Smoking with the Devil – Devils Peak

Jan Hunks, a square faced Dutch man with deep-set eyes and a bellow of a laugh, was kicked out the house one day by his wife as per usual. She didn’t appreciate his smoking and because he did, he spent most of his days outside, puffing away on his wooden pipe. One day somewhere in circa 1700, an unknown fellow with the greenest of eyes and the tallest of hats approached Jan on the slopes of Devils Peak.

They both loved smoking so much, they decided to have a pipe smoking contest, the smoke clouds grew heavier and heavier and covered the mountain in a table cloth resembling mass of clouds. Jan Hunks won the contest, and came to learn that his mysterious green-eyed friend was in fact the devil himself. This is the long carried tale of how Devils Peak / Duiwels Kop came to have its peculiar name.

On 26th May 1971, three South African Air Force Hawker Siddelley HS125 aircraft crashed into Devils Peak and killed all 11 passengers. There have luckily been no further crashes into the mountain. As far as animals on the mountain are concerned, there are a few Himalayan Tahrs left over after a culling program had to reduce the 700 animals populating the area, after escaping a zoo and breeding exponentially.

The southern slopes of Devils Peak have thick indigenous forest growing on them, whereas the northern slopes are covered in Peninsula shale Fynbos. There are many fabulous hiking trails on the slopes of Devils Peak, however the summit is exposed to wind and mist and a number of descents on the southern suburbs side are extremely treacherous and a number of hikers have lost their lives. On the Eastern slopes lies The Rhodes Memorial, and The University of Cape Town.

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