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Cobra Camp

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Duration: EDIT 2hrs
Distance: EDIT 5km
Difficulty: EDIT  An easy stroll
Fear Factor: EDIT  No exposure to heights
Last updated: 10 September 2012
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Description EDIT
Dogs allowed.

An easy walk along a sandy jeep track to an abandoned World War II radar station. You will walk through some absolutely classic fynbos and be further rewarded with a stunning view, which unexpectedly presents itself, looking down onto Kommetjie and the Slangkop Lighthouse. Return via the same route after exploring the three old blockhouses, each with a different vista. The place has an aura of both history and mystery about it.

Travelling along Kommetjie Road between Sun Valley and Kommetjie, just after Ocean View township, there is a turn-off to the left marked “Cape Point/Scarborough”. Take it and travel 2,0 km to the crest of the hill, where you will find a gate on either side of the road. The start of your walk is behind the gate on the right-hand (Kommetjie) side.

Take the sandy jeep track behind the gate. This area was heavily infested with a dense thicket of Port Jackson willow (Acacia saligna) until 1996, when it was cleared by the Kommetjie Environmental Action Group. It is most encouraging to see the return of the fynbos at the start of the walk. The newly exposed graves on the left are those of the people who worked this ground when it used to be a farm.

The sandy jeep track climbs gently for about 20 minutes before reaching a high point where you are surrounded by classic fynbos. All three components are there —ericas, the reed-like restios and many members of the protea family. Spring is the best time to appreciate the area’s 550 species of flowering plants. Bird-spotters are bound to see the fynbos specials —orange-breasted sunbird, greyback cisticola, rock martin, grassbird and others. Perhaps more common here than most places is the ground woodpecker. Look out for him perching on a prominent rock.

After about 45 minutes of following the jeep track, you will come to Cobra Camp. The derelict brick building in the foreground presumably provided accommodation for those manning the three concrete blockhouses nearby. For the easiest path to the first blockhouse, aim for the chimney on the barracks almost straight ahead. Go past the left of the building and keep to the same level, skirting around to the left. Suddenly you are presented with a wonderful view of Kommetjie village right below you. Also the Slangkop Lighthouse and an unusual aspect of Hout Bay present a pretty picture. I always enjoy views the most that come up on you all of a sudden. This is one of them.

A glance at the coastline gives away the origin of Kommetjie’s name — the “little basin” which can clearly be seen. The rocky peninsula a few metres to the north of it is rather oddly called “The Island” and is a place where all our four species of marine cormorant are found. Also at different times of the year it is home to some really long-distance visitors — the arctic tern and the antarctic tern.

After exploring the cliff-hanging observation posts, return to your car via the same route.

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