Take a meander through valleys and vineyards, up hills and mountain tracks, along farm roads and through incredible fauna and flora unique to the Western Cape. Picnic in vineyards, have a post-hike meal at a world-class restaurant, or just sit back and relax with a glass of award-winning wine. – Glamtrails.co.za

After a refreshing wine tasting at Ataraxia, walkers can look forward to magnificent views across the valley on the return walk towards Creation. Photo: Raphael da Silva

What started out five years ago, at a birthday party, as an idea shared by Ezanne Newton Johnson with well-known trail expert, Mike Lundy, has now grown into a number of guided hiking experiences in Hemel-en-Aarde that not only offer heavenly views, but the best in food and wine that the valley’s rich earth produces.

Launched this month by Mike’s son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Gillian Lundy, Glamtrails offers walking tours of the Hemel-en-Aarde region, Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the Hermanus Cliff Path which are designed to stimulate, refresh, entertain, and inform. Each trail is interwoven with historical narratives, fabulous food and wine tastings, and incredible vistas.

“Ezanne commented to Mike that there was hardly any hiking in the valley but the way the wine farms were laid out along one road, made it possible to hike from one to the other. That’s where the idea was born. Neither of them is with us any longer, but the idea stuck with Tim and me,” recounts Bevan Newton Johnson, the Managing Director of Newton Johnson Vineyards whose wife, Ezanne, passed away last year. 

This sculpture by Nanette Ranger surveys the beautiful Glamtrails walk from Creation to Ataraxia, a 6 km circular route. Photo: Raphael da Silva

“Tim and Gillian are very much the reason why this idea of Ezanne’s has become a reality. I think it is wonderful. There are not many places on earth where you can hike through such natural riches to award-winning wine farms set against a magnificent backdrop,” says Bevan.

“Last year, we revisited the concept and decided to put the project in motion. As it progressed, the concept went from trails to walks and finally to walking experiences,” says Tim.

There are five unique Glamtrails to choose from:

  1. A 7 km walk from Fernkloof Nature Reserve to Bouchard Finlayson Winery for a wine pairing, followed by a stop at Hamilton Russell Vineyards for a wine tasting.
  2. A 4.7 km walk along the Hermanus Cliff Path from the Old Harbour to New Harbour with a stop at Abagold for an abalone tasting.
  3. A circular 6.1 km walk from Creation Wines to Ataraxia Wines for a wine tasting followed by a food and wine pairing back at Creation.
  4. Starting at  Bouchard Finlayson with a wine tasting, a 3.5 km walk that ends with lunch at Newton Johnson Vineyards.
  5. A 7 km walking trail designed by legendary local botanist, Frank Woodvine, on the De Bos Farm of Bosman Hermanus, followed by a picnic lunch at their wine tasting venue, the Frame House.

“Glamtrails provide an opportunity to discover the Hemel-en-Aarde in a unique, close up and personal way with your guide. Beautiful hikes amongst vineyards and fynbos in our pristine environment offer a relaxing and luxurious getaway for those that love to explore nature and enjoy fine wine, food and a farm or ocean to table experience,” says Carolyn Martin, co-owner of Creation.

“The walks were chosen to ensure that each one has something different to offer. Very quickly, as we were enjoying all the wine tastings and food pairings, we realised that there were lots of experiences we could choose from. So each walk has its own signature,” says Tim, an accredited mountain guide, who is also the author of Family Walks in the Western Cape, which describes leisurely walks for all ages and fitness levels. 

“All of our guided routes can be completed in a matter of hours. Some are a short stroll while others are an uphill hike. Each offers a unique experience,” adds Tim who is also a member of his local mountain rescue team.

Every Glamtrail offers a unique experience of flora and fauna. Photo: Allison Foat

What makes the walks in Hemel-en-Aarde special is that they are not generally open to the public, since they are all on private property owned either by wine estates or farmers. But Tim says the whole community has been very supportive of his new venture and he informs the owners each time he will be leading a group through the properties.

Despite just starting up, interest has already been expressed by the town of Wellington to expand the Glamtrails concept there. But as Tim says, “At this point, we are focusing on getting the five Hermanus Glamtrails up and going. We may increase the number of walks to a maximum of eight in Hemel-en-Aarde in the future. We may possibly also look at multi-day experiences, not necessarily in the Hemel-en-Aarde region, but elsewhere in the Western Cape such as Wellington.

“The idea is to grow the brand by finding different experiences within the Western Cape. But right now, the concept is working and the feedback has been very positive,” concludes Tim.

Returning to Creation for a wine and food pairing, walkers are treated to a view of the entire wine estate. Photo: Allison Foat

Tim’s father, Mike Lundy was a household name in South Africa, with several books – including Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula, Easy Walks in the Cape Peninsula and Weekend Trails in the Western Cape, among others – and over 200 articles published on hiking. He was a regular contributor to print and electronic media and a tour guide for Table Mountain National Parks. He passed away in May 2015 at the age of 74.

“My father taught me to love and respect the mountains. The mountains were his sacred space and he believed in access for all,” says Tim.
For more information, visit https://www.glamtrails.co.za/ or contact Tim Lundy on 083 444 5267. Prices range from R1 200 to R1 800 per person, with discounts for groups.

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