Hiking in South Africa
For those of you looking for a really different but incredibly beautiful active holiday, then hiking in South Africa should be on the top of your priority list. What makes the trails and routes in this rainbow nation so special is the vast array of landscapes that are available. South Africa has it all. The terrain is so vast that you will have difficulty choosing the type of terrain you would like to go hiking in. You might even land up spending more time than you anticipated and land up exploring everything. The hiking terrain in South Africa varies from an abundance of forest trails to majestic mountain hikes to secluded beach walks to romantic sub-tropical strolls.
The length of the hiking trails in South Africa varies depending on the amount of time you have and of course your level of fitness. The Mini Traverse in the Drakensberg Mountains is considered one of the most scenic hikes in the world. The hiking takes trekkers along the top of the escarpment that forms a natural border between Lesotho and South Africa. The actual hike takes 5 days to complete and covers approximately 15km a day.
Hiking the Highest Mountain in South Africa
Another popular hiking trail is the scenic and challenging trail that leads to the highest mountain in South Africa known as Mafadi topping out at 3451m above sea level. The highlight of this hike apart from the incredible views of basalt towers and spires that reach into the African sky is the chance to sleep in the highest cave in the country. The Upper Injasuthi Cave offers some of the best sunrises in the Drakensberg that makes the hiking there well worth the effort.
For hikers that are looking for a less challenging hiking experience, there are various multi-day hikes ranging from 2 days to 3 days that also cover some of the most beautiful and remote scenery that the Drakensberg has to offer. Climb the highest free standing mountain aptly named Cathedral Peak in just 3 days. In fact, it may not be the highest free-standing mountain but it is the highest commercially climbable peak where no technical experience is needed. The hiking distance e is a mere 23km to the summit and back with overnight camps set up in one of the quaint caves in the lower regions. As for the views from the top of the peak… Absolutely incredible is all we can say. Hikers get are blown away by the 70km panoramic views of the central and Northern Drakensberg range.
Most Popular Hiking Trails in South Africa
The most popular hiking trail in South Africa that gets trekkers to the summit of the escarpment in the quickest time is the Amphitheatre hike. A mere 3 hours sees you topping out at the second highest waterfall in the world-the Tugela Falls. They majestically cascade 947m into the valley below. The scenery from that point is truly magical illustrating why hiking in South Africa is something that should be on every foot stomping, globetrotting travelers bucket list.
Hiking the South African Coast-line
If mountains are not your thing, The Wild Coast of South Africa offers some incredible hiking opportunities as well. Take a 5-day stroll along some the wildest and dramatic coast line’s that this beautiful country has to offer. Your only companions are the occasional Xhosa shepherds, lush rolling hills, steep cliffs where the Indian Ocean crashed into relentlessly and of course the tranquility of the hiking experience. The highlight of this trek is not only the rugged scenery but the accommodation and cultural experience. After a rewarding day hiking, you will be welcomed into a local Xhosa village where you will get to experience how the local communities live. You will sleep in one of the colorful huts that the tribe is famous for. You will be served a scrumptious traditional meal and you will experience the awesomeness of these friendly people.
Why Hiking in South Africa should be on your bucket list?
Hiking in South Africa is not just about the incredible scenery it is a way to travel like a local and experience first-hand the cultural diversity of the country known as the ‘rainbow nation’. Yes, some of the hikes will be strenuous. But isn’t that what hiking and exploring is about. Stepping outside of your comfort zones both physically and mentally allowing you to expand your levels of perception on yourself and the environment. Make new friends, see incredible scenery and of course have fun while doing it. That is what hiking in South Africa is all about. A truly magical experience that will stay in your hearts forever