Miaspoort Trail (Italian cross)

miaspoort-view-cross-2

Type: Day hike
Location: Du Toitskloof Pass +- 74km from Cape town
Beauty: 4/5 (Views over 80km in either direction)
Difficultly:  7/10 (877m ascend over 3km)
Technicality: The trail contains a fair amount of boulder hopping, as well as loose gravel paths on steep terrain.

The Miaspoort trail is an out-and-back trail, located just before Du Toitskloof pass on the R101. The trail is roughly 74km from Cape Town (7km from Paarl), with the start of the trail located on the Paarl side of the Du Toitskloof pass.

miaspoort-map

The start of the trail winds steeply up to the Italian Cross (Huguenot peak), which was erected to commemorate the deceased Italian prisoners who died building the pass during the war. The trail is only 7.7km long, however, do not let the distance fool you, as the majority of the hike is spent walking uphill. As a result, the hike will take roughly 5 hours to complete, including a coffee or lunch break once you have reached the Cross.

miaspoort-start-of-trail-2

For such a sort trail, it offers a great amount of diversity. You will be required to scramble over a few boulders fairly close to the start of the trail. From there, the single-track bends to the left, forcing you to cross a small stream which is enclosed by a thicket of trees. From here on out, it’s uphill all the way as the path slowly winds up the left side of Huguenot peak, forcing you to ascend 877m over 3km. The rocks and pebbles are loose underfoot, so trekking poles are strongly advised, especially when coming back down the same way.

Don’t be put off by the steep initial incline, as you will be well rewarded with waterfalls, as well as panoramic views over Paarl and Malmesbury along the way. Once you have reached the crest, you are over the worst and will soon be treated to views of rocky outcrops similar to those found in the Cederberg, with the road to Worcester winding away in front of you.

miaspoort-stream-crossing

Once you have reached the crest of the first climb, the single track turns right towards Huguenot peak with a few more challenging gradients along the way. Be on the lookout for Klipspringer, as they are plentiful within the area!

After a few more kilometres of vast fields of blossoming fynbos, you will finally reach the cross. The view from the cross is breathtaking, spanning more than 80 km, with the ability to see Muizenberg Peak and Table Mountain from your vantage point, 1318m in elevation.

miaspoort-vistior-box
A box with a visitors book can be found on the summit.

Take a good, long break at the cross and treat yourself to a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. After all, you’ve earned it!

miaspoort-coffee-at-the-top

Gear recommendations:

  • Sun block
  • Cap/hat
  • Trekking poles
  • At least 2 litres of water
  • A windbreaker/rain jacket for when you’re at the top

Start of the trail and parking:

The start of the trail can be found on Google Maps at these coordinates: 33°44’15.7″S 19°04’42.7″E

You can park your car 100m down the road, towards Paarl, here: 33°44’16.9″S 19°04’30.4″E

Access permits:

Permits are required for this hike and are obtainable through Cape Nature.
Tel: 021 659 3500 / 021 483 0190

Download the Cape Nature Limietberg Nature Reserve brochure and map here.

5 Comments

  1. Good information. Thanks. How is the difficulty rating being determined: Difficultly: 7/10 (877m ascend over 3km).
    The parking does have a risk element; being next to the main road.

  2. Hi Leon,

    My difficulty rating indicated is relative to a new or unfit hiker.

    Additionally, the difficulty is based on the gradient and the actual terrain makeup.

    For a reasonably fit hiker, it’s probably a 6/10. To give an indication, my average heart rate was 140bpm during the duration of the hike.

    Cheers,

    Kyle

  3. Did this hike yesterday. Absolutely magic. One of those hikes that I would classify as having a very high reward to effort ratio. The views were incredible, there was water everywhere (including the entire trail path) and we were back down before lunch.
    Definitely a top pick for a day hike!

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