The Swartberg Nature Reserve four-day hike is a strenuous but rewarding trail with beautiful views. Alternatively, slack-packers will enjoy the exciting donkey trail, which allows hikers to soak up their surroundings while donkeys carry their luggage.
Trail distance: 25km
Estimated time: four days
This unique experience combines biodiversity, history and heritage in an exciting four-day trail. Donkeys carry your luggage, leaving you free to explore the beautiful surroundings.
The trail passes by ancient rock art sites, distinctive pioneer architecture and amazing plants. Hikers will indulge in regional cuisine and the famous ports of the region. All meals, trail snacks, bedding and towels, guides, donkeys, porters, CapeNature reserve fees and return transfers over the Swartberg Pass are included in the cost.
Some tips for hikers:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat
- Take a warm jacket/raincoat in winter
- Hikers should bring light flip-flops for the evenings (no one may go barefoot at the rest camp), insect repellent, lip balm, binoculars, camera, personal medication, walking stick, day packs, cash for alcoholic beverages and curios, three layers of clothing for hiking days (T-shirt, fleece and waterproof), long pants
- No firearms or narcotics allowed
- Wine and beer is served at Living Waters and Wyenek. A variety of beverages will be on offer during the last night at Gamkaskloof
The Cederberg Wilderness Area is another CapeNature region where you can get up close and personal with donkeys. Donkey carts are the traditional way to travel in the Cederberg – locals used to use donkeys to carry their produce to Clanwilliam.
The route begins at the top of Pakhuis Pass, where you can leave your car. The two-and-a-half-hour trail ends in the charming Heuningvlei village, one of the 14 Moravian Mission Church outposts. The small local community is known for its production of traditional dried fruit and organic rooibos tea.
Hikers can choose to spend a night or two here before making the return trip to Pakhuis Pass. Mrs Solomon’s guesthouse can accommodate up to six people, and larger parties can stay in the Community Guest Lodge. There is plenty to do in this historic area. Go on a two-hour hike through cedar plantations, explore local rock art sites or visit an organic rooibos tea farm.