Blinkwater Trails -

2017-05-17 06:01
The scenic expanse from the Blinkwater Trails.

The scenic expanse from the Blinkwater Trails.

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ON the doorstep of Umvoti residents, the Blinkwater Trails that were established 20 years ago provide an interesting and scenically spectacular outing for hikers.

However, this beautiful area is not freely open to the public as it makes use of three primary landowners - Sappi, Mondi and KZN Ezemvelo, which manages the Blinkwater Nature Reserve and upper grassland area. Overnight hikers and day walkers need to obtain the necessary permits in order to gain access to the trails.

Blinkwater Trails are in the Karkloof mountain range between Karkloof and New Hanover-Seven Oaks farming areas and have recently been given exposure through the inaugural Coddiwomple Blinkwater Trail Run Challenge, as well as the launch of a dedicated website www.blinkwatertrails.co.za and a Facebook page.

The Blinkwater Trails are available to day walkers and overnight hikers. However, the use of motorcycles is strictly prohibited as there is a real potential for erosion as well as a negative impact to flora and fauna. Any transgression of this nature will lead to prosecution.

There are two starting points - on the southern section from the Mondi Seele Workshop and on the northern section from Mountain Falls Cottage.

The trail currently offers two cottages for overnight hikers with bunk bed, ablutions and basic kitchen facilities. Bookings must be done via the website and the fee is R100 per person per night. Day walks are only permitted from the Mountain Falls cottage R20 per adult and R10 for under 12's - these walks cannot be done without a permit to be obtained from the staff at Mountain Falls.

Blinkwater Trails are a delight to those who venture forth and offer an abundance of spectacular views, fauna and flora.

From the upper grasslands, the views looking north and eastwards encompass the upper reaches of the Umvoti River and from the south-western side, Albert Falls Dam, Ottos Bluff and beyond - if there is snow on the Drakensberg that too will be visible in all it’s splendour. Birdlife is plentiful - with some 135 species of birds, besides the smaller creatures such as butterflies, fresh water fish in the streams, snakes and a good variety of insects. For more information go to www.blinkwatertrails.co.za For hiking email gohike@blinkwatertrails.co.za and for day walk permits contact Elise Stoltz on 076 850 8312.

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