The phrase ‘Take only pictures, leave only footprints’ embodies the idea of enjoying the great outdoors while minimising your environmental impact. If that is your philosophy, then Hiking is the perfect adventure for you!
South Africa is blessed with a wide variety of natural environments. From the Fynbos Region in the Cape to tracking wildlife in Limpopo, the vast expanses of wilderness make our beautiful country a hikers paradise.
In Cape Town, hikers head to the iconic Table Mountain where a seemingly endless number of trails lead you to the peak at Maclears beacon.
Table Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the heart of the Cape Floral Region, is blessed with an extraordinarily high biological diversity.
This biodiversity extends to the Cape Winelands, home to the Helderberg, Stellenbosch and Hottentots Holland mountains. Hiking here is a treat for the body and soul – and don’t forget that this area is also the home of wine estates that serve world class wines!
To really get away from it all, hikers in the Western Cape head to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cederberg - a spectacular mountain landscape renowned for its rock climbing routes and its treasure trove of San rock art.
Multi-day hiking trails, such as the Whale Trail or the Fynbos Trail, are popular in the Overberg where hikers can explore deserted beaches while watching southern right whales breach in the sea.
As the name suggests, the Garden Route is another hikers heaven. Take your pick from slackpacking at the Dolphin Trail, don a full backpack on the Otter Trail, explore the spectacular beaches on the Oystercatcher trail or just spend a day meandering through the indigenous forests or along the dramatic coast.
In the Eastern Cape and Wild Coast, hikers spend their nights in welcoming family run hotels after making their way across wide rivers and through deserted beaches and rolling hills.
Further inland, the enchanting village of Hogsback, high in the Amathole Mountains, offers a perfect getaway from city life.
KwaZulu-Natal is home to the Oribi Gorge, Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, Dhlinza forest and two magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites - The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
From the majestic Amphitheatre to the Tugela Falls and picturesque foothills, the Drakensberg is perfects for hiking. The lakes and deserted beaches of iSimangaliso offer hikers opportunites to see loggerhead turtles as they waddle ashore to lay their eggs or a humpback whale on its migratory route to Mozambique.
There is something for every hiker in the tiny kingdom of Swaziland. Get up close and personal with game in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, explore rock formations of Ngwempisi or the geological wonder of Sibebe.
Remember to pack your hiking boots when visiting another tiny kingdom – Lesotho. Here the mountains becon you to enjoy unforgettable experiences off the beaten track.
Believe it or not, the game reserves of Mpumalanga and Limpopo are also best explored on foot. The Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest national park and home of the big five, offer avid hikers an experience of a lifetime on multiday Hiking Adventures. Experienced rangers share their knowledge of plants, spoor and tracking and after a days hike you will fall sleep to the sounds of the bushveld with nothing but a thin tent canvas between you and the wilderness.
If you feel trapped in the city, you only need to drive a short distance from the hustle and bustle of Gauteng to be in the Magaliesberg Mountains of North West. Here, in the ridges and kloofs, all stresses melt away. So what are you waiting for? Get those Boots Dirty on a hiking adventure in South Africa!