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High Five Trail: Hike the Drakensberg you never knew about

The first day of the High Five Trail starts in the Komati River Valley and ends on the lip of the Drakensberg plateau.
The first day of the High Five Trail starts in the Komati River Valley and ends on the lip of the Drakensberg plateau.

It’s easy to forget that the Drakensberg isn’t just a KZN thing. Hike up high  and down low on the High Five Trail in Mpumalanga. 

Have you heard about the network of hiking trails and base camps between eNtokozweni (Machadodorp) and eManzana (Badplaas)? There’s Mount Komati, Oom Paul, Bloutrein, Bermanzi… and the most diverse of them all, the High Five Trail, previously known as the Num-Num Trail. 

My husband Hancu and I hiked this four-day trail twice in one year and we’ve done a few of the nearby day hikes, too. On all the trails, you feel the wind on the Highveld plateau, scramble down the escarpment and rest in the shade of forest giants. The kor-kor of a purple-crested turaco will follow you through the forest as you sidestep tree roots. Look up and you might glimpse the red flash of the bird’s underwing. Cape vultures ride the thermals high above the mountain slopes while a brown-hooded kingfisher goes ki-ti-ti-ti from its perch overlooking the babbling waters of the Komati River…

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