A new hiking trend has taken over the outdoor activity scene across Cape Town and is set to spread across South Africa over the next few months to come.
This should come as no surprise as South Africans love the outdoors and experiencing the best SA's thriving natural environment and beautiful hiking options. If you are looking for an outdoorsy adrenaline rush then South Africa is the place for you.
While not quite as cheeky as some recent trends, it certainly does push the boundaries.
SEE: Bums and Bug Spray: Are you joining World Naked Hiking Day?
The Peaks challenge has been a secret muttered among hiking enthusiasts and those who really want to throw themselves into a challenge. It involves completing a hike along several mountain sites in a single day.
Yes - a single day.
So it requires a degree of preparation, although this should not hinder the bold and brave of you out there. Here the Peaks Challenge is outlined in three of SA's major cities - Tackle them all in one go or in stages - whatever you do make sure you enjoy the experience.
Home to the ever towering Table Mountain - the seat of the Cape Floral Kingdom and one of the New seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The Mother City's 3 renowned spots for hiking are incorporated into the challenge - Lions head, Table Mountain and Chapmans peak. In order to complete the 3 peaks challenge - one must hike all three mountains in one day. Phew!
READ: Cape Town Hiking: All the best nooks and crannies to explore
The 3 Peaks Challenge
1. Lions Head
The stunning view of the ocean shore and Cape Town will mesmerize you when you reach the top. The iconic single rock at the top is where many choose to take their photos. According to Hiking Cape Town - the hike is suitable for everyone including children. You are able to hike this mountain during the night especially when there is a full moon.
Hiking Time : 1 - 2 hours
Traveller Tip: Avoid hiking when it is busiest - sunset during weekends.
The Otter Trail is a must for nature lovers READ: Hiking the Otter trail 101
2. Table Mountain
There are two ways to get up the mountain - you can opt to take the cable car or you can dare to push yourself and hike up towards the top. One can do the walk with the aid of the signs in order to head in the correct direction or book a guided tour with Hike Table Mountain. The hike is difficult depending on the route chosen. There are 11 routes that one can hike to on Table Mountain;
- Platteklip Gorge
- Skeleton Gorge to Table Mountain Summit
- 12 Apostles to Table Mountain Summit
- India Venster
- Llandudno Ravine
- Hiddingh- Ascension
- Summit Stroll
- Contour Path
All of the above routes are available to walk through with Hike Table Mountain
Hiking Time: Dependent on the route chosen - averages 2 hours
Traveller Tip: Each route has its own personal scenic view.
3. Chapmans Peak
The hike starts off as a steep walk but you are greeted with a lush variety of fynbos and the sound of the waves crashing. It is free to hike this mountain but access via the toll road costs R42.
Hiking Time: 2 -3 hours depending on breaks taken during hike
Traveller Tip: Take your picnic basket and goodies along - its the perfect spot for one.
If you are thinking of planning a long hike get away READ: Long Hikes 101: Tips and Trails to try in SA
The 3 Peaks challenge
The natural beauty of Jozi is often underrated. Admittedly many think of the concrete jungle when 'Jozi' comes to mind - yet there is an abundance of outdoor activities in and around this bustling urban part of SA.
1. Hennops Hiking Trail
This hiking trail is situated in Pretoria and is a short drive from Jozi central - there are three hiking routes ranging from 2,5 - 10 km. The hiking trail consists of more than an outdoor experience as there are historical sights on the walk - allowing one to stop and investigate SA history. It feels as if you are far away from the central cities with its vibrant bird life and lush greenery.
Hiking time: Dependent on chosen route, longest route duration 4- 5 hours and shortest 1- 2 hours.
Traveller Tip: Take in the unspoiled nature and a must for bird lovers as the environment makes for a vibrant bird sightings.
2. Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
Melville Koppies is considered a Johannesburg City heritage site, dating back 3 billion years. There are several points of entry into the reserve, with specific rules in place.
You hike needs to be re-organized in order to allow access from the Central entrance, while the east and west entrances are open to the public. You are allowed to let your furry best friends tag along for this one too - but they must be on a lead.
Hiking time: It is dependent on the route taken by the guides. Ranging from 1 - 2 hours
Traveller tip: If you want to hike in a group of 15 or more please do inform the nature reserve as there are additional guides available for the hikes.
3. Uitkyk Hiking Trail
This scenic hiking trail is located in the Hartbeesport Dam, Malaliesberg. Although the drive can take about 1 and a half hours - the walk promises to be magical. Wildlife that can be spotted during the hike you are able to gaze over a stunning view of the Harties dam. There are various hiking routes that cater to your needs.
Hiking duration: 4- 5 hours
Traveller tip: End the hiking challenge off here, sit back and relax while you enjoy the breathtaking views. It is important to note that you must pre-book access in order to hike the trail.
Looking for more hiking trails in Joburg? READ: SA Outdoor Fun: 5 Great Joburg Hiking Trails
The 3 Peaks challenge
1. Giba Gorge Nature Reserve
There are various trails that can be taken on this hike - The eagle trail has been given its name as you might spot a few of them during your hike. There is also the McIntosh falls, with stunning view of it cascading into the base of the river.
Hiking time: 2- 3 hours.
Traveller Tip: The entrance to the park for a hike and walk is R 10. It is open to the general public from 07:00 - 17:00. If you decide to become a member then you are allowed 24 hour access to the park.
2. Kranzkloof Nature Reserve
The nature reserve provides guided walks and hikes on the third Sunday of the month - unfortunately no pets are allowed and there is an entrance fee of R30 per person and R15 for those under 12 years. The iconic Kloof falls will be seen on your walk. You are able to have a picnic after your hike as there are the perfect spots for it.
Hiking Time: 1 - 3 hours
Traveller Tip: These guided walks do not need to be booked and the cost is R50 - includes the entry fee.
3. Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve
Located South- West of Durban there is 13km worth of hiking available - the shortest hike is 5,5 Mkumbi Trail, where you will be able to see Zebra, impala and much more wild life in their natural habitat. The coastal forest leads down to the Umhlatuzana river.
Hiking Time: 2- 3 hours depending on the chosen route.
Traveller Tip: An entrance fee is payable at the gate and you are provided with maps upon entry.
With the peaks challenge on the cards - are you brave enough to do it #BravethePeaks.
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