Hiking fans never seem to get enough of it. Understandably! Besides keeping one fit, hiking is a wonderful way to explore the great outdoors. “Where next?” they’re always asking. “Where else can we go hiking that we’ve never hiked before?” In South Africa, of course, there’s no shortage of choice, but the places that are most popular are famous for good reason.
Sure to be near the top of everybody’s list of THE places to go hiking are the Drakensberg Mountains and Lesotho border via the Sani Pass – a nature lover’s paradise also renowned for its San rock paintings, bird watching and more. Also right up there is the spectacular Wild Coast of the Transkei. Both places that the Major Adventure Tour Camp can guide you through, with the Maluti Cave Hiking Trail a special opportunity itself among the many Drakensberg options.
The Hodge Podge Backpackers Lodge is a convenient base from which to explore the Magalies Mountain Range in the vicinity of Rustenberg, and Komatieland Eco Tourism in the Nelspruit area of Mpumalanga is a paradise of day trails and overnight hiking options – Lakenvlei Forest Lodge and Entavhine Kliphuis Guesthouse among the places to stay in and around the Sabie and Mac Mac river valleys.
The Oudemuragie Guest Farm at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains near De Rust features hiking trails that meander up the mountainside and across the many perennial streams.
The Misty Mountain Reserve outside Plettenberg Bay has some lovely scenic walks of its own, but moreover it’s an ideal place to stay before or after taking on the Dolphin Hiking Trail along the spectacular mountainous coastline and indigenous forests of the Tsitsikama region.
And down south, Montagu has to be on everybody’s ‘to do’ list when it comes to hiking. From the Aasvoëlkrans Bed and Breakfast outfit, for example, there are countless walking options over and above the rock climbing attractions for which the area is particularly famous.
Further south and rarely visited by most people, is the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve between Elgin and Somerset West. Accessed via a 4×4 to get you deep into the fynbos areas before you begin your hiking, the reserve boasts breath-taking views along routes that involve one- to three-hour walks to the Gantouw and Eland Pass, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and Sneeukop. An outfit called Nature Discovery can provide all of the necessaries.