Things To Do in Fort BeaufortKatberg Trail
Where? Mpofu Game Reserve near Fort Beaufort, Amatola Region, Eastern Cape
When? Daylight hours.
How much? Price on request
Start: Mpofu Game Reserve near Fort Beaufort in the Winterberg region of the Amatolas
Finish: Benholm Forest Station on the Old Katberg Pass
Duration: 51 km over 3 days
Fitness: moderate to easy
Our tip: visit Victoria Bridge, a triple-arch bridge built by Andrew Geddes Bain that straddles the Kat River in Fort Beaufort. Now a national monument, it is still in use.
The Kat River Valley is the site of one of the best and most effective forts built to act as a buffer between the Xhosa people and the Settlers who had recently entered this terrain in what was known as the Frontier Wars.
The valley and mountain are regarded as an area of great natural beauty, preserved in a series of nature reserves and game farms, the indigenous forest and pine plantations, fynbos and grasslands a space made available for outdoor activities that include hiking and bike riding, climbing and horse riding.
Mpofu Game Reserve is one of these reserves, just north of Fort Beaufort, filled with wildlife that wanders the mountain grasslands and valley bushveld that form the backdrop of the Katberg Hiking Trail.
The trail passes through the reserve, which also boasts a series of caves with San rock art examples.
Hikers overnight on night one at the Ntloni hut after a 17 km walk. Day two follows a similar length of trail beyond the Katberg Pass to Readsdale hut, and the final day's climb out of the valley and then along the escarpment, offering incredible views all round, descends to the end of the hike at Benholm.
There is also a Katberg Loop Trail, an 18 km hike near Balfour.