Things To Do in GreytownBlinkwater Hiking Trail
Where? Start at Mountain Falls, Blinkwater Nature Reserve, south of Greytown, KwaZulu Natal
When? Please enquire.
How? Call Dave on +27 (0)82 443-4287 (Bergfree Adventures)
How much? Price on request
Start: Mountain Falls, Blinkwater, south of Greytown
Finish: south of Greytown
Duration: 100 km, 2 – 6 days
Our tip: though things can be a bit of a scramble through brambles and high grasses, if you can read a map, and enjoy a comfortable overnight hut, this hike is worth it
Blinkwater plateau is the source of the Umvoti River. It lies in the mountainous region in amidst Greytown, New Hanover, Mooi River and Karkloof, that is also part of the Drakensberg range.
The plateau is given over to indigenous forest, savannah mountain top, timber plantations, grasslands, streams, waterfalls, gorges and range of animals that includes the endangered oribi, blue crane and blue swallow.
All of this was once the farm of Douglas Smith, who built a cottage at Blinkwater and used the farm during winters for his live stock.
He also created a rich aboretum - a feast of trees - that managed to survive a fire, even though his cottage was burnt.
The Blinkwater (shiny water) hike is a series of circular routes that provide anything from 2 to 6 days' worth of hiking over 100 kilometres of trails across the plateau and the surrounds.
Operated by a combined effort of Umvoti Wildlife Society, Ezemvelo Wildlife, Mondi and SAPPI Timber, the reserve is divided into a northern and southern section.
In the south find:
Doublas Smith cottage, a trail along a dam to Oribi Hill (great place to sight the oribi), Florida Lake (fishing and swimming), plantations, indigenous forest (in which you will find a krantz), upper grasslands, old saw pits, the arboretum, the Blinkwater forest (yellowwoods, Cape chestnuts, strangler figs, sneezewoods etc.), and Seele's Dam.
In the north find:
A renovated guest cottage (if you do not want to stay in huts), a dam, an old grave site, indigenous forest, another forest alive with clivias, ferns and flowers, grasslands and Success Dam (home of thickbilled weavers).
Hikers can overnight in a series of three pretty, but basic, huts, each with bunk rooms. They have hot showers and a toilet.
It is possible to treat a hut as your base, from which to explore the plateau with only a day pack. Take along extra water as there is little on the hike (bar the drinking water in the huts).