Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kranskloof Hike - Mpumalanga

After putting in tons of effort getting fit and well equipped for the Fish River, we decided we should try to do a weekend hike at least every 6 weeks. The long weekend in September, due to Heritage Day, was too good an opportunity to miss, so I put out that call and got 6 others to join Renalda and I. This was the first time I'd really tested my leg after the operation, so we looked for an easy one.

Kranskloof is about 250km from Pretoria, we left early on Saturday, meeting at the Sasol petrol station on the N4 to Nelspruit. We decided to skip the more expensive toll road and traveled down to Carolina via Hendrina. That must be one of the bleakest roads in the country. Coal mines on either side, coal trucks and dust everywhere. I despaired that the hike was too close to this area and that it would be a waste of time...we were pleasantly surprised.

The trail is in a private nature reserve and there is a gravel road to get to the base camp. The condition of the road is ok, but the Toyota Run-X we were in bumped the ground on a number of occasions. If we had been in my car, I think it would have been worse. When we got to the parking lot, a very friendly chap named Richard came out to help us offload. And we needed lots of help!! The camp is not accessible by car and if we weren't doing an out and back hike we would have taken only what we could carry for a significant distance. That wasn't the case, so I planned a potjie for the first night and everyone brought tons of food.

The actual huts were basic, but well kitted out with a gas fridge and freezer, gas cooking, two hot showers with a donkey heater, flushing toilets, hot water for dishes. The huts sleep 24 people, but that would have been a squeeze, we spread out nicely between the three huts.

The hiking was good, but the trail on the first day was a bit confusing as we did an 8km hike as opposed to the promised 5km. I think we took a wrong turn, but otherwise it was very good. A decent variety of terrain, vegetation and views of the surrounding hills. Part of the second day's hike down to the lodge took us along the edge of a spectacular cliff, and then back below the same cliff. We stopped in at the lodge for a well deserved beer and headed back for a braai on night 2.

The huts cost R110 per person per night, but I think we all felt it was well worth it. Unfortunately I didn't take any photo's and don't feel comfortable publishing the pictures from the people who did.

1 comment:

Kinda Zennish said...

Too bad you did't get any pictures - it sounds really neat!