Graskop, Mpumalanga

About Jock of the Bushveld Trail

Start: the municipal holiday resort in Louis Trichardt street, Graskop
Finish: where you started (it’s a circular walk)
Duration: 8 km, around 4 hours, if you allow time for a few stops (there is also a shorter version)
Fitness: walking fitness and a good pair of boots; there are a few climbs
Our tip: the office of the holiday resort should supply you with a route map; take a hat and water along as there is little shade
Cost: a minor fee per person

Highlights of this trail are the wonderful montane grassveld, views over Pinnacle Gorge, several eroded sandstone formations (Fairyland) mentioned in Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’s book, Jock of the Bushveld, and views from the escarpment.

Graskop lies right on the edge of the escarpment of the Drakensberg, not far from some of the more popular sights of the Panorama Route - God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Blyde River Canyon.

The trail takes place within the stamping ground of Percy Fitzpatrick and his Staffordshire terrier who lived in the Graskop area during the 1880s. Fitzpatrick went on to write a true account of his time working as a prospector’s assistant, journalist and ox-wagon transport-rider in the bushveld. The book captured the hearts of many generations after it became a bestseller and a local classic.

The trail is clearly marked for most of the initial part of the hike, but can get a little more difficult to follow around the Jock Plaque (a bronze plaque used as a waymark - ‘Jock Trek 1885’). However, the incredible scenery more than makes up for possible deviations from the path.

Just after the start of the trail, 1 km south east of Graskop, is the area Fitzpatrick describes as ‘fairyland’ - where in his imagination, the sandstone shapes took on different characters. The map will help you find the Sea Horse, Wolf, Sitting Hen and Vulture described in his book.

From Fairyland one climbs steeply up to the escarpment from where there are incredible views.

Look out for: a geocache site between numbers three and four on the map (the trail is still clear here, so you should not have any difficulty). The clue: on top, and underneath.

Before you go: Jock the Hero Dog is a 3-D animated family adventure that tells the story of Jock of the Bushveld. It was released in 2011 and gets a 4.6 on IMDB (The Arch, Desmond Tutu, is the voice of Baba).

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish at the municipal holiday resort in Louis Trichardt street, Graskop.

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchPrices on request.

Telephone+27 (0)13 767-1886

OvernightStay nearby in Graskop, in Mpumalanga

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