Three new hiking trails in South Africa offer outdoor enthusiasts living or traveling in the country endless opportunities for adventure.
The trails are located in the Drakensberg, Howick and Limpopo, and were developed by Open Africa, a group that establishes tourism routes while generating opportunities for rural communities in Africa.
The Drakensberg community-based trail is in the area between Weenan and Colenso, and includes a traditional homestay in the village of Mankandane. It’s about 2-3km long, depending on how far into the village hikers want to go. The terrain is a bit rough and includes some steep sections requiring a good level of fitness. The trail is currently staffed with interns, who fill the role of guides and accompany travelers along the hiking trail and into the village. Once in the village, hikers are treated to a traditional meal and local hospitality. While there is no planned entertainment, the local community welcomes visitors with open arms and treats them to an authentic and fun evening.
For more information contact Mark and Linda Calverley at The Zingela Safari and River Company on +27 36 354 7005 or www.zingelasafaris.co.za.
Howick Falls Gorge Walk
This trail in KwaZulu-Natal is just a 1km walk that starts at the top of the falls then slowly meanders to the bottom for a nice view. It’s a great way to see spectacular views of the falls and gorge, along with scenic panoramas of the uMngeni River. The trail isn’t that hard to complete and is in general fine for both children and the elderly. The local Zulu people have an old respect for the falls and some of the local legends say a creature lives at the bottom. Though the story might seem a little scary, trust us, you’ll have no problems with any monsters lurking around. The walk is set to open in early 2015.
Northern Limpopo Hiking Trail
Opening February 1, this hiking trail starts at a village called Blouberg and covers many villages as part of the African Ivory Route. The route contains eight different camps where traditional houses have been built, and offers people the opportunity to learn about the local traditions and culture of the villagers. With a distance of 3km, it’s about three times longer as the Howick Falls Gorge Walk, so be sure that you’re up for it. Even though it isn’t that long by most hikers standards, it requires a high level of fitness as the landscape is rocky and requires some scrambling. A hike to the top can take about three hours to complete. The trails are also good for mountain bike enthusiasts.
For more information on the trails and booking information, please contact the African Ivory Route on +27 15 781 0690 or visit www.africanivoryroute.co.za.