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Posted on: Monday, 17 March 2014
South African Hiking Trails

The Baviaanskloof Hartland Hike

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The famous Baviaanskloof Hartland Hike is nestled between the Baviaanskloof and Kouga mountain ranges, and showcases some of the best vistas and landscapes of both. This part of the Eastern Cape Province is unique for its natural beauty, fauna, flora and people. The Hartland Hike allows visitors to experience the pristine splendour of the region over the course of six days, as they ascend rock faces, and descend into lush valleys.

You will cover an average of 12 kilometres per day. Some of this is on the main road, while other parts take hikers through rugged countryside that is either privately owned or part of the Parks Board. Many of the places that you will see are completely secluded, even isolated, showcasing only the untouched natural landscapes of a country that is famed for its splendour and abundance.


Hartland Hike


The entire area is known for its plant- and animal species. However, it also has a rich and varied cultural and historical context. These elements are best experienced along the Hartland Hike in the form of the rock art that has been left on the mountain faces and cave walls by the ancient inhabitants of the region. Unique rock formations are not only fascinating, but also tell the tale of natural events that occurred millennia ago in this region, appealing to those with a penchant for geology, archaeology and anthropology.

Those embarking on the Hartland Hike may enjoy formal accommodation at various establishments along the way, as well as a night spent in a cave. Look up at the pitch-black night sky and succumb to the wonder of the stars above, which are countless when they are not being dulled by city lights.

The Baviaanskloof area, like the rest of the Eastern Cape, is a region free from the threat of malaria. Although mosquitoes may bite one during the night, these do not carry this illness. This makes the area ideal for families with little ones and the elderly in tow. However, the Hartland Hike requires a fair degree of fitness, as there are a few rather steep areas, and terrain that is tough and testing. Therefore, hikers that are used to these types of challenges and have the stamina to complete 12 kilometres of such conditions each day are sure to enjoy this experience.


Hartland Hike


There is fresh water along the way in the form of natural fountains. However, hikers are advised to bring their own drinking water to avoid any dehydration or overheating. The area becomes extremely hot and dry during the summer months (December to around March). It is also essential that hikers use a high-factor sunscreen all year round, even on cool or overcast days, as the UV rays can cause extensive skin damage and physical exhaustion.

The Baviaanskloof Hartland Hike will allow nature-lovers to enjoy some of the natural abundance of the area in terms of the flora and fauna to which they can look forward. These include plenty of antelope species, as well as hundreds of bird species. Although extremely shy, a leopard may occasionally make its appearance, which is a very special memory indeed.

The local folk of the Eastern Cape and Baviaanskloof are known for their friendly hospitality, and will gladly welcome hikers from around the world.


Hartland Hike

Photograph courtesy of www.baviaans.co.za © (above)

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Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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