Eastern Cape Hiking and Walking Trails
The Otter Trail
Undoubtedly the best known and most popular of the South African hiking trails, the Otter trail must rank alongside the best trails in the world. The trail follows the spectacular Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. The trail is 42,5kms long and takes 4 1/2 days to complete. It follows the rugged, rocky shoreline ranging in elevation from sea level to a height of more than 150m. Most of the trail follows cliff tops returning to sea level to cross rivers. On arrival at Storms River Mouth the hiker reports to the park reception which is situated close to the park entrance. Here one books in and settles the conservation levy before seeing a video presentation on the trail.
+27 12 426 5111
For two magical days you can now hike the magnificent Tsitsikamma Coast with no heavy backpack, and spend three nights in comfort at different accommodation venues! This unique trail has been made possible by the formation of a partnership between South African National Parks, and two private sector partners, namely The Fernery and Misty Mountain Reserve. The result is a hiking experience that will both challenge and pamper you. The trail covers a distance of 17km starting in the unrivalled beauty of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) – Tsitsikamma Section at Storms River Mouth, and winds its way eastwards through natural fynbos and pristine indigenous forest, over rugged rocks at the waters edge, to end on the banks of the Sandrift River at The Fernery. Hikers have stunning views of the rugged Tsitsikamma coastline, and the chances of spotting whales, dolphins and the occasional otter are good. On route, many birds including the gorgeous Knysna Loerie can be heard and spotted while hiking through the forest, and the endangered Oystercatcher is often to be seen on the shoreline. Swimming and snorkelling in the rock pools is possible at the discretion of the guides.
+27 42 2803699
The Tsitsikamma Trail is southern Cape hiking paradise, journeying through extensive indigenous afromontane forest and mountain fynbos. Ancient river gorges and abundant rivers and streams continually remind us of the creative power of water and the origins of the word Tsitsikamma. This is an enchanted world where echoes of past giants such as elephant and buffalo can still be felt. Some of the finest specimens of South Africa’s national tree, the Outeniqua yellowwood, keep sentinel over the forest canopy while hikers clamber over their enormous roots beneath.
Beginning in Nature’s Valley and ending 60-km further at either the Storms River Bridge or Village, this six day, unidirectional trail takes hikers through the heart of the Tsitsikamma Mountains. Shorter variations (2,3,4 or 5 days) are possible as each of the five overnight huts has its own unique access route with safe parking at the start. Optional equipment porterage (slackpacking) now provides hikers with the chance of having all their equipment transported between overnight huts, allowing you the luxury of carrying only daypacks on each day’s journey. This makes the trail accessible to a wider range of people and provides all with more time for swimming, photography, birding and other activities usually limited by time or weight constraints.
+27 42 2811712
Sederkloof Hiking Trails
There are a number of beautiful hiking trails on Sederkloof Farm, and our guests are taken on guided walks on a daily basis. The hike up Sederkloof to the vary rare Cedar Trees (Widdringtonia Schwarzii) only found in the Baviaanskloof, is our most popular hike. Some trails take you steeply up to the mountain plateau and down again to the valley. Hike through different biomes (7 of South Africa’s 8 biomes are present in the general Baviaanskloof area), with spectacular views, amazing geological formations and regular sightings of gemsbok, kudu, klipspringer, black eagles, etc
Rietriver Sight Seeing Trail
Explore the vegetation, rock formations, fresh air, spring water in the real Baviaanskloof – Road 322. Hike 24km in four days in the foot hills of the Baviaanskloof Mountains. This trail is child friendly and ideally suited to families. Carry only daypacks – gear will be delivered to your campsites. This is a four day hike where you will spend 4 nights in 4 different caves from primitive (basic facilities) to fully equipped even with electricity. Meals and picnic baskets can be arranged. http://www.makkedaat.co.za/hikingtrail
+27 44 9341012 (day)
+27 44 9231921 (a/h between 7 and in 8 evenings)
Hartland 6 day Hiking Trail
This unique 6 day hiking trail traversing 12km per day is situated in the Baviaanskloof Hartland, a unique and isolated place captured between the Baviaanskloof and the Kouga mountains. The hike takes you on the main road over private land and into Parks board property. The region has a long-lasting cultural heritage and is famous for its prestige rock formations, rock art, bird life, indigenous plants like the endangered Willowmore Cedar and the endangered indigenous red fin minnow fish species Please note we can be reached by sedan vehicle. The Baviaanskloof Hartland hike makes use of five different guesthouse accommodations, and an overnight stay under the stars in a cave. Your breakfast and dinner is included in your stay. Your personal belongings will all be looked after and transported from one guesthouse to another. This means you only have to carry what you need for the day in your daypack. You have to make provision for your own lunch and drinks for each day.
+27 44 9341012 (day)
+27 44 9231921 (a/h between 7 and in 8 evenings)
Three picturesque fishing villages, a rugged coastline, sand dunes as far as the eye can see, a tidal river, protected fynbos, wetlands and a visit to South Africa’s only privately owned working harbour. These are the ingredients that make up the Chokka Trail, a slack packing hiking holiday through St Francis Bay, Port St Francis, Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay. The best possible opportunity to see and experience just how beautiful the area is on foot, at your own pace and with overnight accommodation at guesthouses. Hikers meet for the four day/three night route at the Cape St Francis Resort before they are transported to Oyster Bay, a holiday village about 20km to the west. A warm-up walk to Thysbaai kicks off the 62km hike, followed by traversing a dune field back to St Francis on day 2, and more coastal hiking on day 3 and 4. It includes a visit to a penguin rehabilitation centre, a calamari tasting and canal cruise.
+ 27 73 8250835
[email protected] or [email protected]
Wild Side Meander
A hard walk along the magnificent coastline between Cape St Francis and the village of Oyster Bay, situated in Slangbaai. Walk includes stretches of soft sandy beaches, rocky paths and some scrambling. Not for the very young/old. Essentials Good walking shoes, sunblock and a hat, your bathing costume and a small day pack to carry water/snacks. Length: Appr. 18km Duration: Appr. 7-8hrs Degree of Difficulty: Hard Additions If required, this hike can be extended to include a night stay-over at a bush camp on a game farm or atcottages in the village of Oyster Bay or at the Bat and the Boerboon on the Geelhoutrivier.
+27 42 298 0054
The Sacramento is a popular 8 km round trip coastal walk through the Schoenmakerskop-Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve and is accessed by traveling along Sardinia Bay Road. The area offers attractive seascapes, landscapes and, depending on the season, some remarkable displays of dune vegetation and wild flowers. At Schoenmakerskop, a bronze cannon points towards the wreck site of the Portuguese galleon, Sacramento, which foundered on 30 June 1647. The route continues past the Sacramento monument towards the far end of the sandy bay, aptly named Cannon Bay where the ruins of a mill, which used to crush seashells are located, and then on to the Sacramento Tea Room.
The Aloe trail comprises two trails: one of 2 km, marked with yellow arrows, and a longer one of 7 km (3 hours), marked with red arrows. Both start at a gate at the top of Tippers Creek Road, between Amsterdamhoek and Bluewater Bay. The trail takes a circular route via the escarpment overlooking Amsterdamhoek, returning through valley bushveld on the plateau. Amsterdamhoek is named after a Dutch man-of–war, the Amsterdam, which ran aground near the mouth of the Swartkops River on 16 December 1817. The walks are suitable for reasonably fit persons, who are advised to walk in a group, wear stout shoes and take a sunhat and drinking water. NO DOGS are allowed.
+27 41 5812109 0r +27 41 4660909
Alexandria Hiking Trail
Situated in the Woody Cape section of the Addo Elephant National Park, departing from the offices near Alexandria. Length: Approx 36 km two day circular route of which the first day is 19.5km and the second day is 16.5 km. Estimated duration: 2 days Suitable for: Those who want a challenging walk along the coastline. Hikers carry their own provisions and the hike is not guided.
Shipwreck Hiking Trail
OPTION 1 – Port Alfred to Fish River
Hike from Port Alfred East Beach all the way up the coast to Fish River. (Excluding the canoe trail) 5 Days and 4 Nights. – approx 57 km
OPTION 2 – Port Alfred to Fish River
Hike from Port Alfred East Beach all the way up the coast to Fish River with an extra night excursion where you canoe +/- 8km up the Kleinemonde West river and spend the night at Lily Pad hut. 6 Days and 5 Nights. – approx 65 km hike & 16 km canoe (return). There is a slack-packing option available for Options 1 & 2. All your gear & food will be dropped off at each hut every day, so that you can walk with day packs.
+27 82 3910647
Strandloper Hiking Trail
For the next four days you will join the ranks of the Strandlopers as you discover their world of wave washed shores, exquisite tidal pools, pristine estuaries, leafy forests and wild white sand dunes. Each section of the trail has been designed to reveal special aspects of our coastline so that you may capture a complete Strandloper experience. Groups of minimum 2 people and maximum 12 people can be accommodated at each overnight site. A comprehensive trail map is also available, giving details of the route and background on the cultural, geographical and natural history aspects of the trail. The trail caters for the young and the old, fauna and flora enthusiasts, fishermen, backpackers, in fact anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Hikers are requested to keep their permits on them at all times. No historical or archaeological treasures may be destroyed or removed. Hikers must be prepared for river crossings.
+27 83 2854773
Addo Mountain Hike
Guests will be driven up the Zuurberg Mountain Pass to a remote, pristine and lush forest section of the Addo Elephant National Park deep in the heart of the Zuurberg Mountains. From there they will have an Addo guided mountain hike through the Zuurberg Mountains where they will learn about some interesting plants whilst enjoying the beauty of the area within unspoilt nature. This hike is not recommended for the elderly. Drinks and snacks will be provided throughout the hike and at the bottom of the hike there is a lovely mountain pool to have a swim in. At the end of the hike guests have the option of buying a light lunch at the Zuurberg Mountain Inn before heading back down the mountain.
+27 83 330 0480
Bucklands Slackpacking Trail
Slack packing allows you, the guest, to walk and hike +- 26 km through a game reserve over 2 days with an experienced guide. Bucklands staff will take care of all food and meal preparations as well as the moving of your entire luggage to and from the different lodges. The only items you will need to carry with you would be a small back pack with water, binoculars, birding book, sunblock and a camera. We cater for groups of 4 to 8 guests sharing (if there are more than 4 walkers we will need to split up into 2 groups, each with their own guide during the hiking, so that there is little disturbance to the wildlife). We offer a three day slackpacking program but can tailor this to suit your needs and can also design a route to suit your level of fitness.
+27 72 7363 681
[email protected] or [email protected]
Time: 4 hours each way from Kompasberg Farm (8 hours return). The farmstead is an hour’s drive from Nieu-Bethesda Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. The route is exposed and poorly marked. There is no water on the mountain. The last hour is a scramble. Do not attempt in bad weather.
More information: Permission is needed from landowners. Get directions from the Karoo Lamb Restaurant. The Compassberg (2502m) is the highest peak in the Sneeuberg range and second highest in the Eastern Cape. From the farmstead, follow the jeep track to the foot of the mountain. Head straight up the gulley to a ledge from where cairns indicate the way to the summit. The vegetation along the climb is montane grassveld. There are 360° views of the Karoo from the summit. Apparently during the Anglo Boer War the heliograph world record was set here by British troops who managed to send a message to the Cockscomb mountain near the coast.
+27 49 8411642
Ganora Hiking Trail
A lovely canyon walk while watching the eagles fly above you is the ideal way to relieve your stress. To cool off you can swim in the Karoo pools en-route. Picnic baskets are also available on request. The canyon walk is something really special which you can experience by following the trail from our farm to our neighbour. In the canyon you will find rock pools to swim in, depending on the water levels. The canyon has its own pair of Black Eagles. The owners of Ganora are willing to take your vehicle around to the end point and the walk should not take you more than 3 hours from our homestead. Some people like to just spend most of the day in the canyon and return to Ganora.
+ 27 49 841 1302 or +27 82 698 0029
Mpfou 3 Day Hike
Mountain Zebra National Park. This 25-kilometre, three-day trail takes in some of the highlights of the 28 000-hectare Park including Bakenkop, the Park’s highest peak. The first day’s hike meanders through grassland and mountain shrubland, passing the famous Big Rock. Day two is a mountain grassland experience with a chance of spotting herds of eland and mountain reedbuck. The final leg of the hike passes through riverine thicket, ending at the restcamp. Two mountain cottages provide the overnight stop for hikers in secluded and scenic areas of the Park. Minimum of four and maximum of 10 people. 12 years – 65 years. Guests undertaking these hikes need to have a moderate to high level of fitness. Neutral clothing (not white or black) and good walking shoes required. Carry own bedding and food. Moderate level of fitness required.
+27 48 8812211
Mountain Zebra National Park. Ascend Salpeterkop for a magnificent view over the Park and a rare view of an Anglo-Boer War relic. Time: Summer 05h00 – 08h00; Winter: 07h00 – 10h00. Minimum of two and maximum of nine people. 12 years – 65 years. If you are older than 65 years and wish to undertake the activity, you will be required to submit a doctor’s certificate stating you are medically fit to undertake a hike in rugged terrain. Guests undertaking these hikes need to have a moderate to high level of fitness. Neutral clothing (not white or black) and walking shoes required. Bring own water and a small snack. Binoculars optional. Warning: should be fairly fit and prepared for a challenging climb.
+27 48 8812211
Amatola Hiking Trail
The Amatola Hiking Trail lies in the Eastern Cape Province. It starts close to King William’s Town and ends at Hogsback. The trail traverses some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery to be found in Southern Africa. What makes this trail very special is the abundance of waterfalls and mountain pools in which the hiker can cool off in and also the spectacular indigenous forests. The trail is just over 100 km long and takes 6 days to complete. It is not an easy trail but the effort needed to do it is well worth it. Due to its nature and the unpredictable weather conditions it is important to prepare properly for it. Novices should not attempt to do the trail with an experienced hiker to lead them. The days are generally long and an early start is always advisable.
Katberg Hiking Trail
The Katberg is also a popular hiking destination. The Katberg Trail starts in the Mpofu Game Reserve and ends at the Katberg Forest Station. This relatively easy hike is 42 kilometres long. Sleepover in a mountain hut. The hike must be pre-booked at the Katberg Forest Station. The ideal base is the Katberg Hotel, which also disposes of a golf course. +27 40 8641017
No pre booking required Hogsback offers some shorter and easier hiking and walking options which don’t have to be booked in advance:
39 Steps Falls and Arboretum – This easy 15-minute walk starts in Oak Avenue and leads through the Arboretum (trees from round the world, including Californian Redwoods) up to the 39 Steps Waterfall.
Military Path – Easy 40-minute walk, starting in Red Coat Lane.
The Bluff – Easier 45-minute circular hiking trails, starting in Red Coat Lane. Fantastic views of mountains and valley. In spring blooming of Watsonias and Proteas and many other wildflowers.
Madonna and Child Falls – The waterfalls can be reached from Wolf Ridge Road (4 km from the Village Green). The 1-hour hiking trail leads through indigenous rainforest.
Big Tree – The 1-hour hike leads up the Main Road through rainforest to a mighty 800 year old Yellowwood tree. On the way back one can also include the waterfalls “Swallow Tail Falls”, “Bridal Veil Falls” and “Madonna and Child Falls”, thereby extending the hike to up to 5 hours.
Kologha Forest Walks
A choice of three beautiful walks start and end at the sheltered picnic area which is well equipped with braai places, tables and benches, a lappa and safe parking. The Blue Route which is the shortest route. Crossing streams and rising quite sharply in some places, the path meanders for 1.5km leading to 3 stunning waterfalls. The 7km Yellow Route winds along sheltered paths to higher up the hillside. Passing two striking waterfalls along the way, the route then turns back downwards through a different habitat before arriving at the forestry road leading back to the car park and picnic site. For those wishing for a longer days walk, the Red Routes is a must. It twists and turns for 17km and commands some dramatic scenery with a magnificent view point mid way. Each route is clearly marked with coloured footprints.
Lammergeier Highlands Reserve Hiking Trails
Lammergeier Highlands Reserve offers you a whole lot of everything because they are situated in the perfect spot: right in the midst of the majestic Witteberg Mountains with the crystal clear Karringmelkspruit carving valleys through its peaks. The reserve is an eco tourism destination gem: the perfect place for you if you want to get away from it all and put some miles on your Hiking boots. Family Hiking Trails: There are many spectacular scenic routes that the whole family can enjoy, regardless of fitness level. It is great to get the kids off the couch once in a while to develop a first person appreciation for the wonders of nature. And it is easy to make the hike fun.
Mountain Hiking Trails: Although hiking is considered a slower paced activity, it isn’t without its dangers when you opt for our mountain hiking trails. These advanced hiking trails will require that you have a GPS, because getting lost is not an option. We strongly advise that you pack as though you are going on more than just a one-day hike, with some technical gear and possibly a tent in your pack.
+ 27 82 929 9729 or +27 82 929 9729
Highlands Hiking Trail
Join us for a four night hiking holiday in the beautiful Eastern Cape Highlands.
Tail end of the Southern Drakensberg, the area is a true mountain wilderness with summits reaching over 2,500 metres. Enjoy three days of high altitude hiking, carrying only a light daypack, whilst evenings are spent relaxing in cosy farmhouse accommodation accompanied by a roaring log fire. Feast on hearty home-cooked meals which will include locally farmed lamb and beef – some of the finest in the country! Daily hike distances average around 15km, but are adjusted according to the varying altitude which will range from 1,700m – 2,750m. This tour is aimed at persons with a reasonable level of fitness, who want to enjoy mountain hiking, but with the luxury of comfortable accommodation, good food and the freedom of carrying only a small daypack. On any given day you will finish the hike by mid-afternoon, offering the chance for relaxation, swimming in a mountain stream, birdwatching, fly-fishing or a gentle stroll around the farm. An optional day can be added to the itinerary for those who fancy an extra day’s hiking or change of activity. Choose from mountain biking, horse riding, river rafting (in summer months), or a visit to a local rock art site.
+27 33 3306131 or +27 84 2407277
Tiffendell’s Hiking Trails
Tiffindell’s hiking trails wind around Ben McDhui, the highest peak in the Cape Province so the views are spectacular. You can expect to see resplendent waterfalls (Tele-Falls), sparkling streams, alpine flora and fauna, rock art, ancient caves, swimming holes and picturesque resting spots. From a short hike to Ben McDhui (2 hours) chilling at the highest point in the Cape to the exhilaratingly beautiful hike to Telle Falls (approximately 6 hour) we can guide or advise different hikes and bikes every day of the week. Look out for Jackal Buzzards, Cape and Bearded Vultures, Rock Jumpers, Blue Crane, Pied Starling, the Black Harrier and Secretary Birds; Mountain Reed Buck, Weasels, with Porcupines and Spring Hares at night, not to mention one of the clearest views of the milky way in the Southern Hemisphere.
+27 11 781 2620
Wild Coast Hikes
Our guided hikes are perfect for large groups, families and corporate getaways and include:
Wild Coast Meander – most popular trail, spread over 5 nights / 6 days is the perfect introduction to the area. This is a hiking and hotel trail covering 56 km of the southern region of the Wild Coast. The terrain is moderate and magnificent in its isolation and natural splendour. Accommodation is provided nightly in one of the famous old coastal resorts, known for unique settings and warm hospitality. Guides and porters from local Xhosa communities accompany hikers every day, sharing their local knowledge, customs and culture with you. We also offer a Mini Meander.
Wild Coast Amble – This hiking trail along moderate terrain, starting on the Transkei Wild Coast continues along the picturesque Cape Wild Coast. The 5 night trail covers a distance of 55 km and includes a wonderful Xhosa cultural visit, a trip up the mighty Kei River and a night in luxury tented camps in a private game reserve as well as a game drive. Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and a host of all antelope, if Game option is chosen. This hike has road transfers if there are non-walkers in the group and has more beach walking.
Wild Coast Pondo Walk – For a truly dramatic wilderness experience this is a self drive guided walk with four separate day hikes from your base. This trail is for the nature lover, birding enthusiast and those with an adventurous streak. The terrain is spectacular but fairly strenuous and includes rugged cliff tops, indigenous forests, towering waterfalls and an insight into the lives of the Pondo people. Overnight accommodation is at one resort, Mbotyi River Lodge which is beautifully situated on the coast and hikers walk out daily with a trained local guide.
+27 43 743 6181
Port St Johns and Coffee Bay Hikes
The section of the coast from Port St Johns in the north to the Mbashe river in the south forms part of the original Transkei Hiking Trail and is approximately 100km long. It covers some of the best scenery and hiking country to be had along the Wild Coast as the coastline is extremely diverse and rugged and takes the traveller through some most impressive natural phenomena – over high coastal cliffs around PSJ, through well populated hills and valleys around Mngazna and Mpande, crossing rivers and round promontories and the sculpted beaches of Mdumbi and Coffee Bay, following rocky landmarks of Brazen Head and Hole in the Wall and finally trekking inland through forested hills and valleys stretching south to Bulungula and the Mbashe river mouth. Unlike the “hotel hopping” trail further south, the trail is better suited to more experienced and self contained hikers who are content to make use of village type accommodation and a few backpackers or private cottages where they exist. You should be prepared to carry your own pack with clothing and gear for the time you are on the trail. Distances can be as much as 20km per day and a lot of this involves hill climbing and bush walking so you need to be fit, as well as physically and mentally prepared. The hiking though is always interesting and varied and the scenery, encounters and sense of achievement you will get from the trail will remain long after the aches and pains have disappeared. We guarantee that this is a hike you will never forget!
+ 27 823234022
Eden to Addo Biodiversity Corridor
The Eden to Addo Trail is a 20-day, 400km guided hiking trail traversing seven mountain ranges, six national parks and nature reserves, and five biomes, through the Eastern Cape’s wildest and most beautiful landscapes. Your walk will help to raise awareness of the need to preserve these natural biodiversity corridors.
+27 44 533 1623
Wild Coast Hike – Port St Johns to Hole in the Wall
Hike along the pristine stretch of coastline from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay, and stay along the way in traditional Xhosa huts, The Wild Coast is one of the country’s most remote and inaccessible stretches of seashore – and prime hiking country. It was an independent homeland until 1994 and is still a very separate, distinct part of South Africa, full of tradition and local colour. Nelson Mandela is its most famous son. The scenery is spectacular. Empty white-sand beaches are separated by steep green hills, dramatic cliffs and rocky headlands while clusters of circular mud huts dot the hillsides. Sign up for a guided hike between Port St Johns and the Hole in the Wall with Jimmy Selani and you will be in for a special treat. Not only is this strenuous hike one of the finest coastal walks in the world but, staying in local village ia a chance to really immerse yourself in this unique region. Jimmy is Charismatic and fluent in English, he’s a fountain of information on the area and its people – the perfect chaperone.
Jimmy Selani +27 825072256
Green Fire Wild Coast Adventure
If you are adventurous and love discovering the hidden gems that are just waiting to be found, then we have the perfect answer for you. In conjunction with local communities we have developed the Greenfire Lodge Wild Coast as well as 4 Adventure Camps along what is the ultimate adventure playground – the Transkei Wild Coast. This is the ultimate adventure holiday. Take a backpack or a mountain bike and traverse this incredible stretch of coastline while staying at the Lodge or various camps along the coastline. The Greenfire Lodge Wild Coast is hidden in a grove of Coastal Milkwood trees at the secluded Lambazi Bay (Port Grosvenor). The four camps are located at Msikaba, Luphuthana, Manteku and Ntafufu respectively. The camps are spectacularly located and each offers twelve large, twin bedded, en-suite tented units under thatch. Contact Greenfire to arrange your perfect adventure holiday.
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