Things To Do in HeidelbergKlipkraal hiking trail
Where? Heidelberg, Southern Gauteng
How? Call +27 (0)16 372-1432
How much? Price on request
Start: base camp
Finish: base camp
Duration: 24 km
Fitness: easy to moderate
Our tip: bring your own fire wood, charcoal, insect repellant, hats and sunscreen; there is a farm shop that provides basic foodstuff
One of the closest routes to Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Klipkraal trails wind across the farms Rietfontein, Hartebeesfontein and Stryfontein, close to Heidelberg. They are run by the owners from whom you will need to get a permit.
Overnight in restored milk sheds with electricity. Nothing fancy, but more than adequate. It includes a lapa under thatch, braai facilities and a dam.
Combine the Panorama route (13 km) and the Kraal route (11 km) for a weekend overnight backpacker hike, or head here for the day and choose one of the trails. There are also shorter versions of the trails for those after something a little more sedate.
Day one: Panorama Route
The trail begins by wending its way through the Blesbuck plain in plain sight of wildebeest, springbok, zebra and blesbuck before climbing the first of several koppies. A long stretch of veld brings you to Letsa hill. You should see the Vaal Dam from here. The descent takes you along the tree-lined stream, across the dam wall (time for a swim) and up another couple of koppies. Mmamolongwane hill in particular is a great vantage point.
After reaching the dam, the trail heads up its namesake hill, Panorama, for further views. The descent takes you through grasslands via a couple of windmills and another uphill. Once back at the farm enjoy the botanical garden (an old cattle kraal close to Habitat milking shed, with a number of different trees and shrubs marked with tags).
Day two: Kraal route
Pass from the milk sheds onto Rietfontein farm, after which the trails head through wattle trees and on to a stretch of veld. Cross the jeep track, a fence and head up Thaba Nyane hill.
Follow the red markers to Groot Klip for an interesting detour. Most of the Kraal route takes you to old kraals and ruins built during the Late Iron Age by the Ghoya tribe, who were crop and cattle farmers and hunters. In particular explore the 5 km stone wall used to capture animals. Porcupine hill is the highest point of the trail – good for views.