Top hiking trails in South Africa
South Africa is a vast country with beautiful coastlines, mountains and landscapes, making it is the perfect place for hiking holidays. Here are some top hikes to choose from - there are many more too!
1. The Otter Trail
This is a famous and well loved hiking trail in South Africa, which follows the coast and goes through the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park on the Garden Route. The route is 42km (26 miles) long, running from the East at Storms River Mouth right the way to Nature's Valley in the West. It is a 5 day trek and is immensely popular so you need to book well in advance! Did you know that this route is named after the Cape Clawless Otter? You might even be lucky enough to see one.
2. De Hoop Whale Trail
This is a top trail for anyone who loves whales as this beautiful coastal trail gives you fantastic opportunities to spot them between June and December. Located near Bredasdorp and passing through the De Hoop Nature Reserve there is plenty for nature lovers with fynbos, antelope and rare plants along the way. The route is 55km from Potberg to Koppie, which you walk over 5 days. Luckily there is plenty of comfortable accommodation en route but it's popular so you have to book in advance.
3. Amphitheatre Heritage Hike
Known as 'the rooftop of the world' this route won't disappoint and takes in the spectacular views from the top of the highest waterfall in Africa, Tugela Falls. The Amphitheatre is a massive rock face that is one of the most incredible parts of the Drakensberg mountain range.
Located in the Northern Drakensberg's Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, this trail has traditionally been for experienced hikers only but now guided hikes are available too. Saying that you still need to be fit to attempt this route and head up 1,200m to the top of the trail. It runs through Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and to Lesotho and is between 25km and 30 km (18 miles) long, which is undertaken over 3 days.
4. Outeniqua Trail
This is a tough trail located in the Western Cape, so be prepared as this is for a more experienced hiker - it's a 7 day route and is 108 kilometres (66 miles) long, although you can opt to do just part of the trail if you prefer. There are some incredibly beautiful parts to this route including lush forest with giant yellow-wood trees. The trail goes from West to East - it begins in Beervlei Hut (Old Forest Station) and fends at Harkerville hut close to the Harkerville Forestry Station.
5. Hoerikwaggo Trail
See the true wonder of the Cape Peninsula on this 5 day guided hike, which is 87.9 km (53 miles) long, taking in the breathtaking coastal views, along with the flora and fauna. This is an adventurous full hike, although you can do parts of the trail instead. It covers a route from awe-inspiring Table Mountain to Cape Point in the Table Mountain National Park. Did you know that the trail's name, Hoerikwaggo, actually means 'mountain in the sea’ Khoi-San?