Trail running has grown over the years, with runners travelling to exotic locations across the world to take part in some of the planet’s most gruelling races.
Closer to home, events like the annual Glencairn Trail Run allow people to explore KwaZulu-Natal as they pass through the spectacular scenery of the southern Drakensberg at the foothills of the majestic Sani Pass.
The 2-day event takes place on the weekend of October 12-14, at Glencairn Farm. There will be two races to suit beginners and seasoned trail runners. The Ram Run is the long-distance event with 21km and 18km trails, while the Lamb Run has 12km and 8km trails.
For those who are looking for trails in KwaZulu-Natal, here are a few to visit:
Virginia Bush Nature Reserve, Durban North
Virginia Bush Nature Reserve in Durban North is ideal for runners who seek peace and quiet. This 38-hectare reserve caters for all types of runners.
Home to seven trails, ranging from 1-7km, the reserve is opened daily from 7.30am to 4pm.
Known for being a birding spot, runners can try to spot the grey waxbill, Natal Robin or even the Boubou Shrike. The reserve is also home to the Blue Duiker, the Spotted Genet and mongoose. Entry is free.
Located at 159 Kensington Drive in Durban North. Call 0315636777 for bookings.
Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, Yellowwood Park
Kenneth Stainbank, a 253ha reserve in Yellowwood Park, has a range of animals including zebra, bush buck, rock hyrax, as well as more than 200 bird species. Their 5 trails, named after colours, range from 5-10km.
With its open savannah grassland, forest and river trails, runners will be immersed in nature in all its glory. The reserve opens from 6am-6pm. There is an entrance fee of R40 for adults and R20 for children.
Located at 90 Coedmore Avenue in Yellowwood Park. Call 0834196428 or visit kznwildlife.com.
Giba Gorge, Pinetown
Giba Gorge is paradise for trail runners. As runners explore the valley, they can flow from one trail to the next with ease. The Purple Route (4.6km) is perfect for children and beginners, while the Green Route (10.7km) allows for easier climbs and longer descents.
The Blue Route (16.3km) is the longest trail and filled with steep climbs. Along the path, you will discover a range of fauna and flora, and if you are lucky, caracals or bushbuck. Make sure you stop to relax at one of their hidden waterfalls.
Located at 110 Stockville Road, Westmead, Pinetown. Call 0317691419.
Anew Hotel Ingeli Forest & Spa, Kokstad
Anew Hotel Ingeli Forest & Spa is nestled below the Ingeli mountain range near Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal. Just two-and-a-half hours from Durban, the 4-star hotel has four trail routes.
The trails offer stunning views of the Ingeli Forest and range from 3.5-20km. The trails open from 6.30am to 5.30pm daily. Day visitors pay R20pp and they’re free for hotel guests.
Located off the N2 past Harding on route to Kokstad. Call 0390070040.
Rocky Bay Resort, Scottburgh
Rocky Bay Resort on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal offers a scenic trail for mountain bikers and trail runners. There are four trials, which range from 4-36km.
Expect to run between farm roads, indigenous coastal forest and sugar cane plantations.There are many single tracks to keep the journey interesting. The trails start from R20pp.
Located at 1 Old Main Rd, Park Rynie. Call 0399760336.
Holla Trails, Ballito
Holla Trails, situated at Sugar Rush Park in Ballito, encourages visitors to choose their own adventure.
Holla Trails consists of more than 360km of marked and signed trails. Runners can choose between three running trails, which range from 5, 8.5 and 13km. Entry is R25.
Located at Sugar Rush Park at Esenembe Road in Ballito. Call 074 897 8559.