4 top hikes in the mountains of Magoebaskloof

Posted by Lauren Dold on 6 May 2021

The village of Haenertsburg and surrounding Magoebaskloof forests provide plenty of opportunities to hike mountain trails, explore waterfalls and take in insane views. There are single and multi-day trails for hikers and walkers of all fitness levels.

Here are our top four:

Photo: Marcus Jooste

The Louis Changuion Trail

This trail starts in the village of Haenertsburg itself, and maps of the trail are available at most businesses in the village. The Louis Changuion Trail is popular with birders and serious hikers, as it winds through the Haenertsburg grasslands and sections of indigenous forest. Hikers get the chance to see views over the Ebenezer Dam, the Wolkberg and the Iron Crown. The trail is 10km long, and usually takes around four hours to complete. There are three picnic sites along the trail for a snack stop.

Pick up a booklet on medicinal plants or insects before heading out on the trail at the Pennefather.


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The Swartbos (Lesodi) Trail

The Swartbos Trail is a well marked route through the indigenous forest of the Magoebaskloof mountains. The starting point is across the road from the Sandford Heights nursery near the Magoebaskloof Hotel. (You can grab a map at either of these two venues). The walk takes about two hours, and is a great location for birding. Rare birds to keep an eye out for are the Cape Parrot and the Narina Trogon. Also scan the tree tops for Samango monkeys. Along the trail are strangler fig trees, one in particular called the “Cathedral tree” is worth a stop, as it spans over several host trees. Picnic spots and braai facilities are available along the trail, but remember to bring your own firewood.

Debengeni Falls

While more of a destination than an actual hike, Debengeni falls are worth a visit when in Magoebaskloof. The falls can be found on the R71 towards Tzaneen, 20km from the village of Haenertsburg. A couple of different hiking routes skirt past Debengeni, the ideal spot to peel off those hiking boots and cool tired feet in the water. There is an entrance fee, which is usually R20 per person. 

Photo: Mia Louw

Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail

The longest and most intense hike on the mountain is the Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail. It’s a three day, 50km trail through indigenous forest and pine plantations, although it can be modified to be shorter or longer. Most of the walking is through the forest, alongside fresh mountain streams, waterfalls and craggy ravines.

Along the trail are six basic overnight hiking huts, all of which can be rented out for hikers. The trail can be tailored to start either at De Hoek hut, Broederstroom hut or Woodbush hut. In terms of difficulty, this trail ranges from moderate to difficult. Summers in Magoebaskloof can be very misty and rainy, and the temperatures are cool in the forest, even in summer (average 19 C).

Cost: R150/pp

Visit Safcol http://www.safcol.co.za/what-we-offer/ecotourism/magoebaskloof/ for a detailed breakdown of the various routes and huts along the Magoebaskloof Trail. 013 754 2724

Picture: Getaway gallery

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