp plus R250 per vehicle.
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August is usually their busiest month and after a good snowfall the lower southern slopes and the accessible ground around the reception area are ideal for making snow angels … just remember that all-important change of dry clothing!
Ready for our adventure, our snow kit is packed and waiting by the front door. I’m not deterred by Cape Town’s sunny five-day weather forecast, with mid-winter temperatures in the low twenties. We will make a snowman this year…
Cost Entrance fee to the Matroosberg Reserve for day visitors is R50 pp, R30 for kids under 13 and R20 extra if you decide to bring the dog.
Contact +27 23 312 2282, www.matroosberg.com
Photography Sarah Woods/HSMimages.co.za