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Take a Hike

Need fresh air and a fresh, new perspective? Then hiking is the way to go. We explore 4 of SA’s best family-friendly trails.

The Pipe Track, Western Cape
Nothing beats waking up, seeing it’s a gorgeous day and being able to go on a hike without driving far or packing a heavy backpack. If you’re in Cape Town – and the mood strikes – the Pipe Track is one of your best bets for a family-friendly walk on Table Mountain.

The trail starts right opposite the first Cableway parking area, just before driving over Kloofnek. It’s a fairly easy amble, with hardly any steep climbs on the contour path, so you’re free to give the magnificent views of Camps Bay, Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles your undivided attention.

Take a moment to enjoy a JOYA® apple on one of the benches perched along the way, and be sure to walk in a group – it’s the safer option.

Duration: 4.5 hours return
Distance: 6km one way
More info: www.sanparks.org, +27 (0)12 428 9111

Giant’s Cup Slackpacking Trail, KwaZulu-Natal
If you’re serious about hiking, exploring the paths that run across South Africa’s highest mountain range, the Drakensberg, should be on your bucket list. For families, we highly recommend the Giant’s Cup Slackpacking Trail.

While the hike offers a few steep climbs and longer distances of between 13 and 18km a day, you can kick off your boots and sleep in a comfortable lodge or farmstay at night. Yes, you get to trade the crackers, two-minute noodles and rehydrated veggies for a delicious meal and a hot shower! Without the heavy backpack, exploring the spectacular base of the southern Drakensberg – a trail that takes you from Sani Pass in the north to Bushman’s Nek in the south – is a comfortable, not-too-strenuous hike that even less experienced hikers will enjoy.

Duration: 3 or 4 days (you decide!)
Distance: 42–60km
More info: www.drakensberghikes.co.za
Bookings: tours@active-escapes.co.za, +27 (0)33 329 5259

The Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail, Western Cape
Visiting Cape Point on a day trip to the lookout point is one thing, but doing a two-day hike through the park is a whole different story. If you’re keen to walk among fynbos, drink sundowners while enjoying uninterrupted views of False Bay, and see a myriad of turquoise-coloured coves along the rugged coastline, this hike is for you.

It’s family friendly in the sense that you don’t have to carry a large backpack – Sanparks staff will deliver your supplies to the overnight cabin. And there’s lots for kids to see along the way, including a few baboons, eland, klipspringers, ostriches and the occasional whale.

Note that the distances are quite long, and that younger children and inexperienced hikers might find the trail too strenuous. The circular trail begins and ends at the entrance gate to the park, making it easy (and safe) to leave your car overnight.

Duration: 2 days
Distance: 33.8km
More info: www.sanparks.org, +27 (0)12 428 9111

Die Strandloper, Eastern Cape
This slackpacking trail must be one of South Africa’s best, yet it remains a bit of a secret that those who have hiked it are loathe to share. The trail stretches across miles and miles of pristine beach, where spotting dolphins in the wild waters is par for the course. The overnight huts are rustic but wonderfully located (some in dense coastal forests; others right on the rocks where the waves break), and bathing in the gentle, warm estuaries along the way is simply exquisite.

Hiking through small beach towns during the four-day trail makes it easy to pick up supplies and have decent meals every other day. While getting to Kei Mouth, where the trail starts, can be quite a trek, it’s absolutely worth it. You’ll feel like you’re worlds away from civilization.

Duration: 4 days
Distance: 57km
More info: www.strandlopertrails.org.za

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