THOMAS HUT

Overview

Thomas Hut is situated in the Hex River Mountains north of Worcester at Disa Dell (1395m) on the north-eastern flanks of Brandwacht Peak. Overlooking Meiring’s Plateau, it is often the first stop on an exploration of the Hex River Mountains. It is an ideal base from which to access Brandwacht Peak, Chavonnesberg, Meiring’s Plateau and its ridge peaks, Audensberg and of course Fonteintjiesberg. The Hut also forms part of the classic “Hex Traverse” to Waaihoek, Ceres or the Hex River Valley.

The hut is at a height of around 1 395m, with the path leading to it starting at 445m. A fire in the mountains in 2003 led to the exposure of the original 1930s Loubscher’s Highway path. It had been closed in 1969 after the Tulbagh earthquake created dangerous conditions in Tierkloof, but these sections have been rebuilt and the original route is now used.

Thomas Hut2

Drive-time: About 1 hour 30 min from Cape Town; Walk-in time:  3 hours 30 min.

Height gain: Approximately 1000m from the car park.

Weather forecast: Google yr.no Brandwagpiek Western Cape (spelling is important!)

https://www.yr.no/place/South_Africa/Western_Cape/Brandwagpiek/

Thomas Hut inside

Facilities

Facilities at this one-room hut include:

  • outside a stoep,
  • roofed pergola,
  • ‘braai’ fire-place,
  • toilet and cold shower.

Inside are:

  • matrasses,
  • a kitchen area with wash-up and running water (except during droughts),
  • cutlery,
  • crockery,
  • cooking utensils,
  • solar lights and
  • a small slow-combustion room heater (‘kaggel’), which uses charcoal.

Bring your own charcoal, toilet paper and gas stoves. Or alternatively, a butane gas canister (220g) to use with the gas stove tops, which are in the hut.

NO OUTSIDE FIRES ALLOWED!

How to Book

B00KINGS: All MCSA members wishing to access Thomas Hut must do so via the Hut Convenor, Erika van Niekerk at thomashut@mcsaworcester.org.za at least four working days in advance.

History

Thomas Hut was built in 1930 thanks to the combined efforts of the founding members of the Ski Club of South Africa – one of whom was Eddie Pells – and the Worcester Section of the MCSA, who realised that the slopes of the Fonteintjiesberg were good for skiing after a heavy snowfall. The hut is named after McL Thomas, who was chairman of the Worcester Section at the time and who first loaned the funds to build the hut, and then waived repayment.

Building the hut was quite a task. A road to Brandwacht had to be built first, which was jointly funded by the MCSA and the Worcester municipality. Stone and sand was readily available, but additional building materials, such as roofing and planks weighing 3.5 tons, had to be transported to the site. This required a team of donkeys and 200 pupils from the local school!

The hut was officially opened after the first snowfalls in the area on 7 August 1931 and was used mostly by skiers, but in 1934 the municipality feared contamination of the stream supplying water to Worcester so they closed access.

The MCSA later managed to convince the municipality to allow them access once again. Since then, many improvements have been made including the addition of an outside toilet, a stoep and a pergola.

Disclaimer: Mountain climbing has its risks. All who join in Mountain Club outings or use information from this website do so entirely at their own risk.