The Otter Trail along the Tsitsikamma coast is
probably the most popular hike in the country. Lush
forests, rugged shorelines, mountain streams and
waterfalls and fragrant fynbos make this a special
one. It's strenuous, with lots of ups and downs, but
the distances aren't too great.
If you want the scenery and walking with less slog
and more luxury, try the Dolphin Trail. It traverses
similar terrain to the Otter - joining up with it in
places - but instead of hiking huts you stay in
fully catered guest houses with great views and good
food. Your pack is transported to your next
overnight spot by vehicle, and you carry only a day
pack with lunch, water, camera and swimsuit.
The Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape offers similar
trails but dramatically different scenery: miles of
deserted beaches, wave-lashed rocks and occasional
SA National Parks - to book on the Otter
Trail, Dolphin Trail and many more. Many of the
National Parks include a hiking trail.
Cape Nature Conservation - to book on trails
in nearly 20 nature reserves and wilderness areas in
the Western Cape.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife - to book on trails in
the Drakensberg and some scenic trails in
Johannesburg Hiking Club - offers youthful,
midweek and Sunday hikes, a good place to start if
you want to hike in Gauteng.
Footprint Hiking Club - organises trips and
offers information on trail routes, news, advice and
Hike Cape Town - some great suggestions for
walks near Cape Town.
Boksburg Hiking Club - another useful
contact if you want to hike in Gauteng. They hike
all over the country and a diary of events is
available on their website.
Hiking South Africa - a volunteer
organisation that lists telephone contact details
for all the major trails across the country.
Mountain Club of South Africa - hiking is
one of the their main activities. The club has 13
different Sections across the country organising
hikes ranging from day hill walks to multi-day hikes
across remote mountain areas. You can often join one
of their hikes by paying a small fee. This site has
links to the individual Sections.
Accommodation is in coastal hotels instead of huts.
The usual is to carry your pack, but you can arrange
to have it driven around, if you plan ahead.
Purists can tackle the Wild Coast rough as they
like. There are miles and miles of unspoiled hiking
trail traversing high mountains, deserts and
forests, where the accommodation is the usual hiking
hut, and the cuisine whatever you decided to carry.
For an even wilder experience, you can hike for days
in the Cedarberg, near Cape Town, or the Drakensberg
in KwaZulu-Natal, without seeing a hut or a route
marker. These are designated wilderness areas, and
you simply take a map and a permit and set off,
sleeping under the stars or in convenient caves.
There are many others, some of which are on private
land. You can get a reasonable idea of what's
available from the Footprint Hiking Club.
Of course, the most important aspect of a hiking
trail is that you don't constantly bump into other
people. And the only way to ensure that is to limit
numbers, so that means you have to book for most
The all-in-one official guide and web portal to South Africa.
"No person has the right to
enjoy and use what nature has to
offer unless he or she is prepared
to accept the responsibility of
protecting and conserving our