Slagthoek Hiking Trail (Day Walks)

Olifants Gorge Hiking Trail (Backpacking Trail)

Middelburg, Mpumalanga


It is difficult to believe the spectacular beauty that is hidden away just of the main thoroughfares of our land. The Olifants River Gorge is just one such area. It is situated between Witbank, Middelburg and Loskop Dam. The trails have been laid out to fully explore this natural beauty and are short enough to allow hikers to take their time and enjoy this very special place. The accommodation is also comfortable and comprises of an old thatched farmhouse.

A two and three day backpack option is also available, overnighting at Grootdraai and Kingdom camps. It is also possible to start your trail from Kingdom (see www.footprint.co.za/kingdom.htm )

         
  Accommodation

Slagthoek basecamp consists of an old thatched farmhouse reached by way of 18km sand road. Under normal conditions this is passable by town car. There is a kitchen with fridge and gas stove. Hot water for the shower is provided by way of a donkey boiler which the attendant looks after. The lounge has easy chairs and some reading material. Lighting is by way of paraffin lamps. Outside there is a braai with grid. Wood is supplied at a charge. There is a padlock on a gate along the road, so make sure that you have the combination number.

 

 

 
 
 

Gods' Window Trail

This trail is 12km long and for the most part of it can be considered easy. The trail follows the edge of the escarpment offering spectacular views of the Olifants river gorge. There are several places along the route that can used for a tea break or just to relax and take in the breathtaking views.

 
         
  The trail eventually leaves the mountain tops and begins its descent through prime woodland with fine examples of Stamvrug, Boekenhout and several species of Combretum.  
 
         
 

A rest before the final climb of the day

 

The last section of the trail takes the hiker up along a narrow wooded kloof. There is quite a bit of boulder hopping. Take it easy as you only have about 2km to go to the hut.

 
         
 

Cycad Trail

This trail is 11km in length and can be walked in about 3 hours. The trail follows a farm road for some distance before entering a beautiful rocky gorge. The trail follows this gorge for a while and there is plenty of rock hopping along the way. In summer months the rock pools present swimming opportunities not to be missed.

 

 

 
         
 
 

The trail eventually turns aside from the main river bed and climbs steeply up a hillside with fine examples of Cycads. Once the top is reached, the trail goes through open grassland before visiting two stunning view sites on its way back to camp.

 

Conclusion

A really stunning weekend of walking. For the hiker looking for a more strenuous hike, the trails link into the Olifants Gorge and Kingdom network. Backpackers are also catered for with options of two or three day routes via Grootdraai and Kingdom camps. For those that enjoy swimming these trails will be thoroughly enjoyed. The trails are well maintained and marked.

Bookings

Bookings for the trails should be made through

Anvie Ventures

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Telephone +27 12 662 0586/1140

e-mail anvie@xsinet.co.za

 


Footprint Hiking Club

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