South Africa is a country with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Is it any wonder then, that many people visit South Africa to explore the country on foot?
There are many safe and well-managed walking trails in South Africa. Some of the trails are short and great for families, but some are longer and make a great vacation for those who love walking and hiking. Here are 5 of the most amazing walking trails and routes in South Africa:
Officially the oldest hiking trail in South Africa, the Otter Trail was established in 1968. The 42.5km trail starts on the Garden Route and the mouth of the Storms River and then makes its majestic way across the clifftops, forests and beaches ending at the Groot River estuary. The route is spectacular, and the scenery is mind-blowing. The small fee paid to use the lodges and facilities along the route with very basic accommodation is worth every cent for what is one of the top hiking trails anywhere in the world.
The hike takes 4 to 5 days and costs R1000. Booking well in advance is recommended.
A little longer, 55km, than the Otter Trail and a little more challenging, the Whale Trail is another superbly scenic hiking trail. Porterage is available if you don’t want to lug your backpack with you to allow you to really enjoy the walk. The trail winds its way through the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Overberg and is a fully catered with meals and accommodation included. The Whale Trail is a luxury trail to walk in many ways and at the right time of year (June to December) it lives up to its name as whales can be viewed wading in the ocean nearby.
The hike takes 5 days and costs R5000.
Another early hiking trail, this time in Mpumalanga, is the full Fanie Botha Trail which is just over 70km long. There are options for the full 5-day hike with plenty of shorter one and two day hikes for those who want something a little less challenging. The trail is another superbly spectacular hike with some impressive sites along the way including the Mac Mac Falls.
Hikes are from 1 - 5 days and cost up to R600.
Considered the most challenging multi-day hike in South Africa, the Amatola Trail is 100km long. Like a walk through something straight out of Narnia, the hike starts in King Williams Town and then makes its way along the impressive Hogsback Mountains. It is challenging because of the harsh terrain and this amazing walking adventure ends up in the village of Hogsback itself. If you love mountains and impressive waterfalls that can often appear overnight then this trail is for you but be warned, it is not a trail for those who are unfit.
The trail takes 6 days to walk and costs around R300.
The quintessential Drakensberg Hiking Trail is 60km long and known as The Giant’s Cup. Surprisingly, it is an impressive and easy to walk trail. The stunning scenery and fairly easy walking make this a fantastic family hiking trail that everyone will enjoy. You stay overnight in farmhouses and rondavels as you walk along the foothills of the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains. The panoramic views along the route are breath-taking and there are many natural surprises along the way.
The trail takes 5 days to hike and costs around R90 per person per night.
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We visit De Hoop Nature Reserve - a World Heritage Site offering world class land-based whale viewing, just 3 hours from Cape Town. This is also one of the best places to discover rare and endangered mammals and fynbos, is a bird watchers paradise and is home to more than 85 species of game.
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