Hike the Rim of Africa

Posted by Matt Sterne on 27 June 2019

There are two striking aspects to the Rim of Africa. The first is its scale: a 650-kilometre hike over nine weeks from the Cederberg, in the west, to the Outeniqua foothills in the east.

The route skirts atop the Cape Fold Mountains, forming the southwestern rim of our continent. Hikers can join for just one of the nine stages or, if they’re brave (or crazy) enough, they can attempt the full journey. The hiking is off-trail and routes change slightly every year.

Trail guide Johann Lanz contemplates the fantastic geological formations between De Doorns and Montagu. Image credit: Matthew Sterne

Hikers journey through remote kloofs, past ancient rock formations and dense protea forests, with days often featuring a dip in pristine and seldom-seen rock pools. You’ll camp beneath stars, cook your own food and drink from clear streams.

The other special feature is the nature of the hiking. It’s not about racing between camps but rather about spending time in the mountains and going at a comfortable pace, while you scale craggy peaks or drop down into a gorge that only a few will ever enter. You’re encouraged to contemplate the wilderness you’re passing through (an hour of silence and poem readings are common) and embrace the unique perspective it allows you to have on your daily life.

Make no mistake, it’s challenging and there are no easy exits up there, but the reward is full immersion in the mountains. For something so remote and adventurous, without comforts, electricity or a roof over your head, it’s strange how the experience can feel like going home.

Plan your trip

The Rim of Africa takes place on set dates annually – from 24 September to 18 November this year.
Bookings close on 28 June 2019. Costs are divided into four tiers to include hikers from diverse backgrounds, and range from fully sponsored to R8 600 pp for each of the nine
traverses. rimofafrica.co.za

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