Things To Do in NieuwoudtvilleOorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hiking Trail
Where? Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve in the Upper Karoo, Northern Cape
When? Booking is required.
How much? Price on request
Start: Groot Tuin, Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve
Finish: Groot Tuin
Duration: 55 km over 5 days
Fitness: fit, the course has been designed to tax the average hiker
Our tip: you can combine day one and two, but the second day is said to be more than a little strenuous
Some hikers describe this relatively unknown hike as one of the best in South Africa, because it is so well sign posted and designed (there are even distance plaques to help you along).
Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve is 16 km outside of Nieuwoudtville, 4 776 hectares of mountainous terain through which the Oorlogskloof River, its source in the Roggeveld Mountains, flows through a dramatic gorge. Hikers overnight in four camps set up with dome tents and foam mattresses, so you do not have to carry tents and mattresses.
Day one: 4 km Groot Tuin to Brakwater via a wild olive and yellowwood grove in the Saaikloof.
Day two: 8.5 km Brakwater to Driefontein is a little tougher as you head up to the plateau and then down to the Oorlogskloof River, reaching the camp by way of a rock tunnel behind a waterfall (it does not always fall).
Day three: 12 km Driefontein to Doltuin takes you on a steep descent back to the river, which you cross to climb the opposite slope. To reach the top you climb a rock chimney with the aid of chains. From there you walk through protea stands and sandstone flats along the cliffs. Look out for the wild donkeys.
Day four: 17 km Doltuin to Prammkoppie a wonderful day for scenery and the novelty of negotiating numerous rock arches. The trail takes you to the highest point in the reserve, Arrie se Punt, but to reach it you crawl through a narrow passage via breathtaking rock formations.
Day five: 10.7 km Pramkoppie to Groot Tuin begins with rock art, but then it becomes rather taxing. Follow the markers rather than the jeep track for there is a viewpoint to incorporate as well as Spelonkop where you will twist and crawl your way clear of the rocks, before heading back down the original path to Groot Tuin.