Over the years, my reasons for running have gone from getting a good workout, to escapism, to relaxation and then to exploring. I have started using running as a way to get to know a neighbourhood or a mountain, and hitting the trail without having a set plan or time or distance brings with it a fantastic sense of freedom. With this in mind, I went to the amazing Klipriviersberg once more.
In preparation for some big races later this year, I need to spend more hours running on the trails (as if I needed any more reason). I’ve done quite a few hikes and runs through Klipriviersberg over the past six months, and this time I decided to do more of an “adventure run” – no need to follow trails, and run wherever I want to explore.
I began at the usual entrance, and headed up the left side of the valley. The inclines at Kliprivier always give a fantastic workout, and within no time my heart rate had boosted. After reaching the flat at the peak I went further inland, away from the river, to do some sightseeing. I found some fantastic view points, and as I continued to amble through the mountain off trail I realised how fantastic this type of run is. I love to get a workout when running, but when the mindset changes from “I have to train and get a workout” to “Let me just see what this mountain has to offer, and I’ll probably get a decent workout in” the real enjoyment of trail running shines through.
As I was wondering around I came across a path I had never seen before. I followed it down the other side of the flat and discovered an entire new section to Kliprivier. On all the other times we had visited here and thought we had seen it all, we had only been to less than a third of this reserve. It is massive.
I dipped down into the next valley, across some beautiful plains and veld, and then head back around following the fence on the outskirts. As usual there was loads of wildlife to be seen, including a young and semi-agitated Wildebeest (who I had to keep my distance from) as well as a Zebra who kept smiling at me (another agitated wild animal, I must have been doing something wrong).
The route I took followed along the perimeter, leading back into the centre of the reserve. I then went away from the entrance I came in, river on my left, and ended up finding some great and historical places. There is an old house in the reserve, as well as a grave and a horse stable. I ran through, following the path, and ended up at the most amazing picnic spot set next to the river. This would be a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.
I continued to follow the path, ending up going significantly off trail and up the steepest incline (great way to work on power hiking), and eventually ended up back on the well known red path. I followed it back to the entrance to finish the run, clocking in just under 17km in 2h30m. As usual I have added the map at the end of the post.
This reserve has so much to offer, I am definitely going to make it more of a regular visit and do some more exploring. With so much to see, I won’t be getting bored any time soon. Do yourself a favour and give Klipriviersberg a visit.