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What was your hike like?
"Unpack your backpack here"
Genadendal - the "Valley of Grace"
Submitted by: Arnell Botha
7 March 1999

The Genadendal ("Valley of Grace") trail description on page 129 of Lundy's "Week-end trails in the Western Cape" was an accurate and fair description of this wonderful trail.

The accommodation, however, is what concerns me. I feel that accommodation grades should not only take the fulfillment of certain requirements into consideration e.g. toilets, hot showers, etc. to achieve these grades but also important aspects like safety, cleanliness, hygiene etc.

The description "between the two is a kitchen/ablution hut with hardly enough room to swing a cat" is true, but I wouldn't swing a pig in it. On arrival the place reeked of gas and we awaited a member of our group who is a representative of a very large gas organisation to remedy this for us. The two plate gas stove was another hazardous piece of equipment which after dismantling and re-assembling was side-stepped. Thank god for our MSR.

We proceeded to braai on a drum which probably had been emptied a decade earlier on grids which were probably bought a decade earlier. The gas bottles were placed right next to the kitchen (try flaunting this regulation in Cape Town).

The showers had exposed piping, intermittent hot/cold water and what looked like being divided by hard-board (A really good excuse not to shower). Exposed cement floors which looked slimy reaching out to the unsuspecting ready to impart "athlete's foot".

The huts were designed for the horizontally compressed and after head-butting it thrice, you automatically bent your knees on entrance and exit.

Please don't think we are novice hikers but we've bivvied on numerous occasions. We were not expecting a 5 star establishment but we were also not expecting to be placed under false pretenses.

The accommodation providers have created the impression of plainly milking the hiking fraternity with no re-injection of capital into what could be a facility comparable to Oom Barry's "Die Galg", "Dassieshoek", or even "Arangieskop" which all received a grade 2.

If the deterioration had been that rapid and severe since first grading then I apologise to all concerned.
Thank you, but no thank you.

Reply to Arnell Botha:

Bookings and enquiries: Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve
Tel: + 27 (0)23 625-1621 Fax: + 27 (0)23 625-1674

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Date of entry: 1 July 1996
Updated: 2 January 2004