Use the warmer weather as an excuse to try out these five awesome new hiking trails in South Africa.
1. Maglieskrans Trail, North West
This 15-kilometre, moderately strenuous route is an exciting addition to the three existing trails at Rustig in the Magaliesberg. The overnight route leads through spectacular rock formations and involves clambering up ladders. Day hikers are welcome on the other trails and the facilities are exceptional with a range of overnight accommodation options, a restaurant and pool. Costs from R60 to R100 a person. Cell 079-490-2690, www.rustig.co.za
2. Welgedacht Private Game Reserve, Gauteng
Only 30 minutes from Pretoria, Welgedacht (part of Dinokeng Game Reserve) is the place to head if hiking with big game is your thing. Guided hikes of one to six hours take you deep into the bush where you’ll see plains game, birds as well as rhino, buffalo and the occasional predator. Game drives are also offered and there’s a overnight bush camp.
Costs R175 a person. Anvie Ventures, tel 012-662-1140, www.anvieventures.co.za.
3. Poplar Grove, KwaZulu-Natal
Two new trails, 26 kilometres from Nottingham Road on the way to Sani Pass, are aimed at families and have fun features such as suspension bridges and wooden ladders. Both the six-kilometre Oribi and nine-kilometre Ystervark routes meander through the Drakensberg foothills before descending to the Mooi River where there are lovely pools.
There’s an eight-sleeper house (R300 a person a night) and camping facilities (R190 an adult and R100 a child a night) for larger groups. Day visits from R60 a child and R100 an adult. Tel 033-266-6817, cell 072-877-3605, www.4stay-sa.com
4. Lindani, Limpopo
The four circular Green Flag trails on this private nature reserve in the Waterberg are offered as individual day trails or they can be linked to form a multi-day hike. The reserve is well stocked with plains game and there’s an interesting mixture of savanna, sandstone cliffs, deep kloofs and tinkling streams. The Mountain and Melkrivier trails (each about 11 kilometres) are moderately difficult, while the Kloof and Koperspruit loops (about 7,5 kilometres each) are easy, so there’s something for all ages and abilities.
Up to 12 day visitors can be accommodated at a time by prior arrangement at R100 a person. Tel 014-755-4959, www.lindani.co.za.
5. Cederberg 100, Western Cape
The newest in the collection of slackpacking trails that comprise the Cederberg Heritage Route, this seven-day, eight-night trail consists of roughly 100 kilometres of wonderful hiking. Most nights are spent in simple cottages and overnight bags are transported by donkey or vehicle, leaving you free to walk with just a day pack and enjoy the scenery in the company of a local guide.
Costs R625 a person a night, including accommodation, meals and porterage. Tel 027-482-2444, www.cedheroute.co.za.
Photo by Shaen Adey