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The Joy Of Hiking In South Africa


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Hiking in South Africa is a great way to see a wonderful country for those of you who like to explore the world on foot. This lovely country with its mixture of cultures will provide you with stunning scenery that you will want to photograph and friendly people who you will enjoy getting to know.


The landscape is varied so you will have a range of terrains to choose from when you are hiking in South Africa and some sort of exciting  terrain awaits you in every province. There is the famous Drakensburg in Kwazulu-Natal which is the main mountain range in South Africa and home to some fine examples of San rock art. Hiking in KwaZulu-Natal also extends through the lush green Midlands area. Table Mountain in the Cape Province offers a magical hiking experience as does Namaqualand in spring when the entire region is carpeted with wild flowers. If forests are your thing, then the majestic Tsitsikamma Forest is not to be missed. As far as the South African coastline goes, there are many trails along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. The Otter Trail is one of its most popular and well-known hiking trails. Even Gauteng has a number of hiking spots and the Cradle of Humankind is one of them.


South Africa is considered to have one of the best climates in the world and you should be able to hike throughout the year with the exception of one or two locations. A word of warning though, the sunny skies that predominate in South Africa are not an indication of good hiking conditions. Weather conditions that seem fine on the ground are often unpredictable in mountainous terrain like the Drakensburg or Table Mountain. Hikers should always take cognizance of weather conditions and not go hiking when weather reports do not advise. It is also better to go on a guided hike where there is a hiking expert in attendance than to attempt rugged and unforgiving terrain alone. It may be a beautiful country but hiking in South Africa is not for sissies!



Just because you are fond of your creature comforts doesn’t mean you are a sissy, however, and there is no reason why hiking in South Africa cannot be a comfortable experience. Many guest lodges and estates provide hiking facilities and it is possible to take a day hike or nature trail of a couple of hours and be back in time to avail yourself of a hot meal and a comfortable bed. There is also a way you can make a longer hike of a couple of days or more in comfort, its called slack packing. Slack packing means your heavy back pack is transported to the daily pit stops for you so all you have to carry is a day pack with some energy bars or sandwiches, water, a jacket, and perhaps some wet wipes. On this kind of guided tour, your guide will usually take care of the first aid kit and survival gear for you so you won’t have to carry that either.


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