Kitting ourselves out to explore the Cape’s three wilderness areas

Posted on 27 April 2023 By David Henning

We recently went to explore the Cape’s three wilderness areas, in search of raw, untouched nature. South Africa is home to seven declared wilderness areas, three within the Western Cape.

They are the Cederberg Complex, Boosmansbos Wilderness area and the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness area.

Kitting ourselves out to explore the Cape's three wilderness areas

What is a wilderness area?


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IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas defines a wilderness area as a ‘natural area protected by legislation and of sufficient size to protect the pristine natural environment which serves physical and spiritual well-being,’ and where ‘as pristine natural areas, they should be established to ensure that future generations will have an opportunity to seek understanding in largely undisturbed areas.’

In South Africa, wilderness areas can be proclaimed under the Forest Act of 1984, which described it as ‘undeveloped areas uninhibited by man. It should retain an intrinsically wild experience and give visitors a feeling of isolation from the outside world.’

Nature is one of those few things that prompt us to get all poetic in trying to define “what is a wilderness”. Only nature can make a government document sound beautiful, going on to say that ‘the human spirit will be the poorer for lack of a wilderness experience.’


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For this reason, we are willing to push our bodies to the limit and leave behind our lives of luxury in the name of “fun” just so we can come face-to-face with nature on equal terms.

This is why it’s vital to choose the right gear, and thanks to Cape Union Mart, we were able to try out some of their outdoor hiking gear.

The Basics

Kitting ourselves out to explore the Cape's three wilderness areas

Hiking tent: K-Way Scorpion 2 Person

The spacious tent provides enough space for two people and the fly sheet at the back and front means there’s enough space for your packback to lie outside, while covered from the inclement weather outside.

This tent is for your everyday hiker, so it’s not too heavy on the pocket but will stand its own on lengthy hikes.

Capacity – Tent 2-Person
Dimensions 2100mm x 1400mm x 1100mm
Packed Dimensions 410mm x 145mm x 145mm
Weight 2.1kg
No of Doors 1
Mosquito Netting Yes
Material – Canopy 210T Ripstop Polyester with Fire Retardant finish
Material – Frame Lightweight Aluminum Alloy
Flysheet Water Column 2500mm waterhead and PU coated

R2 199 from Cape Union Mart

Sleeping bag: K-Way Expansion 400 Sleeping Bag

A lightweight and compact sleeping bag, but still enough to handle the cold conditions. The added elasticity in the mid-section of the sleeping bag makes for a more comfortable slumber, weather you toss and turn with the sleeping bag or in it.

  • Outer fabric: 100% Nylon mini ripstop
  • Inner fabric: 100% Polyester
  • Fill: 95% Goose down with standard 750+ cuin 190 grams
  • Comfort rating: 9 °C
  • Transition rating: 5 °C to 9 °C
  • Risk rating: -5 °C
  • Weight: 640 grams
  • Dimensions: 210 cm (Length) x 80 cm (Opening) x 50 cm (Foot box)

R2 000 from Cape Union Mart


The Blade: Kaliber Survival Knife

Whether you are a survivalist or just an outdoor enthusiast, this Kaliber knife proved incredibly useful. Lightweight, at only 215 grams, its list of features includes a flint fire starter (which proved quite effective, setting my hair on fire along with the tinder during the test), an attached whetstone to sharpen the blade as well as a hammer at the bottom of the handle.

R699 from Cape Union Mart

Pictures: David Henning & William Paine

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