South Africa is home to safaris, family holidays, exotic beach vacations, wine country getaways, music tourism, and adventure tourism. Adventure travel is a popular vacation niche for thrill-seekers. Popular adventure tours in South Africa include spelunking, bungee jumping, cave diving, shipwreck exploration, and cage diving with great white sharks.
Hiking also qualifies as an adventure travel activity, especially if you’re hiking the world’s second largest waterfall or scaling Table Mountain’s steepest inclines. Avid hikers come to South Africa because of the diversity of the trails and ecosystems. On the same trip travelers can experience dense forests and waterfalls in the mountains and sandy dunes along the coast. When considering where to hike in South Africa, start with these best-loved trails.
Top 6 Hiking Trails in South Africa
1. Leopard’s Kloof Hiking Trail
East of Cape Town, hidden within Betty’s Bay — a small holiday town on the Western Cape — is the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden. Open to the public year round, this national treasure encompasses verdant mountain slopes, deep gorges, and abundant waterfalls. Leopard’s Kloof Hiking Trail follows various waterfalls and crystal clear pools within the dense forest of the botanical garden. This trail an excellent choice for the casual hiker or families since the trail is designed for people of all walking abilities.
2. Dolphin Hiking Trail
Dolphin Hiking Trail is ideal for hikers who are hoping to spot wildlife during their trek. This trail is located within Tsitsikamma National Park on the Eastern Cape. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including otters and dolphins. The famous Otter Trail is located within the same park, but the Dolphin Trail is far less strenuous. As the name suggests, hikers are likely to spot dolphins as the trail winds toward the coast.
3. Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail
If you think that the name suggests a steep and daunting hike, you’d be correct in your assumption. The Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail is for more advanced hikers and the athletically inclined. Hikers who choose to take this route up the famed Table Mountain will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Cape Town at the summit.
4. Roseate Tern Hiking Trail
Situated in charming Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape, Roseate Tern Hiking Trail is a lovely seaside stroll for all walking abilities. The trail is best known for its sweeping views of the dunes. Birdwatchers will enjoy the wide variety of coastal birds. Along the 6-mile trail is a 150-year old lighthouse, which makes for a perfect vacation photo op. This trail is a wonderful choice for hikers in search of a more relaxing experience.
5. Tugela Gorge Hiking Trail
Tugela Gorge is another trail for advanced hikers. You will need the stamina to scale boulders at the end of the trail in order to see views of Tugela, the 3,110 ft. waterfall. Many first time travelers to South Africa are surprised to learn that Tugela Falls is the world’s second largest waterfall. This makes the challenging trek well worth the effort.
6. Addo’s Alexandria Hiking Trail
For the expert hikers, the two-day hike along Addo’s Alexandria Hiking Trail will take travelers through three distinctly different ecosystems. The trail begins in Addo Elephant National Park and takes hikers through thick forests, expansive sand dunes, and long stretches of white beaches along the coast. The trail is nearly 20 miles long.
Experience the breathtaking views from the top of Table Mountain on our upcoming 2018 Best of Cape Town Tour. For more tips, ideas, and advice for seeing all there is to see in South Africa, visit us at vacationtosouthafrica.com.