5 overnight hiking trails to try in South Africa
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As spring fast approaches, more outdoor enthusiasts are taking advantage of the warm weather to embark on overnight hiking trails.
South Africa is famed for having some of the most stunning hiking trails, promising remarkable landscapes and experiences along the route.
Here are a few we recommend:
Magaliesburg 18km overnight trail
Where: Magaliesburg, Gauteng
This overnight trail offers some of the most incredible views of the Magaliesburg mountains.
Ideal for social distancing, the trail is hiked over two days, with the first covering 10km to the overnight hut, so it isn’t strenuous. The second day covers 8km.
“The hut has running water, electricity, beds with mattresses, an outside braai area, cutlery and crockery, camping chairs and a bundle of firewood. You’ll need to bring your own bedding,” said Jamie Owen, marketing manager for Thule. Rates start from R350 a person. Call 079 490 2690.
Lower-Injisuthi Cave trail
Where: Drakensburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Owen describes this overnight hiking trail as “one of the most worthwhile medium-length hikes in the region”.
The trail starts at the Injisuthi Rest Camp, heading towards the Injisuthi River valley. It offers splendid mountain scenery along the way. Hikers also pass by Battle Cave, Junction Cave and Boundary Pool.
“If you feel that walking the 12km trail and back again is too much for just one day, it’s possible to overnight in the cave at the end of the trail.
“The cave is spacious but runs out of space in the wet season due to bad drainage. The nearest water supply is about 60m from the cave,” said Owen.
Rates for overnight accommodation start from R80 a person. Call 021 481 2860.
Where: Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga
The three-day trail spans 30km. It covers half of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The trail offers views of the bush, open veld and two striking waterfalls. Hikers also get to experience the striking Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
“The trail route is of moderate difficulty. Although the route tends to follow the contour lines, the terrain is mountainous, and a responsible degree of fitness is required.
“The route is marked by yellow footprints and painted on to rocks,” said Evan Sparks, the co-founder and managing director at Afritrails.
Hikers will sleep in hiking huts. Amenities include mattresses and sheets, towels, toilet and braai facilities, boma and firewood.
Rates start from R1 350 a person. Call 087 153 6478.
Olifants River Backpack Trail
Where: Kruger National Park, Limpopo
Enjoy one of three guided backpacking trails at the Kruger National Park, one of South Africa’s most famed attractions. One of the trails, Olifants River Backpack Trail, runs along the Olifants River. Backpackers can savour game viewing along the route, and if you are lucky, you may spot hippos and crocodiles.
“Hikers embark at sunrise to complete the first stretch of that day’s hike,” said Sparks. The three-day trip covers around 42km. Rates start from R3 475 a person. Call 087 153 6478.
De Tronk and Die Hel
Where: Groot Winterhoek Wilderness, Western Cape
The 33km, two-night overnight trail features classic rock formations, rock pools and fynbos.
“The area is important for the conservation of mountain fynbos, wildlife and a source of clean water to the Western Cape province,” said Sparks.
Groot Winterhoek has four basic hiker huts equipped with bunk beds, mattresses and basic toilets. There is no electricity, braai facilities or fires.
Rates start from R880.
Call 087 153 6478.
Want more backpacking tips and tricks? Read the August 2021 edition here.