Things To Do in GansbaaiDuiwelsgat Hiking Trail
Where? Start at Gansbaai Harbour and end in De Kelders, Cape Overberg
When? Booking is required.
How? Call +27 28 3841439
How much? Price on request
Start: Gansbaai harbour
Finish: Klipgat caves, De Kelders
Duration: 7 km, around 4 hours
Fitness: easy, children can do this hike
Our tip: this is a one-way trail, so you will need to arrange another car on the De Kelders end
This wonderful hike from Gansbaai to De Kelders takes one along some of the most incredible coastline in the Western Cape. Tidal pools, coves, beaches safe for swimming, milkwood trees and ancient figs, and limestone cliffs infused with fynbos, give way to sheltered bays that offer the chance to see the southern right whales that use this bay as their annual nursery.
The hike is named after a sea-level cavern found amongst the myriad caves that penetrate deep into the rock under the houses of De Kelders, accessible only at low tide and known as Duiwelsgat. Created over thousands of years by the cracking and folding of thick layers of sedimented rock and weathering by salt water, the cave is large and dark.
Its name is said to originate from 'Duiwegat', or 'dove hole' – a name given by the locals to the cave for the many rock pigeons that nest in the cave. But the association of the cave with the 'devil' is not unrelated. For above the cave is a sinkhole that early settlers filled over in a bid to prevent their sheep and cattle from falling through. Today the hole is open, although there is a stone wall around it for safety.
But before one reaches Duiwelsgat, one can visit the Drip Kelders. This privately owned cave with its series of caverns and passageways, is the only fresh-water cave on the coast of South Africa. You will need a guide to visit as they are closed to the public.
You enter through a long narrow passageway before the Dripkelder opens into a series of chambers in which there are stalactites and stalagmites. In here are large freshwater basins fed by springs inside the cave.
The final leg of the hike is along the cliffs above Die Plaat, before a descent down a series of steps brings you to Klipgat, a huge cave once used as a place of shelter by strandlopers, recently excavated by archaeologists.
Duiwelsgat hike forms part of the greater Perlemoen Trail.