With the weather cooling and winter just around the corner, it’s time to unpack your long sleeves and start planning some autumn activities.
Autumn is an ideal time to go hiking , as it isn’t too hot to be doing exercise outdoors and the changing autumn landscape makes for fascinating scenery. Have a look at this list of some of the best hiking trails around S.A for your next hiking trip!
1. The Otter Trail in the Eastern Cape
The Otter Trail is a challenging hike, not for the unfit, but rewards the hiker with one of the most scenically beautiful trails in the country. It boasts rivers, tidal pools, rocky cliffs and the opportunity to sight bottle-nosed dolphins in the ocean. It is 42.5 kms long, and will take four to five days to complete.
2. Skeleton Gorge in Kirstenbosch Gardens
Skeleton Gorge is arguably the most adventurous trail within the Kirstenbosch grounds. It starts off from the Fragrance Garden and follows Skeleton Stream up Table Mountain. The climb up is steep and can be nerve-wracking but the reward of being atop the mountain is priceless! It takes about 6 hours to complete this hike.
3. Boesmanskloof in McGregror
The Boesmanskloof trail falls between Greyton and McGregor, winding through the Riviersonderend Mountains. It is a challenging hike, requiring a permit from CapeNature. The hike is roughly 15km, and can be done in one day one way or from one town to the other and back again, in about two days.
4. Klipspringer in the Northern Cape.
The Klipspringer trail is just less than 40 km long, and generally takes two to three days to complete. This trail affords you the opportunity to experience the geology, flora, and fauna of the Augrabies Falls National Park in an entirely unique way. The hike is fairly demanding, and requires some pre-planning.
5. Lions Head, Cape Town
A hike up Lion’s Head is a popular Cape Town activity and takes just three hours. The route starts at Signal Hill Road, and spirals around the head to a section with chains – there to assist hikers with the ascent to the summit. Lions Head is also a popular spot for full-moon hikes, where hikers can experience breath-taking views of the city by night.
6. Sentinel Peak in the Drakensberg
The rocky Drakensberg mountain range makes for a well-rounded hiking experience for both beginners and expert hikers. The Sentinel Peak trail is just 6km long and takes five hours to walk from the starting point at Witsieshoek and back again.
7. Waterbuck nature trail in the Hans Merensky Nature Reserve
The Hans Merensky Nature Reserve just outside of Tzaneen is a perfect place to hike, with its backdrop of red bush-willow woodland, riverine forest and the Great Letaba River. As an added bonus, hikers can expect to espy waterbuck and sable antelope as well as other Lowveld mammals, while they go.
8. Strandloper trail, Eastern Cape
The Strandloper Trail is 57 km in total and takes about 4 days to finish. It can be walked at any time of year, though April and May are particularly enjoyable as the days tend to be warm and windless. The whole trail is well sign-posted and there are braai spots, water and ablution facilities at various intervals.
9. Wartrail Skywalk in Rhodes
The Wartrail Skywalk is one of the highest slackpacking hikes in South Africa, reaching a maximum altitude of 2850 metres. The hike takes 4 – 5 days to complete and is based in the remote farming district of Wartrail, right on the Lesotho border. Hikers can look forward to rugged peaks, waterfalls and interesting sandstone rock formations.
10. Elephant’s Eye in the Silvermine Nature Reserve
The Silvermine reserve is housed in the central section of the Table Mountain National Park and is known to have some of the best hiking in Cape Town. The hike up to Elephant’s Eye is a favourite, and takes about two hours. The walk itself is fairly easy-going – all the better to appreciate the gorgeous fynbos landscapes. Children will even be able to join in on this one, and for those who are brave enough, a swim in the dam at the end of the walk is the perfect way to finish off the day.