The Wakkerstroom Wonder slackpacking Trail, Mpumalanga.
Centred around the charmingly preserved village of Wakkerstroom, a town whose history dates back to the early 1800’s when Voortrekker pioneers first settled in this picturesque well-watered valley framed by the Drakensberg, is the latest adventure offered by Spekboom Tours.
This 3-day gentle slackpack offers a superb combination of pristine wetland birding, meanders along aloe-studded ox-wagon trails, rich and fascinating glimpses into South African history as well as many other cultural gems. Home to some of the best birding in South Africa, this remote country village has fine restaurants, charming Anglo Boer period accommodation and intriguing heritage. Each day opens a new chapter on the unique fauna, flora, and history of the area with different daily guides offering their own perspectives on this often overlooked and underrated highveld community. A relatively short trip from either Joburg or Durban, this slackpack will be perfect for anyone looking for a nature-filled, comfortable, and fully inclusive break, and suits those of diverse fitness and interest levels.
The daily distances and pace can be adjusted making this the perfect beginners’ hikes for those less fit. Just 3 hours outside Johannesburg, Wakkerstroom the ideal weekend getaway for city dwellers seeking refuge in nature with old world charm.
This fully-catered slackpack includes all meals, lodgings for 3 nights, guides (including a registered birding guide, a walking guide and amateur history guides), various land permissions, and a donation towards the Wakkerstroom community trusts.
Hike Day 1
After a hearty homecooked breakfast meet your guide at the Honeymoon Cheese Shop in Town for a 3 hour hike up the old Boer wagon trail to the Ossewa Kop Summit. Enjoy a steady climb up past the “North Staffordshire Emblem” erected in 1901, through forested and vegetated gullies and up onto the grassy summit known for its floral diversity and rare endemic orchids. From here you are awarded with spectacular views of the world-famous wetlands, Zaaihoek lake and the village below. The return is via a steep but contoured rocky descent through the glorious orange florescence of Wakkerstrom Aloes (a fabulous treat for those visiting in summer).
Approx 10 km. Time 3 hours.
Overnight: Self-Catering 1890 period style guesthouse (Old Hotel acco modation can be organised for those wanting en-suite accommodation)
Hike Day 2
Self- serve breakfast at the guest house
6.30am meet your Birdlife registered guide for an early morning birding experience at one of the hides overlooking one of the Southern Hemispheres largest natural Wetlands. Wakkerstroom is one of South Africa’s top hotspots for birding with rare and endangered pipits, cranes, larks, swifts and swallows to tick off on your ‘must see’ birding list. From here we continue through the wetland (paths subject to seasonal variability) to trace the old railway track through private farmland and back home.
Approx 14 km /approx 5-6 hr hike – including a packed lunch and a drinks stop at the De Oude Stasie .
Hike Day 3
9am: A Light Breakfast at the Village Restaurant (to own account)
Meet resident Rita, a devoted Wakkerstroom resident and passionate amateur historian, for a brief introduction to the village’s illustrious past. Continue on for a historical walk through the village. Visit some of the many national heritage sites such as the Old Court House (famous for its unique architecture), beautiful churches and an art gallery set in the old bank.
Approx 5-7km / approx -3 hr hike
• Accommodation (pp sharing basis): 3 night at the Mahem (double and twin rooms with communal bathrooms)
• Full Catering
• Hiking Guide for 3 days – birding, walking and history
• Hiking Permits and land permissions for the 3 hike days
• Travel Insurance
• Own alcoholic drinks
• Travel to and from the start destination