Friends of Stellenbosch Mountain

FSM holds Regular hacks and Special hacks as described below.

We hold our regular hacks once a month, normally on the third Saturday of the month, with exceptions.


Upcoming hacks:
21 January 7:00
This is a Special hack; please refer to appropriate section below.
18 February 7:00
Date and starting time subject to change
18 March 7:00
Date and starting time subject to change
Some past hacks::
17 December 13:00
Work on Port Jackson and Wattle near waterworks

Regular hacks

We usually meet at the main gate to the Paradyskloof nature area, also known as Eden Forest. Here is a street map to the meet-up location. The hack itself typically takes two hours; together with getting organised, reaching the hack site and the social afterwards, the entire hack event usually takes 3.5 hours.

The reason for the early times is threefold: Hacking can be hard work, and especially in summer, the hard physical work is best carried out in the coolness of the morning. It also allows hackers to do their Saturday shopping. And early mornings with sun flooding the dewy valley, the Cape Flats and Table Mountain in the distance are spectacular.

What to bring (Regular hacks)

Conditions change, but in general you want to bring along: For more information email heggers AT pm DOT me or hanneskoekemoer AT proton DOT me

What to expect (Regular hacks)

Hacks are our core activity. We drive in convoy from the gate to some corner of the fynbos or renosterveld nature area of Stellenbosch Mountain, hike the last part of the way, and then saw, cut or pull the alien invasive plant species which occur. Afterwards, we have a social with tea, cool drink, cookies, whatever is brought along.

The terrain varies widely. Sometimes we work in low-lying territory close to the cars; at other times a bit of walking is needed. Special hacks can imply going up onto the higher mountain slopes. The vegetation can vary from small shrubs on open terrain to dense river thicket. You can expect to have need of all your muscles and even your brain. This is much better than gym training, and it's free.

You can expect to meet good people: professionals, retirees, students, parents, children, all sorts. Ages vary from 6 to 84. They all care deeply about our nature heritage and its future and about Stellenbosch. They don't brag or build brand, but they are worth their weight in gold.

Last but not least: the Cape fynbos is unique, and it is beautiful. Expect to be surprised by the large variety of shapes, sizes, colours and the sheer diversity and inventiveness of the fynbos ecosystem. There is always something in flower, but August, September and October are the best. If you are lucky, you may find yourself on a tour of the morning's discoveries led by an attending botanist.

Attendance register and indemnity

If you want to participate in a hack, you are required to sign the attendance register and indemnity form at the start of the hack. No exceptions can be made.

Special hacks

Purpose and conditions of special hacks

The purpose of special hacks is to hunt and eradicate invasives growing on the mid- and upper-level parts of the mountain. This is hugely important and valuable work because even single plants left unattended will eventually multiply to re-infest the entire mountainside.

Special hacks are arranged on an ad hoc basis and are usually announced on the FSM email list. They are more demanding physically as we hike up the mountain to reach the invasives growing up there (see also the warning below). The terrain varies from near-level to fairly steep slopes, but we do not do rock-climbing. Loose rocks are common. There are no footpaths. The vegetation varies from easily traversed knee-deep fynbos to dense thickets.

The unique attraction of special hacks is that you get to discover hidden places and rare plants which you would never reach otherwise. You are rewarded with magnificent views. And you are making a very valuable contribution to our nature areas.

Because of these conditions and the extra hiking times, a special hack often takes four hours or more; seven-hour tours do happen.

What to bring (Special hacks)

For special hacks, we pay even more attention to the weather, to safety and to good preparation than for regular ones. The following equipment and preparation is essential. The hack leader is authorised to refuse participation of anyone who is not properly equipped. For more information, email hanneskoekemoer AT proton DOT me or heggers AT pm DOT me.

You MUST bring along: FSM will supply (or you can bring it yourself if you have): Optional items

Safety and responsibility