If you were planning a Whale Trail hike this year, you're going to have to reschedule.
CapeNature announced that it will be upgrading the popular multi-day hiking route for the whole of 2019, aiming to reopen in 2020. Originally the trail was only going to be closed for maintenance from January to April, but instead the conservation authority decided to implement various upgrades to ensure their sustainable tourism standards are met.
LISTEN: Take a Hike: The podcast series for hiking and adventure enthusiasts
Here are some of the expected upgrades hikers can look forward to:
- Provision of overnight lapas.
- Improved user-friendly and safe route to Stilgat for snorkelling and swimming in the hot seasons.
- Cottages will be solar-powered.
- There will be filtered water in the huts.
"Our number one priority remains providing the highest level of comfort and hospitality to our guests and the only way to ensure that in the future is to close down the entire trail to accommodate the necessary maintenance and construction work. We thank you for understanding," says CapeNature in their statement.
READ: From sand dunes to fynbos, veld and vlei: The rapidly changing landscape of De Hoop
If your feet are feeling a little too itchy to wait until 2020, there are four other multi-day hiking trails in the Western Cape to try out.
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area
Up in the Langeberg Mountains and part of Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area has 64kms of routes to choose from for hiking with basic overnight huts.
The most popular one is a circular two-day route of 27km that goes up to Loerklip and back down through Saagkuilkloof. You have to make advance reservations and only 12 people are allowed in the area per day.
The Swellendam Hiking Trail
This trail has been closed for maintenance until 1 April, so it's the perfect time to take on this beautiful meander through forests past waterfalls and rock pools.
You can start in Marloth Nature Reserve and choose various routes between two and six days in length. There are five overnight huts and the trail should only be attempted by experienced, fit hikers.
CHECK OUT: Tour de Braai: A 5-day gravel ride from George to Swellendam
The Boland Hiking Trail
You can explore the mountains of Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve with this moderate hiking route that can be done in various combinations, all starting and ending at the reserve's Nuweberg offices.
You can either opt for the Sphinx Route up to Landroskop or Shamrock Lodge and back again with the Palmiet Trail or check out the Orchard Route up to Boesmanskloof or Aloe Ridge and back the same way.
The Cederberg Wilderness Area
The Cederberg doesn't only offer scenic natural splendour - it also offers a glimpse into our past along its 100-km Heritage Route.
There are four overnight guided walking trails to choose from, or you can take on the whole route over five days where you'll stay in bed and breakfasts or in community-based 'homestays'. Please note that the area is still recovering from recent fires.
WATCH: Explore the wonders and secrets of Cederberg
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