If you happen to have some time on your hands, it can get so much better. A hike up to the top of Klapmutskop, for instance, gives staggering views across swathes of forest, vineyards and all the way across to the distinct outline of Table Mountain. Do it in the evening and you can benefit from the cooler air and even see the full moon rising into the night sky.
The thoughtful people at Delvera often transport hikers to just past the half-way point – ideal for the less fit, the more time-challenged, or simply – on the day I was there – those still feeling the heat of the day at 7pm.
From that point we ascended against a backdrop of the winelands painted an increasingly amber hue in the light of the setting sun. I was grateful that the slowly darkening sky hid my contorted face as the heat and the climb took their toll. The ascent is not hard but I was less in shape than I thought so it was particularly exhilarating to get to the top. There we sat a while, replenishing our energy with some drinks and snacks from our backpacks while we soaked in the view. As the inky darkness of night swept over the sky, the temperature finally dropped and we began our descent by torchlight.
Most of these hikes are timed to coincide with the rising of the full moon, but sometimes the working week can get in the way. So instead of howling at the moon from the top of the mountain we settled for enjoying the incredible brightness of the stars until, only once we’d reached the end of the trail, the moon finally provided a little lunar illumination to help us find our way back to the Trail Centre. Next time I’ll aim for a full moon rising when we’re at the top. Until then, I’ve got a month to get into shape and grow my sideburns.
Dirtopia Full Moon hikes take place every month from September to April.