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Rooi-Ivoor Hiking Trail

(Rooi Ivoor is the Afrikaans name for the Red Ivory tree that grows in the area. Its botanical name is Berchemia Zeyheri. It is well shaped tree which grows up to 10m in height. It occurs at medium to low altitude, in open woodland, often on termite mounds, on rocky ridges and along watercourses. It has a striking and unusual pink heartwood)


The Rooi-Ivoor group of hiking trails are on a farm close to the Mpumalanga town of Steelpoort. The area is rich in deposits of Chrome and Vanadium and has several mines in the area. The farm has an area of 6000ha and includes several beautiful mountain streams and some stunning views. There is, at present, two overnight backpack routes plus three day routes from the Molope Basecamp.

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The hikers accommodation at the Molope Basecamp is really very nice and certainly better than most provided by trail owners.

The facilities include gas stove and hot showers.

I wandered along a trail still new,

across mountain streams, that appear so blue,

looking in the distance at mountains so high,

with Rock Fig and Moepel for shade from the sky,

all my thoughts and peace in my mind,

still remember Rooi-Ivoor in Steelpoort so fine.

Tim Hartwright

The First overnight backpack Trail- Molope to Stamvrug Hut and back

Each day of the backpack trial has been given a separate name. The first day, which leads from Molope Basecamp to Stamvrug camp is named after the Moepel tree(Mimusops Zeyheri) or Transvaal Red Milkwood.

 

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The Moepel trail is 13,4Km long. It takes the hiker along a mountain stream, crossing it in several places, before ascending a tyre ladder consisting of more than 200 tyres. Along the way there are some fine examples of Rock Figs.

The first part of the trail has an abundance of water with several pools suitable for swimming in.

The trail has been well constructed by the owner who has spend many hours ensuring the enjoyment of the hiker.

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Lovely rock pools Well constructed trail
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Some more lovely swimming pools.

The trail eventually leaves the stream behind and heads for the mountains. A tyre ladder of 200 tyres awaits the hiker in his quest to reach the top.

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Once the top of the tyre ladder is reached, it is a short walk to the ridge and a path that affords beautiful views of the valley below.

The overnight facilities at the Stamvrug overnight camp are also excellent. The owner has provided hot showers and flushing toilets. There is also a large veranda area, ideal for hikers to sleep under on hot summer nights.

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View from Stamvrug hut Stamvrug Hut
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Braai facilities at Stamvrug hut
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The second day of the overnight trail is called the Morlothii Trail and is named after a large species of Aloe found in the area.

The Morlothii trail is 6,4Km long and returns the hiker to the Molope Basecamp. The trail has several contrasts to Moepel trail and emphasizes the richness and diversity of the area. The flora tends to be lusher with several waterfalls to admire.

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Old Initiation rites mount Some lovely waterfalls
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Some nice water features Taking it easy near a waterfall
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Up in the air and down to earth? Some lovely rock features

The trail is relatively easy and there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beauty of what lies hidden in this area of our beautiful country.

There are also three short birding trails from Molope camp, the Blou Visvanger (3,3Km), the Bergkwikkie (3,6Km) and the Swarthelmlaksman (3,5Km). There is also the Donkerwangbossanger birding trail (2,3Km) from the Stamvrug camp. At the Rooi-ivoor camp there are two bird watching trails- The Honeyguide trail (2,1Km) and the Cape Bates (3,3Km)

The second overnight backpack trail - Molope to Suikerbos Hut and back

Trail now closed

     

The  trail from Molope Camp to Suikerbos Hut is 11,8Km and is known as the Bosloerie Trail. The route takes the hiker up a beautiful Kloof and across bridges.

 
     
 

The vegetation in the kloof is very lush with many fine examples of trees and ferns.

     

There is also a chain or two to help the hiker negotiate tricky areas.

 
     
 

There is also opportunities for swimming along the way.

     

Suikerbos Hut is situated at the foot Schuringsburg - one of the highest points in Mpumalanga. Three kinds of Protea grow here, namely the Common Sugar Bush (Protea Caffra), the Silver Sugar Bush (Protea Roupelliae) and the Cluster-Head Sugar Bush (Protea Welwitschii). The Scarlet chested Sunbird is endemic to the area and with Buffstreaked Chat, can be seen here in numbers.

The hut accommodates up to 30 hikers and has a Chemical toilet, hot showers, gas fridge, two plate stove, pots, pans and kettle. No electricity. Under cover braai facilities.

 
     
 

The return route to Molope is 11,4Km and is known as the Bobbejaanstert Trail. Reach the area of the big trees at the bottom of the mountain and be amazed at their size! The trees are the Red Leaved Fig (Ficus Ingens) and the Mountain Fig (Ficus Glumosa), the largest known of its kind in South Africa.

Rooi Ivoor Eco Tourism PDF

(click here to read a description of this unique place)

 

Conclusion

The Rooi Ivoor Trails offer a the hiker a high standard in facilities and trails which some other owners could take note of. They are certainly worth doing and sure to become favourites among the hiking and birding fraternity.

'In a Nutshell'

Distance from nearest town About 300km from Gauteng
Access road status Gravel road can be hazardous and rutted after heavy rains
Trail type Overnight backpack trail. Day trails from the basecamp also available. 4x4 trail
Difficulty Moderate to difficult
Marking When evaluated the trail was well marked
GPS Co-ordinates Turnoff Steelpoort Lydenburg road onto gravel road S24 47.197 E30 17.971

Molope camp - S24 49.281 E30 17.447

Cell phone reception  No
Facilities Well maintained

 

The Rooi Ivoor group of trails can be booked through

Anvie Ventures

Tel +27 12 662 0586/1140 or e-mail anvie@xsinet.co.za


Footprint Hiking Club

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