Sometimes city weekends get bogged down in to-do lists, expensive parties and pure laziness. Summer's still here, the rivers are flowing, the veld lush and the great outdoors beckons. Drive 40-minutes in the direction of Hartbeespoort and do one of the Hennops Hiking Trails.
I made some ham and cheese rolls, met with a group of friends (a little bit later in the morning than we hoped) and left the city.
On arrival at the Hennops Hiking Trail site, I noticed the distinct absence of lunch and realised the rolls had been left on the kitchen counter. And there was only one bottle of water. Nevertheless, with three biscuits in the backpack we pushed on and it was a beautiful day. We embarked on the longer 11,3-kilometre Krokodilberg Trail which traverses rocky mountains, aloe-studded hills and eases off into a grassland stroll on the way back, but there is a shorter trail option too.
You can find more info and photgraphs on the Hennops Hiking Trail on the blog I wrote for Getaway Magazine.
I won't lie, the 11-kilometre trail requires some sweaty work. Especially without carbs. I've always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, but all I kept thinking along this walk was that I'll definitely need some training before attempting such a climb. But I still wasn't put off and you shouldn't be either. It was a fun, sunny day and there were plenty of smiles at the end. Especially once we'd hit the swimming pool and guzzled down the much-appreciated icy beers at the end.
On the left, you'll see I started tracking the walk a little late - roughly one kilometre in - but you can see the route and height of the mountains climbed which gives a good idea of what to expect.
Tips for a successful trail
- Don't forget the rolls on the kitchen counter (I haven't been let off easy on this one).
- Pack lots of drinking water. The guides on site don't recommend swimming in the river, let along drinking the water. Even those of us who came prepared could've done with more H2O.
- Set off early in the morning. We arrived at roughly 10 o'clock which had us hiking during the heat of the day, which just makes things a bit more difficult. This also means you can pop over the mountain and have sundowners on the dam after the hike.
- Bring cash to pay the R60 entry fee.
- Leave a cooler box with icy cold beers at the parking lot or picnic site. Both motivation and refreshing reward, it's a win-win situation.
- Bring a costume and towel for a much-needed swim afterwards.
- Make an evening of it and book into the Hadeda Camp - it's a basic hut that sleeps six for R120 a person.