Limpopo province is filled with hiking opportunites through some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. So many hikes are there that the choice is difficult. Not only are there hikes through private nature reserves and farmland, and over mountainous terrain such as the Soutpansberg range and the Blouberg, but there are also hikes through the Kruger National Park.
In short, there is a hike to meet everyone’s needs. But here are three of the greats..
Some describe this trail as a good one for those who haven’t ever done multiple day hikes. Others describe it as difficult. You can do it as a three-day or a five-day hike, which is probably where the discrepancy lies. It will take you from God’s Window to Bourke’s Luck and beyond, and all the bounteous scenery inbetween. You will stay in stone huts and rondavels and may have difficulty finding the yellow feet that indicate the route, so best to go in an organised group with a leader who knows the trail.
Start: God’s Window on the edge of the escarpment
Day one: God’s Window to Watervalspruit hut – 5.8 km (you can get a fairly late start because of the short distance – good to know)
Day two: Watervalspruit hut to Clearstream – 13.5 km
Day three: Clearstream hut to Bourke’s Luck – 13.6 km (can end the hike here)
Day four (optional): Old Mine to Blydepoort Hut – 18.3 km
Day five (optional): Blydepoort Hut to Swadini – 13.8 km
Route: The trail follows the escarpment (gorgeous views) then cuts in along the river valley to Bourke’s Luck and, if you include the two additional days’ hiking, skirts Blyderivierspoort canyon before descending to the dam and Swadini resort.
Two circular routes make up the Magoebaskloof Trail, near Tzaneen. As with many trails you can do it in different ways. There are two-day and five-day options, but this one describes a three-day hike that is tough and you need to be fit to complete it. The bonus is that it takes place almost completely in the Grootbosch forest – one of the largest remaining indigenous forests in the country – and for that reason alone is worth doing.
Start: Grootbosch hut
Day one: Grootbosch hut to Grootbosch lapa – 18 km
Day two: Grootbosch lapa to Berg-en-Dal lapa – 18 km
Day three: Berg-en-Dal lapa to Grootbosch hut – 15 km
Route: The trail is circular and cuts its way through the Magoebaskloof Mountains. It’s been described as ‘torturous’ so is not your common family hike, unless your children are incredibly fit young adults. Your first day is along a series of high ridges. After leaving Grootbosch lapa the path continuously rises and falls before dropping down to Berg-en-Dal, and the final day entails a steep climb that you may wish had been on day one. Nonetheless, the views and the forest make it all worth while.
Hiking in any wilderness is exactly as it sounds – no facilities, and no real route other than the one you carve for yourself (there are obviously worn foot paths, but no route indicators). To take to the wilderness you need to be an experienced hiker, or at the very least venture forth with someone who is. Never hike in the wilderness alone. The good news is that you can pitch your tent wherever you choose. The bad news is that there are no toilets or showers within miles (for some this is the equivalent to heaven). The area is rugged and the hikes strenuous. The experience incomparable.
A few weekend hikes in Limpopo
- Diepdrift Trail
- Entabeni Trail
- Kuthaba Trail
- Manoutsa Trail
- Mariepskop Trail
- Rietfontein Trail
- Skeurkrans Trail
- Thabaphaswa Trail