Whether walking inland trails, trekking up mountains or spelunking along the coast, avid hikers will agree with naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir when he wrote: ‘In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.’ As the weather warms, a host of trails beckon those eager to enjoy nature’s abundant gifts.
As any seasoned hiker or trailblazer will tell you, when taking to the trails being well equipped from head to toe is vitally important. Your feet take the worst beating so worn-in boots and comfortable but durable socks must be a priority. The Mohair Mill Shop’s MHR Adventure socks and Trek and Travel sock range will take care of the latter. See our featured items for detail on our top picks!
So, what does spring hold by way of trails? Here are a few of our favourites:
Follow the flowers
Perfect for beginners (and twitchers), the Steenbok Trail in the West Coast National Park boasts exceptional floral displays, diverse and plentiful birdlife, veld game and bat-eared foxes. It follows part of the popular two-day Postberg Trail, across the veld of the reserve and up to a viewpoint overlooking the Langebaan Lagoon. Then onto the granite spires of Vingerklippe and down to Plankiesbaai where you’ll be greeted by a mass of white, orange and purple wild flowers. A coastal path brings you back to the starting point at Tsaarsbank gate. Perfect for a day outing.
Head for the hills
Not for the fainthearted, the challenging three-day guided Amphitheatre Heritage Hike in Northern Drakensberg’s UKhahlamba Park will take you to the top of the Tugela Falls, where you’ll be greeted by breath-taking views. The climb to the top of the Amphitheatre – one of the most iconic rock faces in the range – is another 1,2km making this one for seasoned hikers only. Accommodation is either in comfortable tented camps or if you wish to continue roughing it, the guides can arrange an alternate route where you can spend the night in the caves.
There is plenty of fun to be had in summer at Tiffendell, South Africa’s popular Eastern Cape ski resort. Trails wind around Ben McDhui, the province’s highest peak, and the views are spectacular. You’ll see waterfalls, streams, alpine flora and fauna, and have the opportunity to explore ancient caves filled with rock art. Staff will take you on guided tours or advise on the best routes. The cherry on the top – breath-taking views of the Milky Way.
A little slackpacking, anyone?
The Dolphin Trail is a luxury two-day Tsitsikamma hike that allows you to walk at your own pace (a very manageable 7,5km on day one and 9,5km on day two) with just what you need in hand – a walking stick and water. Your food, bedding and equipment will be waiting for you at the end of the day. You get to experience the best of both worlds – fynbos and forest offer bird-watching opportunities while the Indian Ocean provides the playground for pods of dolphins. Depending on your timing you may also see southern right whales as they come to these waters to calve. The trail starts at the Storms River Mouth and ends on the banks of the Sandrift River at The Fernery.