Average read time: 5 minutes.
If you’ve been on the lookout for a novel way to see more of South Africa, we’ve got a great suggestion for you – go on foot! Hiking is an amazing way to discover some of the most epic regions the country has to offer.
To inspire you to squeak a tekkie, ASA has rounded up five fantastic hiking tours and destinations in the beautiful Western Cape.
Organised walking tours
Let’s start with some options for organised walking tours. These are great if you like to hitch your wagon to a seasoned team of hikers and guides who know what they’re doing. This way you can simply hike up your trainers, slather on some sunscreen and follow in their slipstream to enjoy an awesome experience.
Silent Steps (Shoreline of the San)
Silent Steps is a guided hiking provider headed up by the inimitable Anette Grobler – a former SANDF Major with eight years experience in the army and one of the first-ever women selected to attempt the extremely challenging Special Forces’ entry course. She also happens to be a nature lover with a soft spot for the West Coast in particular.
Silent Steps offers a variety of all-inclusive slack-packing experiences in different areas throughout South Africa. FYI, a ‘slack-packing hike’ is one where most of your basic necessities are provided, including meals and very comfortable accommodation. Your luggage is also transported to your accommodation daily, which only leaves you with your water and snacks to carry in your pack during the day.
The Shoreline of the Sun experience meanders along 50km of untouched coastline over 5 days, with sleepovers in Elands Bay, Lamberts Bay, and Doringbaai, before ending in Strandfontein, which is located close to the Olifants River. Along the way, you’ll discover pristine beaches, picturesque coves, ancient rock formations, and even a labyrinth…
The hikes do tend to fill up quickly, so book ASAP if you want to secure a spot on a 2022 hike with Anette.
Mountain View Trails
Indulge in a 6-day, 5-night slackpacking experience that hits all the scenic high notes in the gorgeous Western Cape, at a comfortable pace. With its base at Bergsicht Town Cottages in the heart of historic Tulbagh, this meandering journey takes hikers to some of the most highly-regarded walking routes throughout the province, one day at a time.
This includes a 14km route through West Coast National Park at the pinnacle of wildflower season, as well as a 10km route in the fynbos-rich mountains of Tulbagh. Not to mention a stunning 5km hike in the Ceres mountains and an excursion to Waterval Nature Reserve. In between all this gentle hiking in picturesque surroundings, your guides will introduce you to some of the region’s most popular wineries and their exceptional vintages.
The cost of the tour includes all accommodation, meals, park fees, transport to and from the hiking locations, as well as the services of a highly trained guide who will share interesting insights into the different regions you explore, as well as its spectacular natural riches.
Hike Like a Girl
Keen to join in on an organised hike, but not quite comfortable in a mixed-gender environment? We get that. It’s an all too sad, but true, fact that women traveling
and adventuring alone are at greater risk than their male counterparts. So, if you don’t have a friend or partner to take along on a hike, but still want to get a move on, we highly recommend Hike Like A Girl!
This innovative company offers guided walking excursions throughout South Africa that are exclusively on offer for female hikers. This includes all-inclusive hikes starting from Mount Ceder in the Cederberg, Bezhoek Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga, and Rusty Gate Mountain Retreat near Greyton in the Overberg.
Self-guided hiking destinations
The Cederberg area is well-known among the hiking, trail running, MTB, rock-climbing, and scrambling communities in and around Cape Town – and with good reason.
It’s not too far away from the city (around a 3-hour drive if you time it right), but once you make your way over the mountain pass that brings you into the Cederberg Conservancy, you might as well be a million miles away.
The serene quiet and breathtaking natural beauty of the area is absolutely captivating. Exposure to natural elements and an amazing feeling of freedom and much-needed isolation make for a true wilderness experience that will keep calling you back for more.
There are a variety of overnight hiking routes on offer, for which permits must be obtained from CapeNature (bookings office in Cape Town or the Algeria office). Alternatively, you can also try one or two-day hikes if you rather want to ease into it on your first visit.
Find more info on hiking in the Cederberg on www.cederberg.co.za
Greyton is one of those small towns that just absolutely steal your heart as soon as you step inside its magical perimeters. This arty little hamlet in the Overberg is pretty as a picture, filled with all sorts of creative makers and artisans, and happens to have some rather epic hiking routes right in its collective backyard to boot.
The Greyton Conservation Society works to protect and maintain the natural, heritage, and built resources within and surrounding Greyton, which includes marking and maintaining hiking trails.
As such, the town is surrounded by a plethora of hiking trails of all lengths and heights, accessible for all levels of fitness. The hike from Greyton to McGregor along the Boesmanskloof trail is arguably the most popular, but the short walk to the waterfall is just as lovely.
Find more info about hiking in Greyton here www.greytonconservationsociety.com
There you have it – three options for organised walking tours, and two options for places where you can go on self-guided hikes any time you like. What are you waiting for? South Africa’s gorgeous hinterland is calling your name – go stretch those legs and explore!
Words | Anna-Bet Stemmet @skryfyster
Editor | Nikki Temkin @NikkiTemkin
Images | Images supplied by activity providers; Greyton photos by Sven Hugo, Cederberg photos by Jenni Elizabeth, Hike Like A Girl photos by ProV Productions.