Get out and explore SA with these great day-hikes

2018-04-14 12:30
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Friends hike in South Africa while the sun sets

Good friends, great views (Photo: iStock)

Get ready for the smells, sights and surprises that only nature can provide -  the great outdoors beckons.

If you’re in the Western Cape you’re spoiled for choice with a myriad of different hikes: 

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  • Krom River Trail - An extremely popular spot for hikers and nature-lovers alike, this trail is one of the most beloved spots in the Western Cape. This scenic hike takes you on a wonderful journey along a body of fresh water with pools to swim in and for the adventurous - the end of the trail has a spot to leap off the side of the rock face into the icy pool below. This route is easy to moderate in difficulty as it involves some uphill climbing as well as a section where you have to pull yourself up some chains alongside a waterfall. Prepare to get wet and pack lots of water and food to keep those energy levels up.

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

  • Leopards Kloof - Head on down to the coastal town Betty’s Bay roughly 90 minutes away from the Cape Town CBD. There you will find the botanical gardens of Harold Porter and the location of the Leopards Kloof Hike. The hike is less strenuous so it is well-suited to families and casual hikers. Rising through the forest and taking you to a waterfall, this relatively short hike is as beautiful as it is easy.

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

SEE: West Coast Crayfish Trail: Hike in comfort and meet the locals along the way

Gauteng isn’t all concrete and business, you’ve got plenty of great outdoor spaces to spend reconnecting and enjoying your country:

  • Hennops Trail - Gear up and get on over to Hennops Trail, less than 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria. This is a great outdoor hiking space for persons of all ages and fitness levels with two main hikes and a shorter trail. The two main hikes are the Zebra trail and the Krokodilberg trail which are 5 and 10km long respectively. Families will love the Dassie trail which is only about 2.5km long and is the perfect way to ease children and beginners into the world of hiking. With views of game, river crossings, historical sites and an underground cave the Hennops Trail is an ideal place to get out and get hiking in Gauteng. 

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

  • Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve located a mere 11km south of the Johannesburg CBD is considered one of the city’s best-kept secrets. At over 700ha, it is the largest nature reserve in the Johannesburg Metropolitan area boasting a diverse range of animal life such as zebra, black wildebeest and 215 bird species amongst many others. The hiking trails are varied in length and difficulty but they are all incredibly scenic. For those seeking a challenge, follow the trails in the steeper, hilly areas or alternatively - for an easier, family-friendly walk - stay on the flatter terrain where you can expect to complete a hike in 3 hours or less. 

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

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The Eastern Cape is known to be an outdoor paradise with lush grasslands, rolling hills and mountainous terrain providing the space for hiking enthusiasts and would-be explorers to enjoy their country: 

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  • Roseate Tern Hiking Trail - If you’re around the Nelson Mandela Bay area, why not check out the Roseate Tern Hiking Trail in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve situated off Marine Drive. A firm favourite among hikers for good reason, the Roseate Tern Hiking Trail is a great way to connect with the environment and stay active. This 9km circular trail is an excellent way to do some bird-watching while hikers of all skill levels will enjoy the walk by and over unspoilt beaches, an old lighthouse, dune vegetation and rocky outcrops. Clearly marked, the trail is much more about observing the beauty of the location than navigating a course so walk on and enjoy.

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

SEE: Wild Coast: The ultimate 5-day hiking guide

More than just grassy plains, grain farms, mielielande and gold mines - the Free State is also the home of some of South Africa’s best, easy day-hikes:

  • Check out the Mushroom Hike in Clarens. Located on the grounds of St Fort Country House, the Mushroom Hike is one of four trails to be explored. The picturesque country house is surrounded by the different tracks, each of which leads up the surrounding sandstone hills. Each of the tracks varies in physical difficulty so no matter your fitness level, your needs are catered to. The Mushroom Hike comes highly recommended with the relatively short path taking hikers past mielie fields, along a willow-filled river towards a ladder taking you to the unusually shaped rock from which the trail derives its name. 

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

Steeped in history, with varied and dramatic landscapes from mountains to the subtropical forest - KwaZulu-Natal is stacked with amazing places to explore:

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  • Rainbow Gorge is a relatively easy 6km walk into one of the lushest areas of the Drakensberg mountain range - the Cathedral Peak. This trail takes you along the Ndumeni River as it winds through forest and takes you into a gorge where you encounter rock pools and waterfalls. The name of this trail is derived from the rainbows that can be seen in certain, specific positions as the sunlight mixes with the misty spray that is thrown up by water falling down the sides of the kloof. With picturesque views aplenty and an easy-to-moderate hike, Rainbow Gorge is the perfect way to spend some time this long weekend. 

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

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  • Take a walk into the history of the area with the Injisuthi Battle Cave walk. Located in the central Drakensberg, this is one of the best introductions to hiking in the area. As you embark on this walk through this mountain wilderness, you will walk across and alongside the Injisuthi and Mbovaneni Rivers as you head to your destination - Battle Cave. It is nearly impossible to miss the cave, which is a massive sandstone overhang fenced off from uncontrolled public access. The cave itself is what makes this hike so spectacular as it is filled with rock paintings of eland, rhino and human-animal hybrid creatures. The most spectacular painting shows what seems to be a battle between humans with an archer at the ready, am axe-wielding figure and arrows flying about. This is definitely a great, easy walk to take in the natural and cultural wealth of South Africa. Be sure to book ahead of time as control to the cave is strictly controlled. 

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

If you find yourself in the North West province this long weekend, head on over to the Magaliesberg and get exploring:

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  • Take a leisurely, easy hike through the Kranskloof Trail in Magaliesberg. This area offers family-friendly (including four-legged members) trails with options that allow you to enjoy a perfect combination of challenge and ease leaving you feeling fulfilled without feeling worn out. With streams squeezed in between mountains, the Kranskloof Hiking Trail is a great way to spend your long weekend in the North West.

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link.

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Divided by the Drakensberg Escarpment into the Highveld and Lowveld with their corresponding habitats and geographical peculiarities - Mpumalanga is much more than just the bush. Get your hiking fix this long weekend in Mpumalanga:

  • Check out the ever-popular Buffalo Gorge in Middleburg. With 6 different routes on offer, Buffalo Gorge is a veritable hiker’s paradise irrespective of fitness level. Beginners and those looking for an easy hike should try the Blue Trail. The hike takes you through indigenous forest and dramatic rock formations before you cross several streams and reach a savannah area. This forested kloof with waterfalls is a great way to learn about the natural habitat of the area while taking a fulfilling sojourn through nature this long weekend.

For information regarding permits, costs, directions and more - follow this link