Danie Miller Staproete in Mountainside, Gordonsbaai, Wes-Kaap
When you are cruising down Beach Road in Strand with the car pointed at Gordon’s Bay, you can’t help noticing the big, white “GB” written in an anchor on the side of the Hottentots Holland Mountains.
When asked what the “GB” on the mountain stands for, most people think “Duh, it’s Gordon’s Bay!”. However, this is not quite true. It actually represents “General Botha”, which was the original name of the naval school at the harbour underneath the sign. The great thing is that you can actually hike all the way up to the sign, and see it up close. It is a LOT bigger than you think!
We will get to the hiking trail in a bit – but first, a brief history of the magnificent GB sign.
The naval school was named after General Louis Botha, who was a hero during the Anglo Boer War, as well as an icon in the early politics of South Africa.
In 1948 the General Botha SA Nautical College was opened, and the students of the college decided they wanted to do something spectacular in memory of General Botha.
They decided on using whitewashed stones to build a big sign in his honour, with the anchor surrounding it to represent the harbour and their Nautical College. Today this sign is a signature part of Gordon’s Bay and it represents years and years of great history. The South African Naval College, as it is known today, still remains one of the top academies of its sort in South Africa.
To get back on track, the Danie Miller hiking trail is the beautiful route used to gain access to the sign. It is only about a 1km hike to get to the sign, but it becomes quite steep at the end!
You might end up huffing and puffing as you reach the top, but what will really take your breath away is the magnificent view over False Bay and its surroundings!
On a clear day you will be able to see the stretch from Macassar to Cape Point across the bay, but on other days you might only be able to see as far as Strand or even Gordon’s Bay. It is truly astonishing to be standing almost halfway up the mountain, with the massive sign right at your feet, looking over white beaches, deep blue seas, and sloping mountains as far as the eye can see.
The best time of year to walk up would be in the summer or spring, but make sure to bring a bottle of water! It is advised that you take at least one hiking buddy along for the trip.
The Danie Miller hiking trail has no entry fee, and can be accessed at any time. You can park your car safely in Suikerbossie Drive, at the end nearest to Rooi-Els. You will clearly see an open piece of land on the mountain’s side of the road; with a sign showing you the hiking trail and what are the Do’s and Don’ts when walking there.
Always be careful, pace yourself, and most important – enjoy yourself!
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