Top Trails in SA

Some of the best in Southern Africa

Hiking in Southern Africa is an awesome experience.

South Africa boasts fantastically exquisite and picturesque terrains.

The best way to experience the scenery and the rugged beauty that it offers is to do so on foot. 

Southern Africa boasts some of the most majestic mountains ranges in the world; 2 of the world’s largest canyons; numerous record breaking waterfalls, including the mighty Victoria Falls and it features kilometres of unspoilt coastline.  Hikers will undoubtedly create unique and unforgettable memories.

The Western Cape offers the most varied and interesting concentration of hiking trails. Admire mystical mountain ranges including the renowned Table Mountain and the Cederberg whilst discovering the indigenous fauna and flora, blossoming wine farms and vineyards, lush forests, waterfalls, craggy cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches.

Kwa-Zulu Natal offers the magnificent and renowned Drakensberg Mountain Range. In addition to the panoramic views there are also stunning waterfalls, indigenous forests and magnificent escarpments to feast the soul on.

The Tsitsikamma coastline offers the most popular hiking trails through lush indigenous forests, sandy beaches and magnificent mountains; all of which offers breath-taking views. The word famous Otter Trail is by far the most popular hike in South Africa. Lush forests, rugged shorelines, mountain streams, waterfalls and fragrant fynbos make this an exceptional South African hiking experience. It is quite strenuous and not for the unfit.

For those more inclined to hiking a slackpack route – try the Whale Trail. The Whale Trail passes through an unbelievable expanse of fynbos, whilst hugging the coastline.  Views of the Breede River make perfect camera breaks.  In Whale season (September to November) pods of Southern Right Whales can be spotted frolicking in the waters below.

The Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape offers spectacularly different scenery including miles of deserted beaches, wave-lashed rocks and tropical forests – all making for an invigorating South African hiking experience. There are miles and miles of unspoiled hiking trails passing through high mountains, dusty deserts and forests. Some of the better known hikes in this region include: Strandloper, Swart Tobie and the Shipwreck hiking trails.

In the Northern Cape and slightly further afield in Namibia we have hikes in the desert, that offer a stark almost surreal change of scenery. The vast open expanses are bound to take your breath away and fill you with peace. The Tankwa Camino takes you on a soul journey; whilst the Fish River canyon will move you to marvel at creation.

The spectacular Drakensberg mountain range that extends into several South African provinces including the landlocked Lesotho offers many hiking opportunities. Various vertical chain ladders, gorges, gullies and peaks have become amongst hikers. There are only a few marked trails like the Giant’s Cup in the Drakensberg; so take care to with a guide.

Further inland is Mpumalanga which presents hikers with magical views of the Lowveld’s Blyde River Canyon.  An array of waterfalls presents hikers with various natural swimming pools too cool off in, after a hike.  Many beautiful weekend hikes can be found in the Olifants river gorge, all within driving distance from Gauteng.

The neighbouring countries like Swaziland, Lesotho do well to offer local and international hikers even more wonderful hiking opportunities.  If it is wildlife you’re after; consider hiking in the Kruger National Park where there are several guided hiking options.

One unmissable hiking opportunity can be found on the island of Reunion. Reunion is a volcanic island with an active volcano, which makes for a thrilling adventure. Read the report below: Cirque De Mafate.

There are numerous hiking clubs in most provinces of South Africa, each offering the promise of great conversation around a campfire.  Contact a club close to you for more information on how to get out into nature and get hiking!