5 Amazing Hiking Trails in South Africa
September 25, 2015
South Africa offers a huge number of trekking opportunities and boasts some of the most exquisite multi-day hiking trails around. Let's take a look at the five of the most amazing hiking trails one can visit in South Africa.
1. The Otter Trail
Photo by Dave Lonsdale, CC BY 2.0
Perhaps the most famous hiking trail in South Africa, the Otter Trail meanders through a scenic coastal route that transverses several rocky and forested sections. The trail stretches 41 kilometres from the Storms River Mouth located in the Eastern Cape to the picturesque surroundings of the place aptly named Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape. The hike spans 5 days and hikers overnight in some amazingly located huts that offer some of the best views of the surrounding coastal scenery.
2. Kruger Wilderness Trail
Photo by Herman Pretorius, CC BY-SA 2.0
A visit to Africa is totally incomplete without experiencing the great outdoors and the abundant wildlife. One such hiking trail that offers views of the African wilderness along with several rare animal species, is the Kruger Wilderness Trail. This 5-day trail takes the adventurers through various open, forest and grassland habitats which are home to some of the most exotic animal and plant species. The trek starts in a luxury hut that is located in a scenic open forest region of the Balule Nature Reserve and is aimed at enhancing the bush knowledge of the hikers. The walking safari also provides a chance at spotting animals like the Hippo, Giraffe, Lion and Cheetah in their natural habitat.
3. Drakensberg Grand Traverse
As the title implies, the Grand Traverse is one of the longest hiking trails in South Africa. Requiring a minimum of 7 days for a strong hiker to complete this 220 kilometre long trek is considered to be one of the most challenging of all the hikes in Africa. The undulates through some extremely rugged yet picturesque landscapes and offers some incredible views of the Drakensberg Mountains. Interestingly, there is no set trail for this trek and routes can be chosen by the travellers according to their ability. The checkpoints located at the most prominent peaks helps traveller's to orientate themselves. All the checkpoints must be completed in order to complete the hike.
4. De Hoop Whale Trail
Photo by Gossipguy, CC BY-SA 3.0
Located in what is the largest nature reserve managed by the Cape Nature organisation, De Hoop Whale Trail is one of the most enchanting and scenic hikes in South Africa. If you love the outdoors and want to experience a view of some of the best stretches of coastline in the world, then you'll love De Hoop Whale Trail. The 55 kilometre trail stretches from Potberg and ends in Koppie Alleen and takes around 4-5 days to complete.
5. Hoerikwaggo Trail
Photo by warrenski, CC BY-SA 2.0
Starting from Cape point and ending in the Western Table of the Table Mountain National Park, the Hoerikwaggo Trail takes around 4 days and 5 nights to complete. The name, ‘Hoerikwaggo’ comes from the local name for Table Mountain and translates to ‘the Mountain in the Sea’. The trail is well marked and is suitable for both amateurs and seasoned hikers. However, the routes can get confusing during bad weather and is therefore preferred by the more ardent trekkers.
With hundreds of trails and scenic routes, South Africa is indeed the hiking capital of the world. The cliffs, the mountains, the wildlife, the nature reserves and the abundant and fascinating marine life, all are a part of the various trails on offer in South Africa. If you’re an adventure lover, make sure you visit the above hiking hotspots to experience the best of the South African outdoors.
Rohit is a traveller and an adventurer. He has visited several locations around the world and in India and likes to share his travel stories in various blogs and websites such as Transindiatravels.com and others.