Tepelkop Hiking Trails

Slabberts, Near Bethlehem, Free State


I first visited Tepelkop about 10 years ago and remember not being very impressed with it. I remember an atrocious road leading up to a dark and damp base camp and a trail that was overgrown and not very inspiring.

Well, the good news for hiker is that that has all changed! A new owner took over the farm in 2003 and has spent a lot of money and time in changing things for the better. New accommodation and two revised trail routes go to make this one of the best weekend day route trails around.

GPS Co-ordinates

Turn off R26 to Slabberts:S28 26.255 E28 11.782

Base Camp: S28 26.975 E28 04.054

Top of Tepelkop: S28 26.078 E28 04.726

         
 

An idyllic situation awaits the hiker. From the hiker's hut which is situated next to the owners house, beautiful vistas unfold of the surrounding hills.

 
View from the hikers hut
The lounge and Kitchen The hiker's hut
 
         
 
One of the dorms One of the bathrooms
The owners house Outlook from the owners house
 

The accommodation is better equipped than most. The kitchen is fully equipped with crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, electric kettle and has a microwave oven. Ablutions include hot showers flushing toilets and hand basins. The beds have thick comfortable mattresses. There are electric lights and plugs. Outside there is an undercover braai. Supply your own wood or charcoal.

 
         
 

The first day of the trail is 12km long and starts off with a short walk through pasture land until the foot of the mountains are reached. A steep climb up the side of Tepelkop follows with panoramic views back across the valley.

 
Spectacular views
 
         
 
View on the way up Tepelkop Vingerpol succulent
 

The trail actually fails to reach the top of Tepelkop but it is certainly worth the additional scramble up to the base of the krans. There are ways up through the krans to the top for those with a sense of adventure and a little knowledge of rock climbing. On Tepelkop you will find fine examples of the Vingerpol succulent.

 
         
 

From Tepelkop the trail evens out and follows a contour path for some distance. For the fit hiker, here again is the opportunity to deviate from from the trail and make the ascent to the summit of the mountains.

 
Tepelkop The beautiful views of the surrounding mountains
Some of the peaks just need to be climbed
 
         
 
The beginning of the descent
 

The trail passes a flat area of sandstone that offers beautiful views of distant mountains.

 
         
  The trail eventually begins it's descent but there are still a few surprises for the hiker. The trail follows the base of the rock krans for some distance with some beautiful rock overhangs and formations. Just before the final descent there is a beautiful waterfall grotto to be seen.  
The Grotto
 
         
 
The start of the second day View of the mountains before the climb
View after the climb Under a rock overhang
 

The pamphlet mentions the distance of the second day as being 8km but I would say that it is closer to 10. It took our group about 5 hours to accomplish. It is certainly a worthwhile trail to do and in fact is comparable to the first day. It is different from the first day though but just as rugged.

 
         
 

There are some lovely patches of indigenous bush and some interesting rock formations.

 

Looking up the rock krans

Lovely indigenous bush and rocks
The way ahead
 
         
 
 

More spectacular views and rock overhangs

 
         
 

Eventually the path leads the hiker up through a kloof to the top.

 
 
         
 
 

The gorge is quite steep in places but is totally different and unexpected. A small stream has cut a deep cleft in the sandstone rocks. Once at the top there are some lovely views to see. The rest of the trail consist of a gradual climb to the highest point followed by a steep descent to the plains below. After crossing  a stream in three places the trail eventually returns the hiker to base camp.

 
         
   
A short break at the top

All that is left is a steep descent and a short walk back to camp

   

Conclusion

A lovely weekend trail and suitable for anyone with some degree of fitness. The area can get very hot during summer and very cold during winter. The accommodation is above average, clean and well planned. The trails, when we did them in April 2006 were well marked and maintained.

To book this excellent trail contact

 

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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