Posted by Kyle Redelinghuys in Hiking, Trails on August 10, 2015
After our fantastic Gorge hike we did the previous day, we decided to do some adventuring close to our accommodation. A short drive away, we found a few really good routes to go through. The hiking gang had all decided to do various activities today – high tea, spa treatments, a look into the mountain biking, and maybe even some putt-putt. For this hike then, it was only myself, Janine and Heidi. Due to yesterdays unexpectedly long hike, we aimed to do a shorter one today.
After finding out the routes available, we decided to opt for the Cow Trail, mixing a few of the other short trails in. We struggled a bit to find the entrance to the trails which was nestled in around the side of the resort, and immediately began with a shaded walk with pine needles underfoot. The beauty of the Drakensberg will never cease to amaze me. We followed the single track through and around the side of the mountain, eventually opening up. As we walked we could see the other trails linking in, and some really really fantastic mountain biking trails. I don’t mountain bike at all, but a lot of the longer routes (30km+) around JHB are made for mountain bikes, so I just run those. I can definitely appreciate how fun they can be on a bike though 🙂
After a very short walk, we found ourselves at the halfway point. A lot of these hikes are clearly made for those who want just a short stroll through some great scenery, but you can easily make them longer by linking them. We decided to go a bit off trail, following the somewhat dry riverbed down into the gorge. This was truly off trail, with us being very careful to not slip on the smooth rocks. We hopped and climbed our way down for a short while longer before hitting some pretty thick bush. Due to time constraints, we decided to head back and get onto another trail, taking us back to the lodge.
We shortly found ourselves at an intersection of trails, some mountain bike and longer day trails, overlooking a fantastic lake nestled in the mountains. Janine and I took turns daring the jetty which was decidedly unstable. I made it quite far out before almost falling into the water – safe to say it made for a great balancing exercise. We then head around the lake, following the trail on the other side of the gorge. The path we were on was quite precarious at some stages, with near sheer drops on the one side and some loose rock underfoot. In the distance we could hear baboons calling somewhat aggressively. Luckily for us, we were headed in the opposite direction, but were still aware of their presence as they can be really dangerous.
The trail then lead us down a very steep path back towards the lodge, through the horse stables. We sat down and had some tea and drinks, before heading back to our own lodge. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying the berg. We decided to have a braai that evening, and with the temperatures really dropping we found ourselves having a “lodge party” with fireplace burning strong. Safe to say, it was a day very well spent.