On the rare occurrence that I have a Friday off – let alone a Saturday – something epic should be done. This past weekend, I grabbed a friend and we headed to the Magaliesberg for a two night stay.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to that side of the country, and was crazy excited to go on some epic hikes and runs. We arrived Thursday evening to a warm reception from our hosts, Big Creek and quickly settled in excited to get some nature in the following morning. Looking on Google Maps, I found a road that led to what seemed to be interesting part of the mountain, and mapped out more or less of a route.
We headed out around 7:00 (it is a holiday too) and made our way to the first stop. We crossed a bunch of signs for private game reserves, but thought “This is a mountain, there must be some public access to it, even if it is next to a private reserve”. I’ve never heard of a mountain, let alone a nature reserve, being closed off from the public. We asked someone who worked at the reserve if we could hike, and he said it was no problem. We parked, and we were soon on our way up the mountain.
The initial route was quite tough, a heavy incline for around 600 or so meters. The path is relatively well marked at least, with yellow bits of spray paint on seemingly random rocks. Definitely added to the adventure. As we made it the peak, we were amazed by the elevation we achieved in such a short time. On top of the mountain, the views were fantastic.
On the top it’s pretty flat, some minor ups and downs but definitely easy hiking. The trail soon ended and we were doing an off trail route. There is something pretty fantastic about not following a set path; there is a sense of freedom, and this sense of caution along with it. While we were walking, we saw movement and a pair of Wild Reebok ran right in front of us, maybe 25m or so away. I could definitely get used to seeing so much wildlife on every hike.
After making our way fairly far along the ridge, we headed in towards Rustenberg side. The views did not disappoint, and the route was good, easy walking. Eventually we started to head back, going more or less towards where we started. All of this walking was done without a trail path, and was pretty fun to self navigate for once.
The descent was quite steep, and hardly marked at all. It felt more like a clues to a treasure hunt than path markings. We made our way down through some thickish vegetation, and before we knew it were on the path back to the car.
As we got the car, we were greeted by a note and a gentlemen. He opened with a single question “Who are you?”. As it turns out, we were 100% trespassing without realising it. He had no issue with us using the trails, he just asked us to call in advance to let him know. A special thanks to Dave at Phefumula Country Retreat for being cool about everything. The hike was fantastic and a good mix of distance and difficulty, if you’re ever in the area give Dave a shout and ask nicely to go hiking on this great route 🙂