Best winter hikes

2013-05-28 14:50

I say winter, you think what? Hot chocolate, movies, hot water bottles, snuggling under duvets and being all cosy at home. Right?

Well, to a degree. But it also happens to be an excellent season for getting outdoors and doing something strenuous. Yup, that's right! Especially to explore those areas that are harassed by soaring temperatures during summer months. 

So, if you're the active type and want to keep the blood pumping throughout winter, we suggest trying one of these seven hiking trails.

Klipspringer hiking trail

There's no better way to truly experience the geology, flora, and fauna of Augrabies Falls National Park than hiking through its heartland, and that's exactly where the Klipspringer trail takes you. The 39.5km hike takes three days with two overnights in rustic huts. No electricity or showers are provided and hikers must bring their own sleeping bags, torches/candles, crockery and cutlery. In short, it's aimed mostly at experienced hikers and fit adventure seekers. It's only open between April and October. 

For more information: Check out the SANParks website 

One of Kruger's wilderness trails

There are currently seven wilderness trails in the Kruger National Park, located in different areas. Most of them can be found in the middle and south, while one is in the far north. Simple, but wholesome meals as well as accommodation are provided on all trails. During winter temperatures are mild in the park and it's also the best time of year for spotting game! Read more about them in our Kruger's Wild Walks article

For more information: Check out the SANParks website 

Wild Coast Walk

Like the outdoors, but also enjoy your luxuries? This slackpacking, hotel-hopping route is certainly for you! The full trail is 85km long, takes six days, and extends southwards from Kob Inn in the north to the small town of Chintsa in the south. However, you can choose to do only a part of it. Luggage is transferred from hotel to hotel on a daily basis, and all meals are provided (including a packed lunch).

Did we mention it meanders through some of the most pristine and beautiful scenery along our coastline?

According to the website, the best time to go is between March and October, as the days are generally clear and cool for hiking and the rivers are low for easy crossing.

For more information: Visit the Wild Coast Walk website 


Kaapschehoop is located near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and consists of several individual trail sections that can be combined together to form a trail of between two and five day duration. The trails are situated in the historic De Kaap Gold Fields, meandering through hills, valleys, gorges, forests and streams. 

During the hike, keep your eyes peeled for the wild horses that dwell in this area - they add a further element of magic and mystery to the already fantasy-like setting. 

For more information: Check out the Komatie Tourism website

Fish River Canyon

Due to flooding and extremely hot summer temperatures reaching 48°C in the day and 30°C at night in summer, permits to do the Fish River Canyon hiking trail are only issued between 1 May and 15 September.

Though immensely challenging and rugged, it's one of the most popular hiking trails in southern Africa. It follow 88 kilometres of the Fish River starting at the Hobas viewing point and finishing at Ai Ais Hot Springs Spa, both in Southern Namibia. There are a number of footpaths through the canyon, but the trail is not fixed leaving the hiker to decide where and how long to hike. As no amenities are available on the trail, hikers need to carry all their equipment and food with them.

For more information: Contact Namibia Wildlife Resorts' Cape Town office on 021 4223761 or send them an email to

Tierkloof in Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Starting in succulent Karoo, this 2 day (14.5 km + 13 km) is a moderately strenuous trail taking hikers through a deep, forested ravine onto a fynbos-rich mountain plateau. Here they overnight at the remote Oukraal campsite and enjoy spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges. It's located in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve just outside Oudtshoorn, which is characterised by rugged, mountainous terrain and a plateau incised by deep ravines.

The reserve lies between the winter and summer rainfall regions, experiencing gentle soaking rain in winter, so be sure to have waterproof gear at hand as well as dry, warm clothes for night time.

For more information: Visit the CapeNature website 

Wellington Wine Walk

Like the Wild Coast Walk, this is a perfect blend between outdoor adventure and luxurious living. The trail lasts either three or four days, meandering through indigenous fynbos, vineyards, orchards and olive groves and a knowledgeable guide accompanies you along the way. 

Luggage is transported between overnight accommodation, which is all provided by guesthouses on historic Huguenot farms. Along the way, there are regular stops to taste the Wellington wines, cheeses and olives produced in this fertile valley.

As the Wellington bowl experiences extreme heat during summer, these walking tours only take place from March through to November. 

For more information: Visit the Wine Walk website 

Read more on:    travel south africa

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