Trails

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“The Pandemic” has forced us to rethink how we do things. Before the pandemic, we were generally drawn to the outdoors, but we’ve become more and more secluded as the pandemic draws on and on. However, this seclusion has driven lots more South Africans towards the “alternative” outdoors and more specifically enjoy the many beautiful hiking trails the country has to offer.

With the limited number of outdoor activities accessible during these challenging times, hiking trails have become one of the best opportunities to still find fun and go on a safe adventure.

What makes hiking trails special is the diversity. They connect you with nature and give you the chance to see the beauty that lies within our own country. The forests, mountains, waterfalls and flora allow you to forget about the issues we’re facing – at least for a while anyway!

Here are a few key hiking trails you need to tackle during these frustrating times.

Cape of Good Hope Trail

Table Mountain National Park, Western Cape
Distance: 33.8km
Duration: 1 Night
Guided: No
Accommodation: Basic huts, ablution facilities, solar-powered electricity, braai, cooking facilities
Difficulty: Moderate
Age: All ages
Activities: Mountain and ocean views, Wild/marine life viewing, Birding, Stargazing, flora, Swimming, Diaz beach, the lighthouse, the signalling canon.This trail is popular for its accessibility and the unsurpassed views over the pristine Diaz Beach and rugged western shoreline. The Cape of Good Hope trail takes you along a well-maintained and marked boardwalk towards the famous Cape of Good Hope sign, located on the rocky shoreline far below.

High Five Trail

Machadodorp, Mpumalanga
Distance: 24.5Km
Duration: 3 Nights
Guided: No
Accommodation: Comfortable hikers camps, showers, toilets, braai
Difficulty: Moderate
Age: 12 to 65 Years
Activities: Mountain views, forests, grasslands, sandstone formations, wildlife, flora, waterfalls, swimming.

This stunning High Five Trail is found in Mpumalanga on the R541, between Machadodorp and Badplaas. It is situated on the lip of the escarpment overlooking the Komati Valley and in the heart of the Skurwerberg Mountains, with beautiful waterfalls along the route.

Queens Rose Trail

Barberton, Mpumalanga
Distance: 26km
Duration: 2 Nights
Guided: Yes
Accommodation: Comfortable hikers huts, showers, toilets, braai.
Max Capacity: 12
Difficulty: Moderate
Age: 12 to 65 Years
Activities: Mountain and forest, incredible views and landscapes, waterfalls, rivers, birding, wildlife, rockpools, swimming.

This beautiful hiking trail is tucked away among the beautiful mountains of the eastern escarpment and at the confluence of the Queens and the Montrose rivers. The trail runs mostly across Komatiland forestry land although it is run and maintained privately.
It is a backpack trail and
needs a moderate degree of fitness.

Chokka Trail

Greater St Francis, Kouga Region, Eastern Cape
Distance: 62km
Duration: 3 Nights
Accommodation: Guesthouses and a resort.
Max Capacity: 16
Difficulty: Moderate
Age: All ages
Activities: Coastal and ocean views, sand dunes, fynbos, marine life, birding, tidal river, sunset cruise, old harbour.

The Chokka Trail is a diverse coastal hike in the greater St Francis area (Oyster Bay, St Francis and Cape St Francis) of the Eastern Cape. Hikers will encounter fishermen’s footpaths, jeep tracks, a dune field, coastal forest and thicket as well as the rugged coastline around the south eastern most point of Africa. Also, hikers can pay a visit to Port St Francis, a working harbour and home to the chokka fleet, where they do a calamari tasting, as well as a sunset cruise on the famous St Francis canals. As slackpack hiking holiday guests enjoy overnight stays in top class accommodation in the form of guesthouses and resorts. To top it all off after a long day out hiking, a hot shower, warm meal and a cold beer are enjoyed. The hike is moderate and suitable for novice and older hikers. It is guided by the owner on day 2, 3 and 4, fully catered for and includes luggage transfers.

Swellendam Trail

Marloth Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Distance: 54km
Duration: 4 Nights
Guided: No
Accommodation: Basic hikers huts, toilets, water.
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Age: 12yrs to 65ys
Activities: Incredible flora, forest hiking, mountain views, wildlife viewing, birding, waterfalls and rockpools.

This Hiking Trail is situated in the Marloth Nature Reserve. It is one of the Western Cape’s most rewarding multi-day routes. As it crisscrosses a large swathe of the Langeberg, it meanders through secluded green kloofs, vast fynbos-covered valleys, and imposing mountainous terrain.

Amatola Trail

Amatola Mountains, Eastern Cape
Distance: 100km
Duration: 5 Nights
Guided: No
Accommodation: Basic huts
Difficulty: Difficult
Age: 12yrs to 65ys
Activities: Mountain and forest views, waterfalls, fauna, rock formations, mountain fynbos, mountain pools.

The trail is a must-do for any experienced hiker that is in search of an escape into enchanted forests that seem removed from everyday life. Known as “The Toughest Hike in South Africa,” the trail starts at Maden Dam near King Williams Town and crosses the Hogsback Mountains into the Tolkienesque village of Hogsback itself. The main features are the richness of waterfalls and mountain pools, as well as the ancient, indigenous rainforest which makes up more than half the route.


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