About De Stades Trail

Start: Maitland Nature Reserve, west of Port Elizabeth, parking is just before the junction of the M9 with De Stades road
Finish: where you started (it’s a circular walk)
Duration: 9 km, around 4 hours if you allow time for a few stops
Fitness: this is a fairly challenging hike, and you will need a good pair of boots
Our tip: contact Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) for a guided walk through the reserve, as you will learn so much more about the environment

The 250 hectare Maitland Nature Reserve, a reserve made up mostly of beautiful indigenous coastal forest, lies roughly 55 km west of Port Elizabeth, just up the road from the Maitland sand dune.

The reserve has three trails in total, but the other two are relatively short (the Peregrine and Igolomi trails; 3 km and 4 km respectively). If you are after a shorter trail then do the Igolomi, which passes through the dense parts of the forest with good chances of spotting the Knysna loerie. All of the trails are predominantly shady and good alternatives for summer days.

De Stades trail is considered one of the more beautiful trails in Port Elizabeth. The trail heads up the old wagon path. It is hilly and a lot of it meanders through dense forest that, at times, can feel a little like bundu bashing than merely following a demure trail under a canopy of trees. This is the nature of forests and the trail is not constantly maintained.

The forest is alive with birds and you will frequently hear the call of the Knysna loerie. Bushbuck, blue duiker and bushpig make the forest their home and invariably leave droppings to mark their presence, but you’ll be lucky to spot one.

After quite a climb the trail finally reaches a clearing from which there are incredible views out over the Maitland sand dunes at the Maitland River mouth. From there the homeward journey back through the forest is almost all downhill.

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish at Maitland Nature Reserve, west of Port Elizabeth, parking is just before the junction of the M9 with De Stades road

WhenPlease enquire.

How muchFree

Telephone+27 (0)41 585-8884 or +27 (0)41 582-2575

OvernightStay nearby in Maitlands, in Eastern Cape


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