Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#9: First Sample Map

Here it is at last: our first sample “bit of map”, ready and awaiting your critical inputs. Before I tell you how to find it, though, some explanations:

  • The map-sample is a condensed jpg file, so do not expect all the line-work and lettering to be as sharp as the final printed product;
  • colours may not be 100% true, depending upon your monitor settings;
  • the original is approx. 1:50 000 scale. To reproduce this you need to print or view the map-sample at max. width of 200 mm;
  • there is no key to the sample [there will be one, of course, on the complete map] so there may be some new symbols that are unfamiliar. Two purple cellphones with arrows pointing to each other indication reception over a path section, whereas a white cellphone means reception at that point only [if you’re lucky]. An upside-down yellow arrow means a bouldering site; a brown dotted line is a path used by boulderers; paths with CapeNature’s area are green dots, others are red. There are grades of path but only the standard “clear path” grade appears on the sample. If there is anything else you don’t understand please contact me at http://www.slingsbymaps.com/contactus.aspx 
  • A name in red means we have not located it accurately yet;
  • there is only a long/lat grid on the map at this stage; there are requests for a UTM grid as well but I’m still working on how to do this without crowding the map too much;
  • there are already two necessary corrections to the map – see below.

See link below to view or download the full-size version of the above
Please send all and any comments to me at the web address above; the map will remain online UNTIL 31 JULY 2012 ONLY, so this is your chance to have your ideas considered and maybe incorporated, too! Just remember, please, that is is a tiny fraction of Side One of the map, which will be A1 in size when printed.
    Below are some pics and comments about the two day walks in the Kliphuis/Pakhuis area that appear on the map-sample, plus a bit more input on that controversial Kruisrivier “path”.  
    We will also publish a sample bit of a high mountain area a bit later – watch out for it.
 View and/or download the map-sample from

The Pakhuisberg day walk starts from the Kliphuis campsite and climbs into the Pakhuisberg north of the Pakhuis Pass. It’s an easy walk over about 13.5 km of wild, infrequently-visited territory with great views, especially on the descent [I’m walking the circuit anti-clockwise]. 
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. The start of the path near the tar road is not clear; look out for the tiny cairn, centre foreground.
. The view down to Kliphuis campsite – now re-opened.
3. Rocky landscapes over the top.
4. A Heeria [Kliphout] and weathered rocks.
Don’t rely upon perennial water, but there are some strong streams after winter. There is one cave-shelter on the path that could shelter two or maybe three people, but it’s not really an overnighting spot.
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. That nervous moment when you realise that the leopard tracks are ON TOP of the boot-print you left there just minutes earlier ...
2. View back to Charity Peak, across the rocks
3. A welcome, but non-perennial, pool
4. Shelter for two, may be three, next to the path
There are great flowers, the fascinating rocks that the Cederberg is famous for, and plenty of wildlife, even frequent leopard-sign. 
Left to Right: A Phylica; an Erica; Leucospermum calligerum. Any offers on the names for the phylica and erica?
You must have a permit from CapeNature to enter the area; it’s part of the proclaimed Wilderness.
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. ‘Secret’ Falls; the waterfall is behind the rockface. This fall on the Kliphuis River is not shown on the sample-map: first correction necessary!
2. On the way back to Kliphuis: gravelly path
3. Dreadful spiny
Aspalathus near Kliphuis; name?? [Pardon the raindrops on the lens]
4. Scree below the Kliphuis Ridge
The Rocklands day walk also starts at Kliphuis, but I’d recommend a clockwise-direction. It’s also a comfortable 13.5 km but you could take a short cut and cut out 3.5 km from your day, thus missing some interesting country. The path ascends the Rheboksvallei parallel to the tarred road, not too much of a problem as there is seldom much traffic. 
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. Klipboom
[Heeria] copse near the Pakhuis Pass summit
2. The Amon se Pad footpath turn-off from the Heuningvlei Road
3. Kruidjie-roer-my-nie
[Melianthus major], a herb used to treat snake-bite and septic wounds; the sap is black and smelly
4. A rocky gargoyle
Near the summit of the pass there is an interesting Kliphoutboom copse, and you briefly join the Noodpad, the “donkey-cart” road to Heuningvlei, before swinging west on Amon se Pad. The route follows the old wagon road over the Pakhuis that predates the modern pass, first built by Bain in 1867. It passes several popular bouldering sites before reaching Duiwel se Kruis, the cross-roads where the Boskloof path descends Amon se Poort to the left. A few hundred metres down the path to the right is a rock-shelter that could sleep up to three adults. It’s on the right of the path, not the left as the sample shows [the second correction!].
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. Fine waboom trees on the path
2. A typical Rocklands chockstone or window

3. Rough repairs to the old wagon-track

4. The Gate, the false non-entrance to Amon se Poort
Thereafter the old road – there are several signs of old stonework and repairs – plunges deep into the Rocklands world of outcrops, pillars, cavelets, rock windows, etc etc. It’s all a bit dry, unfortunately, with no reliable perennial water, but the flora is great, especially the many herbs. As you near the Pakhuis Pass you pass through the area where C. Louis Leipoldt and Dr Pieter Le Fras Nortier first successfully cultivated rooibos tea.
Left: Ancient rooibos tea bushes
Right: Pyramid Rock
The path plunges down onto the main road where a cutting has left it dangerous and slippery – repairs needed here, CapeNature, please – and the only way home is a 1km stroll down the tarred road, past Leipoldt’s Grave, to Kliphuis. There’s very little traffic and a high probability of baboons, so the main road walk is not too bad.


Not much info has come in since our successful name-gathering in the Wupperthal buiteposte, but we did get this letter from Louis Conradie – with more about that problematic Kruisrivier valley. I’m really unsure about how to deal with this on the map; any ideas, anyone?
I’m sorry I cannot reply to Louis – my system consistently rejects his email address, so please pass this on to him, those of you who know him. He writes [shortened]:
I led a group of 4 hikers on a 7 day CUM Hike-“expedition” doing a big circle starting from Algeria on 5 Sept. 2011 and finishing there again on 11 Sept. 2011.  Only 3 of us finished the whole route as one lady pulled out during day 5 due to feet problems.  The other two hikers who finished the route with me were David Rossouw and his wife, Karen, two very tough hikers, I must say!
On 10 Sept. 2011 we started from the Maltese Cross (where we slept the night of 9 Sept.), following the path to Bakleikraal and down into the valley of the Hekserivier past Riempie se Gat and Dons se Werf.  We lost the path quite a few times, but kept direction as I had already hiked that route in 2008.  On that hike in 2008 we wanted to take the path at the Kruisrivier which crossed over to Algeria, but somehow missed it and finished in the Pakhuispas [Nieuwoudt’s? - Ed] many kms later.
We could not reach the Kruisrivier before dark on 10 Sept. 2011, but on 11 Sept. easily found a path going upstream along the Kruisrivier, which was very motivating.  But not for long!  We soon experienced the same overgrown and almost impassable route as was already reported in your reports – in fact, there was no route at all.  But we wanted to take that route to Algeria, so we struggled upwards in the kloof to the top, doing less than 1 km an hour!  It was really bundu-bashing as I have not experienced at any time in my hiking career
When we arrived at the top of the Kruisrivier after our hectic struggle to get through and over everything, it was really a nice and easy hike down to Algeria.
  I intend doing a 9 day hike in the Cederberg this year again, from 8-16 Sept., and am thinking of including the Hekserivier valley in the hike once again.  Maybe CapeNature, especially Patrick Lane at Algeria, has sent out teams to clear that Kruisrivier path making it hikeable again.  If not, our guts will again be tested to the limit!

Already acknowledged: Rudolf Andrag, Quinton Martins, Ronnie Hazell, Charles Merry, Ezan Wilson, Wim Morris, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Julyan Symons, Galeo Saintz, Paul la Grange, Laurence Elton, Mike Scott, Peter Hart, Justin Lawson, Paul la Grange, David Donald, Johann Lanz, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Torben Wiborg, Sandy MacDonald, Trevor Rennison, Hendrico Burger, Nicky Lombard, Jeroen Kant, Patrick Lane, Ingar Valentyn, Pip Nieuwoudt, Eugene Moll, Greg Moseley, Tony Heher, Andrea and Moritz Connrad, Hennie van der Westhuizen, Isak Koopman, Kerneels Filander, Kellie of Grasvlei, Barry Ockhuis, Joey Ockhuis, Gert Theron, Mary Anne Zimri, Louis Conradie, Haffie Strauss

Let the comments come rolling in, asseblief ...
Kaartman, 19 June 2012


  1. Hi Peter,

    Your mapwork and content is altogether excellent. The land cover shading is great (wetlands ahead!) but I don't see the intuition behind the (new?) hill shading. Contours tell the story quite clearly. How did you come by the grey shading in the Sneeuberg jpg? Is it rock cover or small drops that evade the contour interval?

  2. The cellphone icons are a double edged sword.

    The signals received are always going to be network dependant, and we don't know which network(s) you were on when scouting. The towers themselves are hardly ever moved/retired, but the antennae can be adjusted. Normally in low density areas 'omni' antennae are used, which has a single sector with no focussing. Higher density and you'll recognise the directional antennae, normally three rectangular white blocks on the mast.

    In general Vodacom has the best rural coverage, but that's not very scientific. There are also shared networks, you can still force a CellC phone to use the vodacom network(and 8ta for MTN) by playing with network settings. And the one major point is that you can always phone 112 for emergency regardless of phone/network/pre paid credit.

    Do I have suggestions? Maybe, because I think you might find people relying on the icons as gospel truth. Maybe a disclaimer on accuracy in the legend, or even the locations of the masts themselves. I'm sure there is a an acceptable convention amongst cartogrophers and you're probably already following it.

    I haven't even raised the issue of phones ringing in the wilderness, but I think we can all agree on the scope of the safety options it offers in emergency. I was quite surprised to get a phonecall from friends when we were late in arriving at Jamaka in april. Quite surprised because they were there, and had signal to phone us...there's a mast just to the north of the Nieuwoudt Pass, not sure how long it's been there for.

  3. Steve -
    Covered. We fully intend publishing a disclaimer to the effect that Cell phones [and GPS readers!] can be extremely unreliable in mountainous territory, and that the symbols are only published as a guide.
    Chris -
    Covered in my email to you: the "droplets" are scree slopes. The height shading is the same we've always used, but you're probably referring to the special colour we've used to highlight the shale bands.
    Kaartman July 2012

  4. Honesty follows: I think the map looks really good but far too busy - cluttered with all sorts of information that you simply don't need to see on the map. Some examples follow:

    1. Cell phone icons. Unreliable and unnecessary.
    2. Camera icons. Unnecessary. People will know when they're in a photogenic spot.
    3. Telephone numbers of accommodation. These would be better represented in a table on the back, not overlaid on the map itself.

  5. Stephen -
    1. See previous comment. Cell phones are a feature of modern life that are not going to go away, just like the [almost as unreliable] GPS. Better to have some sort of safety features rather than none.
    2. Disagree. The camera symbols on the Heuningvlei Donkey Cart Trail, for example, mark spots where there are actually fixed telescopes. The symbols indicate view sites [often otherwise unexplained deviations in paths] and are not necessarily meant to show photogenic spots.
    3. Disagree vehemently as there is no room for a table on the map [it's all map]. How much space does a telephone number take?
    Sorry Stephen, but the consensus of replies to the question of detail was heavily in favour of more info rather than less ... you can always use an [unlabelled] airphoto instead of the map!
    All the best, thanks for the comments.


Any comments that may help make our proposed map as good as it gets are very welcome

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