Read on for a rundown of a dozen of Mzansi’s best hikes…From Lion’s Head to the Otter Trail, there’s something for every kind of hiker – from first-timers to mountain goats.
Lion’s Head, Cape Town
Table Mountain gets all the press, but the hour-long hike to the summit of Lion’s Head is much easier and, many would say, more enjoyable. Because the path winds all the way around the peak you’ll enjoy incredible 360˚ views of the city, the ocean and Robben Island. Don’t forget to stock your Hi-Tec Roll Top backpack before you leave home.
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, KZN
Most people associate hiking in KZN with epic high-altitude adventures in the ’Berg, but there are actually a number of lush subtropical options within spitting distance of Durban. Krantzkloof between Hillcrest and Pinetown is the spectacular meeting place of two river gorges, the Molweni and Nkutu. The short-but-strenuous Molweni Trail is a real winner.
Chain Ladders, Northern Drakensberg
Also known as the Amphitheatre or Sentinel hike, the most famous walk in the Drakensberg will not disappoint. In fact, the views from the top of the plateau will stay with you forever. Allow a full day for this relatively strenuous endeavour, and be sure to pack your Hi-Tec Desna rain jacket as the weather can change in an instant.
Skeleton Gorge, Cape Town
If you’re going to tick Table Mountain off your bucket list, we recommend avoiding Platteklip Gorge like the plague. The short-and-steep Skeleton Gorge is accessed from the gorgeous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and in summer you may even see iconic Cape dassie’s. Once you reach the top, you come down via nearby Newlands Ravine or walk across to the cable station and get to the bottom the easy way.
Hennops Hiking Trails, Gauteng
The Hennops private nature reserve may only be 30 kays from downtown Pretoria, but it feels a million miles away. Whether you opt for the 2.5km Dassie Trail, the 5km Zebra Trail or the 10km Krokodilberg Trail, you can bank on impressive river crossings (including one in a funky manual cable car) and fantastic birdlife. If you’re hiking in winter, don’t leave home without your Hi-Tec Men’s Henis jacket.
Louis Changuion Trail, Limpopo
The almost-impossibly verdant Magoebaskloof mountains between Tzaneen and Polokwane have to be hiked to be believed. The four-hour Louis Changuion Trail starts and ends in the cutesy village of Haenertsburg and traverses grasslands and indigenous forest. Did we mention there’s a good chance of spotting a crowned eagle and that the views are incredible?
Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Free State
A stone’s throw from oh-so-quaint Clarens lies an incredible mountain wonderland. With seven trails ranging from the hour-long Holkrans Hike to the seriously challenging 28km Ribbok Hiking Trail, Golden Gate National Park really does have something for everyone. For something different why not book a guided hike Cathedral Cave – a mind-boggling sandstone labyrinth that is an attraction in its own right.
Lotheni Nature Reserve, Southern Drakensberg
Remote Lotheni, situated at the end of an extremely picturesque cul-de-sac near Underberg, is – to borrow Alan Paton’s phrase – “lovely beyond any singing of it.” The Bhodla River Canyon offers a great half-day hike with plenty of swimming opportunities while the 2km walk to the impressive Jacob’s Ladder Falls is great for kids. It can get chilly out here, so be sure to bring your Hi-Tec Jersey Watch beanie.
The Otter Trail, Garden Route
There’s a reason the Otter is South Africa’s most famous multi-day hike. The combination of mountains, sea and rivers makes for one of the most memorable walking experiences on the planet. You’ll have to book well in advance, but once you secure a spot you’ll have this slice of absolute paradise pretty much to yourself. P.s. Don’t embark on a demanding hike like the Otter without a pair of Hi-Tec Altitude Infinity waterproof hiking boots.
Strandloper Hiking Trail, Eastern Cape
Featuring golden beaches, shimmering lagoons and emerald hills dotted with huts and cattle, South Africa’s Wild Coast is one of the most evocative places on the planet. You made it this far into the article, you deserve a 30% off online on all non-sale items, use the code: ValentineMe30. The code is valid on Hi-Tec South Africa website only. This 4-day guided trail takes you from Kei Mouth to Gonubie and follows the spectacular coastline through beaches, cliffs, forests and hills.
Klipspringer Hiking Trail
In summer the Augrabies National Park is hotter than a Durban curry, so winter is the ideal time to admire SA’s largest waterfall and explore the park’s dramatic landscapes. The three-day Klipspringer trail takes you through 40km of rugged wilderness, stopping at rustic huts along the way. The Northern Cape climate will bring the best out of the lightweight and eminently breathable Hi-Tec men’s Trail pants, Hi-Tec Sport Cap and Hi-Tec men’s Tech long-sleeve shirt.
Fanie Botha Trail, Mpumalanga
With gorgeous waterfalls and spectacular scenery, the Fanie Botha Hiking Trail is Mpumalanga’s best-kept secret. There are six huts in total and the trail can be tackled as a 2,3,4 or 5-night hike, so you’ve got absolutely no excuse not to give it a bash. Highlights include the picture-postcard Mac Mac and Lone Creek Falls. It goes without saying that you’ll be needing your well-ventilated Hi-Tec Sport Cap out here…