The Rim of Africa Mountain Passage is estimated to measure over 400 miles / 650kms long, stretching from Phakius Pass in the Cederberg to the Outeniqua Pass outside of George. As it spans six mountain ranges, it crosses numerous CapeNature (Provincial Government) managed parks, which are recognized as World Heritage Sites for their biological significance, and around 150 private properties. The Rim of Africa has spent years building relationships with local land owners, businesses, organizations, and government to obtain permission to cross or camp on properties along the route.
Existing footpaths and tracks are used where known or found, but much of the Rim of Africa Mountain Passage is off-path and in remote areas. Walking off-path can be difficult or dangerous due to steep mountain slopes, scree/rocky terrain, thick bush standing over two meters, lack of water, wind exposure, or areas of low-cloud coverage. This is not a walking trail for all skill levels.
After a total of 50 days in the mountains in December 2012, I became the first person to walk the entirety of the Rim of Africa Mountain Passage. I spent the first two weeks walking with Ricardo Philander, a 24-year-old from Ocean View (a coloured community on the Cape Peninsula), as he learned about backpacking and guiding. We joined a guided group once we started walking on private properties, which in turn allowed me to interact with trail participants and hear how they experienced the Rim of Africa. After 27 days of walking, the group reached the town of Montagu (finishing their walk) and I took a brief break. Leaving Montagu I walked solo for 15 days, to the Riversdale area, and then was joined by a rotation of walking partners until the end of the trip about 10 days later. My walking partners included a friend Claudia, and the two Rim of Africa co-founders Galeo Saintz and Ivan Groenhof. Ivan, who started this project in 2005, walked with me the last three days so we could end it together.
For more information about the route and how it may be walked, visit the Rim of Africa’s website.