Knysna Forest Tours: Swartberg Mountain Trail

SwartBerg Mountain Trail

We present a guided and fully portaged trail in the Swartberg Nature Reserve. Guests carry only a day pack each day!!
Luggage is transported via 4x4 to overnight stops.

Trail duration:

4 night /5 day trail.
(Please note day 5 is reserved for travel home/transfers back to Knysna or George Airport)

Some facts about the trail:

Climates are extreme here. Very cold winters bringing snow to the mountains and temperatures well below zero. Summers can be very hot with temperatures reaching 40 degrees! Rain occurs throughout the year, peaking in early winter and spring, with thundershowers in the summer months.
Best times to walk are Spring and Autumn.

The vegetation in the Swartberg is very diverse and includes renosterveld, mountain fynbos, Karoo-veld, spekboomveld and numerous geophyte species. Some species bloom throughout the year attracting large numbers of sunbirds and sugarbirds. Great for the twitchers!!

Hikers must be fit to walk this trail!! We have decided to vary the distances and made it as easy as possible but we are still basically walking in the mountains, so preparation is everything in order get the best out of this hike. Expect moderate to strenuous walking on two of the days, no climbing required.

What to bring:

  • Hiking boots and socks
  • Slipslops
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Water bottles/Camel back/day pack
  • 3 layers of upper clothing for hiking days ( shirt, fleece and waterproof)
  • Sleeping bag/pillow (For one night)
  • Extra Snacks (energy bars etc.) We will provide lunch and snacks each day.
  • Torch

Warnings:

Every precaution is taken to ensure safety. Guests will still however be required to sign indemnities before commencing the walk. The trail traverses a remote wilderness area and can only be accessed by 4x4 in daylight hours. Remember we share the mountain with baboons, honey badgers, bees, spiders, snakes and even the odd leopard!! These animals will never bother us but please be aware that they are there!! Your guides are all qualified in basic first-aid. There is no cell phone signal on most of the mountain.

Swartberg Hiking Trail
Swartberg Hiking Trail
Swartberg Hiking Trail
Swartberg Hiking Trail

Itinerary:

Day one:

Meet in Prince Albert at Dennehof, our hosts for the evening. Superb dinner after a warm up walk around the town.

Day two:

Transfer up the Swartberg Pass to “Die Top”. Today we will walk from the Ou Toll hut up to the top of Platberg using one of two fantastic loops. ( 7km or 9km). The7km loop is an easier walk for the moderately fit guests and the 9km climb is a more challenging walk for the fitter guests. We also have the option of doing both loops making a full days walking in the mountains of 16km. The climb to the top of Platberg takes us to 1950m above sea level!! The views are unbelievable. This is a fairly tough walk but the rewards are unreal. Overnight accommodation tonight is in the Ou Toll mountain hut. All you luggage is portaged to the hut and the evening meal is fully catered. Sleeping bags are required tonight as we “rough it” in this very basic hut.. Meals will however be catered and food for dinner/breakfast/packed lunch for the following day will be brought in from Price Albert via 4x4.

Day three:

A real treat today as we walk in the Swartberg along a jeep track to our second night in the mountains at Botha’s Hoek Hut. This is a tough walk…don’t be fooled by the jeep track…it’s still high in the mountains. This hut, situated high in the mountains, far away from civilization, surrounded by massive peaks and mountain fynbos, like the others on the Swartberg Hiking Trail, is equipped with bunks, mattresses, rainwater tanks and even flushing loos in the new ablution block. The hut has 3 rooms and a kitchen/dining room. There is a natural pool about a kilometer back towards Ou Tol in which to bathe. Today you’ll wish you never have to leave here…simply a piece of heaven. Dinner is catered and all meals brought in by 4x4. Bags will be collected in the morning and transferred back to Prince Albert.

Day Four:

"We have a choice of walks today, however, our preferred route is the mountain trail back to Ou Tol. It’s worth starting early as there is a fair bit of up and down and the path is rough under foot. The path zig zags up a long, fairly steep contour until you reach the ridge. You feel that you are on top of the world here at 1 700m above sea level.”
Fiona MacIntosh : Top 12 Hiking Trails of the Western Cape.
A few more zig zags, a couple of baboons and dassies later, you’re at the highest point on the trail. Another couple of ups and downs and you’re meandering through the rock maze and succulents en route back to the Ou Tol hut.
A phenomenal days walking in the mountains. Our vehicle will meet you at Ou Tol and transfer you back to Prince Albert for a night of luxury and a sumptuous meal.

Day Five:

The trail ends today. Depart after breakfast.

Enquire here.

Terms and conditions:

Booking in advance is essential and a 50% deposit will be required upfront to confirm all bookings. Balance is to be paid in full one week prior to departure.
Deposits become non-refundable one month prior to departure. Should a cancellation occur between the confirmation date and one month prior to departure then a 25% ( of the full amount) cancellation fee will be charged.

This is a fantastic hike and it will be an awesome experience for all who decide to join us!! Please contact me with dates at your earliest convenience. I look forward to hearing from you.
Tony Cook

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