Hiking, Trekking, Tramping, Walking in South Africa

Hiking in South Africa.

The Otter Trail along the Tsitsikamma coast is probably the most popular hike in the country. Lush forests, rugged shorelines, mountain streams and waterfalls, and fragrant fynbos together make this a really special one. It is pretty strenuous with lots of ups and downs, but the distances are not enormous.

If you fancy the walking and the scenery but can't quite cope with the idea of spending the night in a basic hiking hut you could do one of the luxury or escorted hikes with hotel or guest house accommodation - and perhaps even have your luggage taken from stop to stop by vehicle.

For any purists on South African holiday wrinkling their noses up at this, these luxury trails are in the minority. There are miles and miles of unspoiled hiking trail traversing high mountains, deserts and forests where the accommodation is the usual hiking hut, and the cuisine whatever you decided to carry with you.

Some of the best hiking is in the Cederberg, near Cape Town, and the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal, where you can hike for days without seeing a hut or a route marker. These are designated wilderness areas and hikers simply take a map and a permit and set off, sleeping under the stars or in convenient caves.

Of course, the most important aspect of a South African holiday hiking trail is that you don't constantly bump into other people - that really would defeat the object. And the only way to ensure that is to limit numbers, so that means you have to book. You really have to!

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