Fanie Botha Hiking Trail

Sabie, Mpumalanga


To many people, the name Fanie Botha is Synonymous with the establishment of organized hiking trails in South Africa. The trail was the first part of what was meant to be a whole network of trails stretching from the Soutpansberg in the North down the eastern escarpment to the Cape, the National Hiking Way System.

Much of the original trail lead the hiker along forestry roads. This has, to a large extent been changed to incorporate more areas of indigenous forest.

The whole trail is five days long although there are two and three day shorter options available.

Map of the trail (Click on the map to see an enlargement)

     

The Fanie Botha Trail begins with a 500m walk from the car parking area at Ceylon Forest station to Ceylon Hut. Ceylon Hut has electricity, bunk beds and mattresses, under-cover Braai area with wood supplied, flush toilets and cold shower.

 
Ceylon Hut Ceylon Braai Area
     
Maritzbos Hut
 

Ceylon Hut to Maritzbos Hut 8,7Km

After a relaxing evening spent around the fire and a good night's sleep, it is time to shoulder your backpacks for the relatively easy first leg of the trail. The trail winds its way through plantations and passes the beautiful Lone Creek Falls as it makes its way to Maritzbos Hut. The hut has bunk beds with mattresses, toilet and cold showers and an under cover braai area with firewood supplied.

Trail Options

From Maritzbos it is possible to take a 9km path that will take you back to Ceylon Hut. This is ideal for hikers looking for a relatively easy weekend hike.

     

Maritzbos Hut to Stables Hut 12Km

The second day of the 5 day trail is 12km long and starts of with quite a steep climb through indigenous forest, crossing streams, passing small waterfalls and climbing up rocky cliffs until Hartebeestvlakte is reached. The trail then follows a mountain stream with pools and waterfalls before descending through Pine plantation to Stables Hut. Stables hut offers the same facilities as found at Maritzbos Hut.

 

 
Stables Hut

Trail Options

From Stables Hut there is a 15Km route back to Ceylon Hut, giving the hiker the option of a three day trail. It is also possible to walk directly from the car parking at Ceylon Plantation office to Maritzbos Hut making this a two night trail.

     

Mac Mac Hut

 

Stables Hut to Mac Mac Hut 16.4Km

From Stables Hut the trail follows the edge of Pine plantations as it winds its way up to Mount Moodie. From here one has the opportunity of admiring the marvelous vista of the Sabie Valley. From this vantage point the trail descends to Mac Mac Hut. There is no shower at Mac Mac Hut.

Trail Options

From Mac Mac Hut there is the option of finishing the trail at Graskop, thereby making the trail a four night trail.

     

Mac Mac Hut to Graskop Hut 22,3Km/11Km

There are two options for this day of the five day trail. One route follows the escarpment via the Mac Mac Pools which is 22,3Km while a shorter route of 11Km takes the hiker to Graskop via "The Bonnet". Graskop is also a beginning and ending point option.

 
Graskop Hut

Trail Option

From Graskop Hut there is a two day option which takes the hiker to President Burger Hut and back. The first day is 23Km long and the second day is 16Km long.

     
President Burger Hut
 

Graskop Hut to President Burger Hut

The final leg of the trail takes the hiker to President Burger hut which is close to Mac Mac Forest Station, the ending point of the five day Fanie Botha Hiking Trail. It needs to be remembered that the five day trail is an open ended trail and provision need to be made to return to Ceylon and the cars.

Conclusion

The Fanie Botha Hiking trail is still regarded as one of the best trails in the country. The scenery is breathtaking. There are, however, some fairly strenuous sections to be negotiated and in summer heat can be a problem. Komatiland Forestry have upgraded this trail and it is well worth a visit.

Accredited by the Southern Africa Trail Owners Association

Bookings

Komatiland Forests (Pty) Limited (a subsidiary of SAFCOL)

Telephone +27 (0)13 754 2724  Fax +27 (0)13 754 2790

e-mail ecotour@klf.co.za

or

Jacana Travel Marketing and Reservations

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Telephone  0861Jacana (0861 522262)

Direct phone: Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439

Pretoria: 012 803 9109

Direct fax: PE 041 378 2548

Pretoria: 012 803 4144

 PE e-mail  bookings@jacanacollection.co.za

Pretoria e-mail: rosa@jacanacollection.co.za

 


Footprint Hiking Club

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