Hanglip Hiking Trail

Hanglip Forest Station, Makhado (Louis Trichardt), Limpopo Province


The Hanglip Hiking Trail is a beautiful trail, especially since sections of it have now been rerouted to take in more indigenous forest. The facilities have also been upgraded to provide for the needs of the hiker. More improvements are planned for the months ahead in line with Komatiland Forestry's commitment to ecotourism.

Some of us older hikers will remember the old Soutpansberg Hiking trail in the days when it was established as a five day backpack trail which stretched from Hanglip over to Ou Entabeni Hut. It then formed part of the National Hiking Way Board system that was intended to link the Soutpansberg with the mountains of the Cape. However, the plans of the then government never materialized and first the middle section of the trail was closed and then more recently the eastern section was closed due to widespread fire damage. This left Hanglip as the only part of the Soutpansberg trail for a number of years until the recent reopening of the Entabeni section.

     

Older hikers will remember that, on arrival at the forest station, there  was an awkward little hike to be made to the basecamp. This no longer applies as one of the former offices at the forest station has been converted into the basecamp. Hot showers, flush toilets and comfortable beds are provided.

 
The Office Soutpansberg Hut
     
 

The first part of the trail involves a steep climb up through indigenous forest along a well marked path. Some interesting fungi are to be found along the route along with examples of such trees as the Knobthorn.

     

The trail is well constructed and there is little erosion to be seen along the route especially as large sections of the trail have been in use for many years.

On the ascent the trail passes two large rock overhangs that make ideal places to stop for tea.

 
Much hard work has gone into the trail Time for Tea
     
Robin dresses up as an Ent
Ladder to the top
 

The forest is such that fans of Tolkien might be excused for thinking that they might be in Mirkwood or one of the forests featured in the 'Lord of the Rings'.

     

From the top the views are stunning. After reaching the top the trail undulates across rocky outcrops and through more indigenous forest until eventually after 13Km the overnight hut is reached.

 
     
 

Situated under the shadow of Hanglip, the hut is in the process of being renovated and re-equipped. Comfortable beds and flush toilets are provided.

     

A unique feature of Hanglip hut is the centrally situated braai/fireplace. Ample wood is provided.

 
     
 

From the hut we relaxed and observed a beautiful rainbow followed by an equally stunning sunset.

     

Reluctantly, the following morning, we said goodbye to Hanglip Hut and began our descent back down to basecamp. The walk is 7.2Km and is much easier than the first day.

 

Conclusion

This is a trail that is well worth doing. Consideration should be made to doing Hanglip in conjunction with Entabeni, thus making the journey more worthwhile especially as the tolls en route are quite high. During summer, the weather can be very hot and shortage of water along the trail can be a problem. Take a minimum of 2 litres but preferably more.

 

Bookings

Bookings for the Hanglip Hiking Trail should be made through

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

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

e-mail ecotour@safcol.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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