Wartrail – Southern Drakensberg Hike

 

Duration: 5 Days*
Grading: C (see Grading)
Departs: Sundays

 

Drakensberg HikeA spectacular Southern Drakensberg Hike, reaching altitudes of 2700m. Home to the Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Black Eagle, alpine wildflowers and small wildlife, this hike leaves you with breath-taking memories. Overnight at B&B’s along the way.Take with you only day packs while your backpacks are transported to your next destination. This is your chance to experience true Eastern Cape hospitality, and the natural splendour of the Southern Drakensberg Hike.The terrain is montane grassland, and altitudes range from 1800m to 2700m above sea-level affording the hiker Drakensberg Hikespectacular views of the Southern Drakensberg and the Maluti mountains of Lesotho.Hikes are tailored to the groups’ needs i.e. strong hikers will be able to walk up to the peaks of the Southern Drakensberg whereas more moderate hikes are available for those wanting a more sedate walk.

Hikes are unmarked and therefore guides are needed. Each hiker is supplied with a lunch-pack. Dinner will consist of a 3-course meal and breakfast is a farm-style affair

Drakensberg HikeWildlife:

The Drakensberg Hike traverses well-managed farmland. Smaller wildlife can be spotted e.g. mountain reedbuck, grysbok, black-backed jackal, lynx, dassies and porcupines as well as 282 species of bird, including black eagle, cape vulture, crested crane and bearded vulture or Lammergeier.

Climate:

A typical highland climate with moderate summers and cold winters. The area has summer rainfall with afternoon thunderstorms.

It is suggested that you start your trails early in the morning so that you have descended the mountain soon after Drakensberg Hikelunchtime on this beautiful Drakensberg Hike.

Day 1 Arrive at Rosstrevor Guest Farm (20kms from Barkly East), meet up with your fellow travellers and relax after your journey into the North Eastern Cape. Let Phil & Kate spoil you with a sumptuous dinner in their restaurant, housed in a sandstone barn dating back to the 1890’s, as they brief you on the route.

Now is the time to check your bags. Remember, you don’t need to toss out all those extra goodies, as you only carry your daypacks. Accommodation is provided in a charming Victorian farmhouse.

Day 2 After a farm-style breakfast and briefing you have the opportunity to relax or fly-fish for a couple of hours before Drakensberg Hikestarting the hike from Rosstrevor to Pitlochrie.

This first day is intended to give everyone an opportunity to acclimatise, so we travel a fairly flat route along a beautiful river gorge, with opportunities to swim and to view bushman paintings.

By mid-afternoon we arrive at Pitlochrie, a stunning English-style farm with emerald-green lands and woods behind the main house. Enjoy your evening at Pitlochrie Cottage with hosts Joe & Clare.

Day 3 After breakfast, set out on your hike – a more challenging walk awaits you as you climb from Pitlochrie over to Balloch, which is a natural heritage site.

Take in the stunning sandstone formations, home to Bushman paintings, dassies, waterfalls and sparkling pools inviting you for a swim. Walk along a gurgling trout river to Glenshee Homestead or Willowstream Cottage, your accommodation for the night, nestling in one of the prettiest valleys in the area. Meet your hosts, Margy & Graham, before settling down to a delicious farm dinner.

Day 4 Today you are rewarded with glorious views over the rugged scenery of the Transkei and Lesotho. There is plenty of time to stop and take in the beautiful alpine wildflowers. Perhaps you are lucky enough to see a Lammergeier accompany you on the walk.

There is the choice of a challenging hike, which ascends The Wall, aptly named by the Sky Run participants, to 2700m and then descends down to Reedsdell, or a more moderate countour hike around the mountain for the less energetic. Spend the evening in Reedsdell’s comfortable sandstone farmhouse with Chris & Kath.

Day 5 A steep climb through Edgehill brings you out on top of the world as you admire the breath-taking views over the Wartrail & New England valleys, before descending to Bidstone Guest Farm where Andrew & Janet invite you to rest for the night. Reminisce over the past 5 days before climbing into a welcoming bed, resting before your trip home tomorrow.

Total tour price (per person)

R4,395 – 4 hikers
R3,845 – 6 hikers
R3,575 – 8 hikers

Included:

• Farmhouse breakfast and 3 course dinner
• Accommodation in quality guest farms selected for their beauty and tranquility
• Guiding
• Packed lunches
• Transportation of luggage between overnight stops

 

Wartrail Skytrail Guides
You will have the privilege of being guided by each landowner (and/or his/her staff) over whose property you hike.

Philip Harrison: Runs Wild Mountain Adventures with his partner Kate. Phil is an experienced mountain guide and has a good knowledge of the highveld wildlife.

Joe Sephton: farms Pitlochrie with his wife Clare. Joe is a qualified guide and is also an experienced mountain athlete, having participated in most of the mountain races in our area.

Margy Frost: farms Balloch with her husband Graham. Margy ran her trout hatchery until recently. “I love walking over our mountains and am passionate about our magnificent scenery”

Tskholo Mojaki: farms with Chris & Kath on Reedsdell. Tskholo has trained to be a nature site guide. He is young, enthusiastic & extremely knowledgeable of the area. He especially enjoys sharing his cultural background with you & he converses in English, Xhosa & Sesotho.

Andrew Viedge: farms Bidstone with his wife Janet. Andy is an experienced Skyrun participant – this 100km trail run includes much of the route of the Wartrail Skywalk.