Multi-day Hikes in South Africa That Is Good Enough to be on Everyone’s Wishlist

You’ve probably seen a list very similar to this one before. We can all admit it. This one, on the other hand, is a little bit different in that I’ve spoken with hiking experts and enthusiasts from all over the country to make sure that this list is as close to the comprehensive list as it possibly can be. 

If you were searching for a list of incredible, must-do multi-day hikes to cross off your bucket list over the next five, ten, or twenty years, then this is the one you’ve been looking for. 

There are a few noteworthy people who were not included on the list. For instance, the Fish River was not included in the survey because it is located in Namibia. The magnificent and unrivaled Rim of Africa is a guided hike that takes place only once a year and lasts for nine weeks. Although it is an exceptional trail, it was not included in this package because it is not a pretty standard trail. Have a look at this list and decide which path you want to hike next, and then get out there! 

Amatola Trail

Both the Cape Parrot and the Knysna Turaco are common birds that can be seen and heard in the mornings. Credit must be given to Matthew Sterne 

The Amatola Trail, which is frequently referred to as the most difficult trek in South Africa, is deserving of other superlatives as well. My most vivid recollection is of the winding paths through the forest, which were adorned with tiny ferns that glowed in the dark, trees that were covered in moss, and a canopy of leaves that formed a roof above the lush vegetation cavern.

Through verdant canyons and up to the flower-strewn pastures and mountains of the Amatola Range lie in wait for you each day during the 10 hours of descending and ascending that are in store for you. You are responsible for guiding yourself through this arduous trail, and you must bring everything you will need with you. If something were to go wrong while you were adventuring in this wild mountain area, it would be a long way back to civilization. 

  • Backpacking trips that include stays in huts 
  • Length: 6 days 
  • Range: 100 km 

Pondo Trail

Every dinner is a lavish banquet that is completely catered, and some of the dishes served include fillet with mushroom sauce, chicken curry, and a seafood platter. Credit must be given to Matthew Sterne 

If only more people knew about this path, I do not doubt that it would be at the top of every hiker’s bucket list. From Mtentu down to Manteku is the section of the Wild Coast that is considered to be the most rugged. On average, some rivers meet the coast every two and a half kilometers. Each day brings something new, including a variety of stunning grasslands, ravines, a shelf section, a cliff section, and a string of lovely beaches.

The most picture-perfect part is located at Waterfall Bluff, which features a rare phenomenon in which waterfalls tumble into the ocean; however, the entire area is stunningly gorgeous. This hike with Wild Child Africa is made even more enjoyable by the fact that it is fully catered, featuring seafood from the region, cold G&Ts waiting for you at the close of the day, and local guides who are extremely knowledgeable. 

  • Slackpacking trips with tented huts as the accommodation type. 
  • Length: 5 days 
  • Range: 100 km Cost: R10 500 pp 

Trail of the Wild Coast

Another stunning hike in the area that was formerly known as the Transkei, this stretch of land features deserted beaches, undulating grassy hills, and colorful huts, as well as the infrequent beach-loitering cow. In most cases, it begins in Port St. Johns and winds its way to Coffee Bay, making late-night stops in rural communities along the way.

Wildside Hiking provides guided hiking tours, all of which are led by guides who were born and raised in the communities that are in the immediate area. Activities along the way involve fishing, crayfishing, visiting sangomas, engaging in a traditional dance with locals, and learning isiXhosa. The farmsteads provide a cooked Xhosa lunch each night. The months of May through the middle of August are ideal for a vacation. 

  • Type: Camping in the great outdoors in authentic huts 
  • Length: 5 days 
  • The distance is 61 kilometers, and the cost starts at R3,750 per person.
  • This price includes a shuttle to and from East London as well as a night’s stay in Port St. John’s. 

The Otter Trail (OTR)

They don’t call the Otter “The Prince of Trails” for no reason, as it is universally acknowledged to be one of the very best hiking trails in the entire world. Even your most talkative aunt will be speechless after taking the 45-kilometer coastal walk from Storms River to Nature’s Valley because of the pristine coastline, rockpools, and secluded huts along the way. However, she may have trouble making it to the end of the hike.

Ascents up steep terrain, the discovery of hidden waterfalls, and navigating rivers at midnight are all part of the adventure. For South Africa’s most popular hiking route, permits go on sale a year in advance, but the anticipation is well worth it. 

  • Style: tent camping in the backcountry 
  • Length: 5 days 
  • Range: 45 km Cost: R1 465 per person

The Whale Trail

In addition to the vultures, the coastal beauty, and the splendor of the ocean, this location offers accommodations that are in a league of their own. To refer to these dwellings as huts is analogous to referring to the Drakensberg as a mountain. They’re a little bit beyond that, to be sure. You can look forward to taking strolls along the beach, having an abundance of wine waiting for you in the huts (if you’re doing it right), and sleeping in comfortable beds. Oh, and between June and November, when southern right whales relocate here to breed and care for their young, the coastline undergoes a remarkable transformation. 

  • Slackpacking is the category
  • Length: 5 days 
  • 55 kilometers are covered
  • The cost is either R2 900 during peak hours or R1 795 during off-peak hours

Central Cederberg Circuit

We started our descent from Sneeuberg at a slightly advanced hour, but the scenery was still breathtaking. In the Cederberg, the summit of Sneeuberg is the highest point. Credit must be given to Matthew Sterne 

For those who aren’t familiar with the area, the Cederberg can be a confusing and difficult place to navigate. From where does it begin? Where does it end? Where should we go hiking, as this is the most important question? This route will take you through a wilderness area that is so vast that it requires multiple visits to fully comprehend, but it is likely the most effective way to become acquainted with the region.

“This journey explores a few of the most legendary places in the Cederberg and is among the best five-day hikes I have completed anywhere,” said our friends at Hiking South Africa.   This route will take you by the Crystal Pools, Welbedacht Cave, the Wolfberg Arch and Wolfberg Cracks, the Maltese Cross, and Sneeuberg. 

  • Camping in the great outdoors 
  • Length: 5 days 
  • Costs R740 over a distance of 72 kilometers 

Mnweni Circuit

In a manner analogous to that of the Cederberg, the Drakensberg is home to an overwhelming number of hiking paths and roads, making it challenging to decide which one to take. In recent years, Mnweni has become very popular among those who are in the know, and it is now considered to be among the most memorable areas of the high Berg. This trekking trail is controlled by the amaNgwane Tribal Authority and passes through land that is occupied by traditional Zulu communities as well as small-scale farmers. It is located in the space between the more well-known Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak. 

  • Camping in the great outdoors 
  • Period: three days 
  • Proximity: 40 km Cost: From R500 pp

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