Hiking the Hennops Trails – just 40 minutes from Joburg

Posted by Melanie van Zyl on 4 February 2015 Tags:

This weekend get out of Johannesburg or Pretoria and say hello to the great outdoors on one of the Hennops hiking trails, just 40 minutes away.

Hennops Hiking Trail - Melanie van Zyl

A group of day hikers make their way up the first ascent of the 11-kilometre Krokodilberg hiking trail.


There are two main hikes, plus a shorter trail suitable for kids. There’s plenty of scenery to soak up and a swimming pool to splash in post-hike. Get your playmates together, set a date and strap on your tekkies.

 

Both Hennops hiking trails set off from the same starting point. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

The Hennops hiking trails set off from the same starting point.


Of the two main trails, the Zebra Trail is the shorter and takes about two hours. The Krokodilberg Trail is 11.5-kilometres and takes about five hours, or, for younger kids, start along the Krokodilberg route and take the Dassie route for an easier loop that returns to the starting point after just 2.5-kilometres.

Looking for a longer hike, we opted for the crocodile version.

 

The suspension bridge crosses over the Hennops River. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

The wobbly suspension bridge crosses over the Hennops River.


The route begins by tracing the Hennops River before veering up into the mountains. There’s an exciting wobbly suspension bridge, an Anglo-Boer War Hospital Cave to see and panoramic views stretching as far as the Hartbeespoort Dam. The paths are well-etched into the veld and it’s pretty hard to get lost with painted feet to guide the way. We only strayed once.

 

A small white footprint marks the way towards the hospital cave. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

A small white footprint marks the way towards the hospital cave.

 

You can see the hospital cave with Hennops River rushing below. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

You can see the hospital cave with Hennops River rushing below.


I always find it incredible that such wilderness exists so close to the city. The website claims you could see kudu and zebra on the hike, but we only spotted cows and evidence of dassies. No complaints though, the range of landscapes is enough to get the soul stirring – from lush river-side gorges to rocky plateaus, giant aloes the size of small trees and easygoing grassland strolls.

 

Wild flowers of all colours dot the trail. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Wild flowers of all colours dot the trail.

 

Sugarbush trees about to bloom along the route. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Sugarbush trees about to bloom along the route.

 

Aloes as big as trees! Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Aloes as big as trees!


My favourite part was probably the pulley-system cable car at the very end. You have to use it to get back across the Hennops River again. It’s pretty nifty.

 

The cable car takes two hikers at a time and trolleys you over to the finish line. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

The cable car takes two hikers at a time and trolleys you over to the finish line.

 

Practical info

It costs just R60 to enter the area as a day visitor (R30 for children under 12 years) and you’ll get a map of the routes including sites of interest like the hospital cave.

Gates to Hadeda Camp open at 07:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and on Public Holidays, and at 08:30 from Monday to Friday.

Tel 082 825 9205 to book.

 

If you’d like to take to the trail, read my tips for a successful Hennops Hiking Trail and other travel stories on my personal blog. As Gear Editor for Getaway Magazine I haven’t forgotten the technical side. We’ve tested 10 of the best daypacks for this kind of adventure. Go check them out.

 
 

The September 2015 issue of Getaway magazine is dedicated to all things walking and hiking, with inspiring stories, gear reviews and great competitions galore. Get your copy today.

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