Cycad Hiking Trail

Middelburg, Mpumalanga Province

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The Cycad trail walks along the Olifants River gorge and offers a magnificent view of the river and its surroundings.

The first day of the trail is about 12km long. The trail takes you along the kloof route with spectacular views of waterfalls and cycad plantations.

 

At lunch time we made a stop next to the cool river and took our time to enjoy nature before making our way up the mountain to the overnight camp.

 

The first day ends off with a steep ascent to the overnight camp at Arendsnes.  Arendsnes must rank as one of the most spectacular overnight hut’s. It is built right on the edge of the Olifants River gorge and has a big wooden deck with spectacular views to the river far below. 

We enjoyed a big fire on the deck while watching the amazing sunset.

That night we decided that we are not going to sleep in the huts with beds provided, but rather be spontaneous and sleep around the camp fire on the deck outside. I must also just mention that we did this hike in the middle of winter in July!!

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The 2nd day of the trail is leisurely 6km long and a fairly easy walk back to base camp. 

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Suikerboschfontein – Birthday Backpacking Trail

Suikerboschfontein Hiking Trail – Carolina, Mpumalanga

Wow wow wow … What a great experience!!

The Suikerboschfontein hiking trail is a 2 day backpacking trail that can be started from either of the two overnight camps and it is possible to leave your car at either camp. Do not let this fact make you think that it is not remote enough – because we made that mistake and believe me, both camps are very remotely located with amazing view points. Day one and two is both a 10 km walk to the next camp and can be rated as moderate to difficult at some points.

The accommodation consists of  “Oom Japie’s House” and “Rooikrans Camp”. Both overnight camps are very neat and probably the best that we have seen so far. Both the camps has flush toilets, showers and mattresses for a comfortable stay. There are wooden fueled geysers at both camps as well as “braai” facilities. We LOVED the Rooikrans camp as it is located between and around natural rock formations and pillars which gives it a feeling of sleeping in the mountains.

Check out the video below to see our experience of the hike:

 

 

Thanks Wandering Troop for a great weekend hike and an amazing birthday 2016!!!

 

 

 

Bermanzi Hiking Trail

Bermanzi Hiking Trail is found in Mapumalanga between the towns of Machadodorp and Badplaas. The hike is a base camp trail that leads to the beautiful Uitkoms waterfall, which is the second highest fall in Mapumalanga.

We chose this base camp trail as we had some first time hikers going along. We were a group of 13 hikers.

Bermanzi offers a 20 km hike divided into 12 km on the first day and 8 km on the second day.

Team

Day 1: Walking Bermanzi Hiking Trail

On the first morning there was a lot of excitement among the first time hikers while everyone was getting ready to take off.

Even though this was a base camp hike, a few of us walked with our full backpacks, as we are preparing ourselves for Mount Kilimanjaro.

The trail took us on a long descent along the mountain ridges. The descent was nice to start out with, but made us worry as the further we walked down we knew in the back of our heads that we will eventually have to climb the mountain back up.

Downhill

The first view point was reached with breathtaking panoramic landscapes.

The forest climb up was very hot and the ground was covered with biting ants and ticks. One could not take a rest from the steep uphill otherwise “the attack of ants” took place on our legs.

hot bushveld

From here the trail took us further down into the indigenous forest where we crossed the river numerous times while making our way up to falls. During this part of the hike Dean lost his sleeping bag without even noticing it until we arrived at the next resting point.

 

Our group got separated into two groups with me being part of the second group. While enjoying and appreciating the forest elements, our group took the wrong turn and got lost in the forest. We wondered around looking for the Bermanzi hiking trail when the three men who was part of our group eventually found the right route again. It was at this moment when we heard wild baboons close by and Ravon had “baboon eyes”.

The trail finally led us out of the forest on our way to the uphill climb to the magnificent Uitkoms waterfall. Before we reached the waterfall we had to take a break for lunch and found the perfect spot. Underneath a huge Yellow wood pine tree that was surrounded by old rock formations.

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After lunch we took the final ascent up to the top of the waterfall.  What an amazing view. However, to describe in words or capture on photos is nearly impossible!

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We filled our bladders with fresh cold water from the waterfall and started walking the trail back to base camp in the hot mid summer day.

 

When we reached base camp we enjoyed some cold ciders and beers while relaxing in shade, after taking a well deserved cool shower. The sunset was amazing from the mountain top.

The night was spent around a BIG bonfire, enjoying everyone’s stories of the day. Dean, Renier and Harry was our “braaiers” for the evening and we all stuffed ourselves with perfectly grilled steak. Ryan made some traditional pap and sheeba to go with the braai vleis.

We ended the night with some marshmallows over the open fire before we had to move inside, as a big storm forced us to go to bed.

Day 2: Walking Bermanzi Hiking Trail

Day two had a late start and two of our fellow hikers decided not to finish the trail with us.

The rest of us got ready for the second day and took the trail as it led us downhill to the foot of the waterfall.

The first few kilometers was inside the indigenous forest and it was very hot and humid because of the previous night’s rainfall.  Everything was green and woken up by the storm. We saw some interesting insects and reptiles on our way and had some nice breaks along the way.

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When we reached the Uitkoms waterfall we took a swim and cooled off on the rocks while enjoying lunch. It was at this point Harry surprised Dean with his sleeping bag that was picked up along the road down to the waterfall.

 

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After cooling off next to the water we had to pull ourselves away from the waterfall and on our way back to base camp. We took the last stretch back to finish the weekend off with an amazing experience.

I would definitely recommend the Bermazi Hiking trail to all hikers.

 

 

Ama Poot Poot Hiking Trail, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

 

For our second hike we did a base camp hike, because Marijke was 7 months pregnant at the time. We were a big bunch of 13 hikers.

The little town of Dullstoom in Mpumalanga is renowned for its trout fishing and for some rather nice bars and restaurants to visit on the way to the Lowveld. Just outside the town is the Ama Poot Poot Hiking Trail.

Knowing that we did not have to carry all our gear in our backpacks we could take advantage of packing heavily. And by heavily I mean enough beverages to enjoy after a long days hike.

The route of 19 km stretched over 2 days with 13 km on the first day and 6 km the second day.

Day 1: Walking the Ama Poot Poot Trail

A hard bang woke us up the next morning. It was Winston who fell through the top bunk bed onto the two little girls sleeping below. Luckily no one got hurt.

Waking up the first morning it was pouring with rain. We waited it out and could eventually start the day’s hike at around 9 am. At this time it was still cold and wet outside where the trail starts from base camp.

We started walking around the higher level on the farm before the trail descends steeply to cross the river. By the time we reached the first river crossing the temperature started to rise and the heat of the day quickly made us remove all warm clothing. It was only then when we realised that no one even thought of putting on sunscreen.

We walked along the river until we reached a point where the trail climbs steeply  up to the waterfall. Along the way Mariska dislocated her knee while crossing the river over slippery rocks. Zuran then helped her to push it back in place and she was ready to continue the trail.

At the point where have reached the 8 km mark Marijke decided to turn back to base camp with her little peanut in her stomach, as the trail then got more demanding up to the waterfall.

The first day was very hot and once we reached the waterfall a well deserved lunch break was in order.

On the way back to the base camp there was some nice rock formations along the way.

The first days hike was finished at around 2 pm which gave us a lot of time to soak up the rest of the day around base camp enjoying refreshing ciders.

The night was spent drinking a lot of wine and having a good old South African braai around the bonfire.

Day 2: Walking the Ama Poot Poot Trail

The second day was less demanding and a shorter route which was appreciated after a good nights “braai”.

The trail took us to the bottom of the waterfall from the previous day. On the way to the waterfall we had to climb over some ladders to cross the fence on the farm. We also had to do some bundu bashing at some points which made the hike very interesting.

We then decided that we wanted to walk back to the top of the waterfall and took an additional route back where we found a place to rest underneath the trees next to the first foot of the waterfall. We then took off our hiking shoes and relaxed with our feet in the cool water.

Johnny took this opportunity to practice some of his Yoga poses next to the calming waterfall.

We then hiked back to the base camp to finish off a great weekend of hiking and relaxation.

The trip home was hot and everyone was sun burnt. A chill Sunday awaited us at home.

 

 

 

 

 

My first 2-day hike

Elangeni Hiking Trail, Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga

Hiking the Elangeni Trail was really hard for me as my first hiking trail ever, not to mention that it was an overnight backpack trail. Even though it was very tough for me, it was well worth the effort.

The trail is situated 18 km east of Waterfall Boven on the N4 to Nelspruit. The trail is designed as a backpack route of 21 km stretched over 2 days with 12,3 km on the first day and 8,4 km the second day.

The trail starts off from the Elangeni Holiday Resort where you spend the first night at base camp. Not knowing what the next day had in store for me, I went to bed early but unfortunately had a restless night due to snoring and raindrops on the tin roof.

Elangeni View

Day 1: Walking the Elangeni Trail

We had an early morning, getting up at around 5 am enjoying warm coffee and some left over food from the night before. The early morning start was cold as the time of the year was July, the middle of the winter.

The first part of the trail took us along the banks of the Elands River for about 1 km before we began the steep ascent up the mountain. The informational site about the trail said that this climb up the mountain will take us about 2 hours to achieve, but it felt like a lifetime!! At this point I hated myself for doing this hike. I felt overwhelmed, tired and my legs could not go any further.  If it was not for Dean and Renier pushing me to keep on going I would probably not be here today writing about my experience. At times I was shouting out “Ek kan nie meer nie” But once we made it to top we were rewarded by some spectacular panoramic views of the Elands Valley.

From the point where the trail reaches the top of the krans, we walked along the mountain edge which also gave us that adrenaline rush of feeling like flying. I can’t describe the feeling I had at this moment and I could not believe that I actually made it to the top.

The trail eventually took us around a mountain headland and a long but gradual downhill followed which walks along the top of a deep valley with distant views of the Elangeni waterfall on its far side. The trail follows a forest road for a while and then we started  our descent to a stream in the valley below toward the overnight hut.

 

At the overnight hut we all took a well deserved hot shower and enjoyed the rest of the evening with a glass of wine next to the fire, talking and laughing about the days efforts.

HUT

Day 2: Walking the Elangeni Trail

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The second day I was determined to finish the hike and enjoy every moment of it. The trail began with a gradual climb away from the hut with more breathtaking views. We then descended through the forest to the Elangeni falls.

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It was at this moment when we reached the Elangeni waterfall that I realized that hiking will be my new hobby.

We enjoyed some time at the waterfall and Dean and Renier decided to see how far up the dry parts of the waterfall they could climb. In the photo you can see how small the two of them are next to the amazing Elangeni falls.

The trail then descends back to the Elangeni base camp.

The end

So would I recommend hiking the 2-day Elangeni Trail?

Definitely!!

I would probably not recommend it as everyone’s first hike, but this trail made me and Dean start a new hobby and we are so exited for all the future hikes to come.