About Lower Blindekloof Hike

Start: Groendal Wilderness office
Finish: Groendal Wilderness office
Duration: 11 km (roughly), a circular hike
Fitness: relatively fit; the hike is not difficult, but some experience of hiking is necessary
Our tip: There is a cost per person to do the hike; take along kloofing sandals
Contact: Self guide the hike

Groendal Wilderness is one of the lesser explored and most underrated wilderness areas in South Africa. It lies just beyond Uitenhage, at the eastern edge of the Grootwinterhoek Mountains.

At its heart is Groendal Dam, whilst the surrounding landscape is etched with deep ravines in amongst rugged mountains, some of which soar as high as 1 180 metres above sea level.

The fynbos that dominates the higher parts of the wilderness is abundant with yellowbush, pincushions, and blue and large-leaved sugarbushes, whilst the indigenous forests that line the deep ravines exhibit healthy yellowwood, red alder and Cape star-chestnut trees.

Blindekloof is one of these beautiful wild kloofs peppered, at what seems to be perfect intervals, with river pools and waterfalls. To walk it one follows a jeep track that becomes a footpath to the top of the kloof.

From there one descends into the forested Blindekloof.

Just after setting out on the hike there is an initial climb, which ends at the top of a hill at the Tier boom, or Tar tree, also known as the Leopard tree for its branches, which provide ample space to lie should a leopard wish to do so.

From here it's a steady and steep downhill to the stream, which eventually joins the upper Swartkops River, at the base of the kloof. The hike now heads upstream, crossing the stream at least 10 times, if not more.

Either you can rock and boulder hop, or simply wade through the stream (a lot more comfortable, but this is where kloofing sandals are an advantage).

At about 5.5 km you will reach a great swimming hole, which functions as a perfect lunch stop.

From here either one can retrace one's steps back to the start of the hike, or you can continue past Perdekloof into Skimmelkloof to rejoin the jeep track back to the start of the hike (a circular version that is about 14 km).

Other hikes in Groendal Wilderness include the upper Blindekloof trail and Emerald Pool.

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish at the Groendal Wilderness office.

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchPrices on request.

Telephone+27 (0)41 922-5418

OvernightStay nearby in Groendal Wilderness Area, in Eastern Cape

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