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.
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.
Day 2: Walking the Elangeni Trail
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.
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.
So would I recommend hiking the 2-day Elangeni Trail?
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.