All Out Africa - Slackpacking in the Ngwempisi Gorge, Eswatini.
Right in the heart of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of its best kept secrets, the rugged and beautiful Ngwempisi Gorge, a new location for Slackpacking in the kingdom. Hiking initially through land dotted with homesteads you are sure to come across cattle roaming freely and a few smiling faces. River camps are a feature of the 2 and 3 night Slackpacking options with access to African bush ablutions! The Ngwempisi River is safe for swimming, a welcome treat after hiking especially in the warmer summer months. An area that remains relatively undiscovered by hikers Ngwempisi is a great destination for a Slackpacking adventure.
The slackpacking trails have been carefully designed to meet up with great camping spots where you can enjoy a swim at the end of your hike. The final night ends at Khelekhele Rock Lodge, a rustic community run base with incredible views of the Ngwempisi Valley. Slackpacking options are available for 1, 2 or 3 nights and difficulty and duration depend on the duration of your adventure but can include:
• Lukhetseni store to Ngwempisi River Camp - 2.5 kms - the trail is generally easy going with no major inclines or declines. Stay overnight at Ngwempisi River Camp located in a clearing close to the river
• Ngwempisi River Camp to Khelekhele Camp - 9 kms along the Ngwempisi River. The campsite is located at a massive sand bank on a big bend in the river
• Khelekhele River Camp to Rock Lodge - 8kms through forested gorges before the head of the Ngwempisi Gorge proper. From this point the trail heads up the side of the gorge and the path becomes steep and rocky. This is the final stretch out of the gorge towards the famous Rock Lodge. The first 750m tracks through quite thick forest before it opens up as the altitude increases. There are some very impressive views from the ridges as you ascend and it’s worth stopping every 100 meters or so to take it all in.
• Rock Lodge to Collection Point - 2 kms a short but steep ascent to the road head following a 4x4 track up the side of the valley towards the open grasslands closer to the mountain plateaux
Depending on the duration of your trip your slackpacking adventure highlights may include:
• Explore the wooded banks of the Ngwempisi River, enjoying swimming in beautiful pools
• The rugged and majestic Ngwempisi Gorge which cuts through the Ntfungula mountains forming one of Eswatini’s most impressive gorges.
• Succulents abound on the rocky edges of the gorge with many different species of aloe and euphorbia
• Nights under the stars at the rustic Rock Lodge, built from wood, on 5 levels, in a bolder cluster on the top of the gorge with amazing views out over the Ngwempisi River
All trails begin at Malandela’s Complex in Malkerns and each night is spent at a different camp. The camps have flushing toilets and showers. Choose from our 1 to 3 night packages which may include an experienced guide and porters, meals, nylon tents and mattresses (for our 2 and 3 night options), and transfers of your personal kit. Your final night includes a stay at Khelekhele Rock Lodge in dorm rooms with probably one of the best views you will see from your open air shower. Your kit will be transferred between camps so you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy backpacks. Special dietary needs can be accommodated in our meal plans too. Ngwempisi Gorge is a great destination for slackpacking all year round with its golden brown hews in wintertime to abundant green landscapes in summer time.