Things To Do in MarquadKameelkop Hiking Trail
Where? Start and finish at Rietfontein cattle farm near Marquad, Free State.
When? Booking is required.
How? Call +27 (0)86 152-2262
How much? Price on request
Start: Rietfontein cattle farm, near Marquard
Finish: Rietfontein farm
Duration: 23 km over 2 days
Our tip: if the feedback from recent hikers is to be believed a GPS will not go amiss, as the trail markings are not the best
Set in the Eastern Free State Highlands, the two-day trail with overnights in old farmhouses takes in the beauty of the Lesotho mountains with sandstone features, acacia Karoo thickets (soetdoring), wild olive trees, kloofs, streams and incredible cliffs as your backdrop.
Best done in winter or autumn, as the area can get incredibly hot.
Day one 12 km:
Runs from the farm's old sandstone farmhouse towards the inselberg known as Makathi, slowly climbing up to De Hoek Bluff. The initial part of the hike is through acasia Karoo thickets (wonderful for spotting birds). Other landmarks include Warden's Tower, Gaudi' s Skilpad and views over Slanghoek Valley and De Hoek Bluff. A descent follows into Slanghoek Gorge, over Hogsback ridge, past the Dinosaur footprints to the floor of the valley through a wooded gorge. Cross the S379 road before climbing towards the Makathi Massiv and up De Hoek Bluff with views of Wardens Tower. End at De Hoek cottage in the Swawelkrans Valley.
Day two 11.7 km:
Not as dramatic, but quite a walk. Ascend the Makathi Massiv via Kameelkop, and then down to a small dam on the farm Nooitgedacht. Cross a gravel road onto the farm of Skuilkrans through a shady blue gum glade and back over the S379 onto Rietfontein farm. A couple of blue gum and willow stands take one past a dam followed by a descent to Ockert se Gat to cool off in the rock pools. The home stretch is through grasslands.