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Explore the Wonders of South Africa on These Must-Do Hikes | 2023 Hiking Bucket List

Explore the Wonders of South Africa on These Must-Do Hikes | 2023 Hiking Bucket List

As we enter the new year of 2023, now is the perfect time to seize adventure and explore the beautiful outdoors that South Africa has to offer. From coastal trails to rugged mountain passes, South Africa is a hiker's paradise, offering something for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to explore the great outdoors, there's a hike for you in this beautiful country.

What are you waiting for? Add these beautiful hikes to you 2023 Bucket List! 

Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best hikes to do in South Africa:

  1. The Tsitsikamma Trail: This six-day hike takes you through the lush Tsitsikamma Forest, with the chance to spot some of South Africa's unique flora and fauna. The trail is relatively easy, with a mix of forest paths and coastal trails, making it a great option for those looking for a more relaxed hike. The Trail covers a distance of approximately 65 kilometers and has a difficulty level of 3 out of 10.
  2. The Magaliesberg Trail: This three-day hike takes you through the beautiful Magaliesberg Mountains, with the chance to spot some of South Africa's amazing wildlife, including baboons and bushbucks. The trail is relatively easy, with well-marked paths and gentle ascents and descents, making it a great option for beginner hikers. The Magaliesberg Trail covers a distance of approximately 45 kilometers and has a difficulty level of 3 out of 10.
  3. The Whale Trail: This four/five-day hike takes you along the coast of the Western Cape, with the chance to spot whales and dolphins in the waters below. The trail is relatively easy, with gentle ascents and descents and well-marked paths, making it a great option for beginner hikers. The Whale Trail covers a distance of approximately 55-60 kilometers and has a difficulty level of 4 out of 10. 
  4. The Fish River Canyon Trail: This multi-day hike takes you through the stunning Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. The trail follows the river through the canyon, offering breathtaking views of the rugged landscape. The Fish River Canyon Trail covers a distance of approximately 85 kilometers, depending on the route you choose to take, and has a difficulty level of 6 out of 10.
  5. The Leopard Trail: This multi-day hike takes you through beautiful Bavianskloof, with the chance to spot some of South Africa's amazing wildlife, including leopards (hence the name). The trail is relatively challenging, with steep ascents and descents and some rocky sections, but the stunning views of the mountains and the chance to spot rare wildlife make it well worth the efforts. The Leopard Trail covers a distance of approximately 50 kilometers and has a difficulty level of 7 out of 10.
  6. The Otter Trail: This five-day hike takes you along the rugged coastline of the Garden Route, offering breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and the chance to spot some of South Africa's amazing wildlife. It's a challenging hike, with steep ascents and descents and some rocky sections, but the sense of accomplishment at the end is well worth it. The Otter Trail covers a distance of approximately 42 kilometers and has a difficulty level of 8 out of 10.
  7. The Drakensberg Grand Traverse: This multi-day hike takes you through the stunning Drakensberg Mountains, passing by waterfalls, rock formations, and dramatic cliffs. The route covers around 160 kilometers, so it's definitely not for the faint of heart. But the sense of isolation and the stunning views of the mountains make it a truly unforgettable experience. The Drakensberg Grand Traverse has a difficulty level of 9 out of 10.

No matter which hike you choose, it's important to be prepared. Make sure you have the right gear, including sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water, and some basic supplies in case of emergencies. It's also a good idea to let someone know your route and your estimated time of return, just in case.

Planning and preparing for a hike in South Africa is an essential part of ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Some things to consider when planning your hike include the length and difficulty of the trail, the weather and climate conditions, and the availability of water and other supplies along the way. It's also important to research the route and familiarize yourself with any potential hazards or challenges you may encounter, such as steep terrain or dangerous wildlife. By properly planning and preparing, you can ensure that your hike in South Africa is a memorable and rewarding experience.

And finally, remember to leave no trace. South Africa's natural beauty is one of its biggest draws, so it's important to respect the environment and leave it as you found it. That means packing out all your trash and being mindful of your impact on the landscape.

So there you have it – our top picks for the best hikes to do in South Africa. 

Whether you're looking for a challenging multi-day hike or a more relaxed day trip, there's something for everyone in this beautiful country. So lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails – you won't be disappointed!

What hikes have you been lucky enough to tick off this bucket list? Let us know in the comments below. 

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