Things To Do in King Williams TownAmatola Hiking Trail
Where? Start at Maden dam near King Williams Town and finish just near Hogsback, Eastern Cape.
When? How long: 6 days, 100 kms (regarded as a toughie) Best time to go is in summer, although you can go all year round.
How? Call Conact a reputable hiking operator.
How much? Price on request
Start: 22 km from King William's town
Finish: 3 km from Hogsback
Duration: 100km over 6 days
Fitness: not for the unfit; considered tough
Our tip: take extra pairs of socks as there are numerous river crossings
The Amatola Hiking Trail is considered one of South Africa's top hikes. It is up there with the Otter Trail and the Whale Trail in terms of difficulty and popularity. The trail is set in the Amatola Mountains involving days of wandering rich indigenous rainforests complete with yellowwood and redwood trees, rolling mountains, mountain fynbos, wild flowers and water - in the form of streams, waterfalls and pools - in abundance.
The average day's hike is 16.5 km to 19 km, your evenings spent in wooden huts - most of which are set in amongst the surrounding forest, with hot water donkeys to heat showers, and toilets that range from long drop to flush.
Weather in the mountains is variable throughout the year. All weather clothing is essential as you can face anything from intense heat to freezing cold rain.
Maden dam to Gwiligwili Hut (atop a hill with incredible views) is a steep climb through indigenous pirie forest, although there is a short cut that can save you 5 km.
to Dontsa hut (set in a pine plantation), a somewhat easier day through indigenous forest with the Keiskammahoek valley below you.
to Cata Hut (modern with a gas fired geyser) leaves the forest and climbs to the plateau. Walk in amongst wild flowers and macchia grasses, after which you can choose to climb Doornkop or enter the Hovald forest.
to Mnyameni hut (most isolated hut) – the easiest and shortest day with an initial climb up Geju peak with incredible views, followed by a descent into Mnyameni gorge and Malan forest.
to Zingcuka hut – a tough day with a steep climb; optional swimming pools ease the walk, and dense forest shades the last few kilometres.
Day six: to Tyume River
a day peppered by waterfalls in forest with a long ascent up Hog 1 and then down to the Tyume River basin.