Hiking Opportunities – Adventure from Start to End
Many people all over the world enjoy the simple pleasure of walking in protected natural areas. It is the easiest way to immerse oneself in nature and forget about the worries and stresses of life. The air is always cleaner and the exercise is refreshing. South Africa is no different. The country has a high concentration of hiking and walking trails which can be found in or around virtually every major city or tourist route.
There are a number of famed hiking trails in South Africa which are noted for being either particularly beautiful, particularly difficult or a combination of both. The Otter Trail is one such trail. Situated in Nature’s Valley at Storms River Mouth, the trail spans 41 km which are covered over a period of 5 days. The coastal scenery is very pretty and there are tidal pools, marine life and an abundance of forest and fynbos to enjoy. The Outeniqua Trail is somewhat more gruelling. The trail covers 90 km over a period of five days – though shorter versions of the trail can be hiked. Besides the usual abundance of natural vegetation and wildlife, the trail takes a historic edge with a number of relics from the gold-rush era providing an interesting look into the past. The Giants Cup Hiking Trail can be found in the visually spectacular Drakensberg Mountains. The 59.3 km of trail takes five days to complete and can be quite grueling due to the elevation of the trail and the ruggedness of the terrain. However, the views make it all worth it. Of course, you can also enjoy natural vegetation and wildlife along the trail.
As you make your way around the country, you will find beach hikes, coastal forest hikes, mountain hikes and savannah/dessert hikes. Some trails offer the opportunity to swim and cool off in refreshing natural pools or to shower under waterfalls. Others offer the chance to sleep under a cliff-overhand which can then be abseiled in the morning. The variety of terrain, lodging, fauna and flora is virtually endless and each trail is unique and special in its own way. However, when hiking in this beautiful country one always needs to remember to stay safety conscious. Women should not hike alone and it is preferable that at least one member of the group has some first aid training since many of the hikes are self-guided. Always use a high factor sun block and a hat to prevent sunburn and heat stroke and drink plenty of fluids – much of which will have to be carried with you or refilled at overnight huts. That said, there are many reasons for nature lovers to enjoy this ever popular pastime and take a hike in South Africa.