Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lower Guinea Fowl Trail

I'm always in awe when I read Helen's blog, Walking the Cape, to see how many trails and walks there are around Cape Town.  But living in Port Elizabeth doesn't mean that we don't have trails around the city.  It just seems that the locals over here either tend to rather walk on the beach or use a safety excuse not to head onto the trails.  A bunch of us from work decided to celebrate World Tourism Day on 27 September by going for a hike on the Lower Guinea Fowl Trail down the Baakens Valley from the 3rd Avenue Dip to Settlers Park.
The trail is a 7,5 km hike and meanders along the edge of the Baakens River flood-plain, passing through a steep-sided valley below some the city's suburbs.  The best part of the trail is that even though the valley cuts right through the city, it feels like you are out in nature somewhere with the only thing reminding you of where you are being the odd glimpse of houses on the edge of the valley. 

Twice the trail heads up the side of the valley with the unfit amongst us huffing and puffing before making it to the top.  Once there though the beautiful views of the Baakens Valley and surrounding suburbs makes up for the climb and soon you get your breath back while drinking in the sights.  These lookout spots also offers walkers the opportunity to sit down and relax with a snack before heading on.

I just love bubbling streams and rivers and on the trail we passed over the Baakens River a couple of times.  In some places we could clearly see how the river came down in flood a couple of months ago after we had the rains that broke our two year long drought.  The only down part was seeing all the exotics growing along the river and consuming water that our local vegetation desperately needs when there isn't a lot of water around.

The absolute highlight of the day must have been the huge variety of wild flowers we encountered along the way.  Aloes with their orange flowers, vygies (above) covered in their pink and purple jackets, fields of yellow and orange and the odd red and white in between.

Just before the end of the trail you pass over the Baakens River a couple of times again before it ends at the How Avenue parking area just above Settlers Park.  The one thing to keep in mind though is that this is not a circular route and thus you either have to leave a vehicle at the end of the trail or organise with somebody to either drop you off at the start or pick you up at the end.  All in all it was a wonderful 3 hour hike which was a first for most of the people in the party and I'm sure that most of us would head back onto it again very soon taking other friends and family along for the experience.


  1. LOVE the water that weaves amonst the trail! betcha that LOL COLD water!!Beautiful pic!

  2. Hard to tell that trail is intercity. Nice walk.

  3. Aw, thanks for the mention :)
    This trail looks great. I'm always amazed at how much unspoilt green space there is in East London and PE. It is super that there are walks through these nature areas.