Climbing a mountain in Port Elizabeth? Not something that many would think about when traveling to the Windy city.
Granted, the mountain range is not exactly in the city, but rather a few kilometers outside of it. Nevertheless, if you’re one that likes moderate exercise, becoming one with nature and stunning landscapes then putting this hike down on your ‘To Do’ list is a must.
Lady Slipper, the title given to the mountain, is said to resemble a an upside-down high heeled shoe when looked at from afar. Personally, I have never been able to see this so-called shoe, but I look forward to the day that it suddenly appears to me. Lady Slipper is like Port Elizabeth’s signature mountain. Most locals have climbed to the top to grab a peak of the beautiful view.
The base of the mountain is located on a small holding. Seeing as it is private property, hikers are required to buy a permit before climbing up (R20/30pp) The hike is obviously uphill most of the way, panning out horizontally in a few sections. When we did the climb, we made sure to get there early in the morning to avoid the wrath of the sun. In the beginning of the hike you climb in the shade of dense vegetation, but the higher you get, the more you are exposed to the harshness of the weather.
The climb takes between 45 minutes and an hour and it is slightly quicker to get down. Expect lots of loose rocks and coarse ground on the path. There are parts of the mountain where you will need to use all four limbs to overcome hurdles. If, like me, hiking is not a weekly occurrence, you will need to stop every so often to catch your breath.
Slippers on top of Lady Slipper 🙂
Sweaty, tired and thirsty, you will eventually reach the top of Lady Slipper. The magnificent view from the top is completely worth it. You will see numerous farmlands, the city in the distance, and the N2 highway with cars the size of little ants gliding upon it. We decided to celebrate with a bottle bubbly and some snacks when we got to the top. This also made the trek back down so much more joyful.
How to get there?
From Port Elizabeth, take the Van Stadens Gorge Rd from the R102, following signs to Highbrae Camp & Climb.
Things to pack to ensure a happy climb:
Sunscreen – no one wants to resemble a lobster in all their hiking photos.
Lots of water – believe me you are going to need it!
Good hiking shoes – these will prevent you from bruising your butt and twisting your ankles.
A cap – the sun is fierce, especially nearer the summit. Once again, a lobster-face is not ideal.
Camera or phone – you are going to want evidence of your miraculous achievement. Come on, you just climbed a mountain.
Snacks & beverages – Okay yes, it’s not a marathon you just did, but some carbo-loading won’t hurt. If anything, it will make reaching the top all the more sweeter.
A great attitude – the hike is a moderate climb and is tiring in places. Keep in mind that victory is sweet and don’t stop moving.