Short and medium hiking trails are available in the Village of Haenertsburg and Magoebaskloof. Some of the establishments also have short hiking trails on their properties (please enquire when you make your reservation).
The Louis Changuion Trail – download map
In the Village the Louis Changuion trail meanders though the Haenertsburg grasslands and is very popular with birders and walkers. A map of the trail is available at most of the businesses in the Village. Located in one of South Africa’s most threatened vegetation types, the Louis Changuion hiking trail takes walkers through Woodbush Granite Grasslands and patches of indigenous forest. Colourful booklets on medicinal plants, insects and threatened animals in the area are available for purchase at The Pennefather, Appelgrange, Picasso’s, The Elms Gift Shop, Greenwoods Trading or the Morning Market in Haenertsburg. All proceeds are used to clear the hiking trail, remove alien plants and improve the awareness of the grassland.
The trail is 10km long, and usually takes about four hours to complete. It travels through natural grassland and indigenous forest where many endemic and threatened plants occur. A short cut can be taken just before Jan’s Knoll and care must be taken in wet weather as surfaces become slippery. Ensure that you take drinking water. Please be warned that grassland fires can be disastrous in this area. Consequently smoking and the lighting of fires are strictly prohibited.
Botanist Pieter Winter has compiled a list of over 630 plants in this area. Blue Swallows, Methuen’s Dwarf Gecko and the Wolkberg Zulu Butterfly have been glimpsed along the trail. Hikers are afforded a view of the Wolkberg Wilderness area, Ebenezer Dam and the Iron Crown, and can enjoy a snack at any one of three cosy picnic spots. Two natural springs and a brook are also to be seen en route, along with some rhino rubbing rocks. One can also “hug” one of the oldest rock formations in the world along the trail as boulders of greenstone, dating back to 3 200 million years old are common.
Swarbos Trail (The Lesodi Trail) – download map
The Swartbos trail winds its way very gently through the indigenous forest of Magoebaskloof and is a medium to difficult trail but is well marked and maintained. It starts across the road from Sandford Heights Nursery and next to Magoebaskloof Hotel. Maps are available from both these venues
Some of the points of interest on the trail are:
The cathedral Tree – this is a strangler vine which straddled several trees and now reminds one of a cathedral vault.
Saw pit – 19th century woodcutters dug a pit beneath large felled trees so they could saw them into planks with one person below and one person on top.
The nose – a ridge jutting out between two river valleys.
The Pipe- a strangler vine where its tree victim has died and rotted away leaving only the tube formed by the vine.
The knoll- this is an unexpected hill in the middle of the Magoebaskloof. Enjoy the magnificent view both back towards the hotel and down the valley to the Tzaneen Dam.
Birds and animals on the trail include the Knysna Loerie with it’s distinctive croaking call. There is a troop of Samango monkeys in the forest. At certain times of the year, when food is available, the rare Cape Parrot will be seen and heard in this area. Their call is a distinctive shriek and they fly in flocks of 20 or more. But come and look for yourself and experience the freshness of mountain air in our forests. Maps available at Sandford Heights Nursery and Magoebaskloof Hotel.
Just 20 km outside Haenertsburg on the R71 towards Tzaneen is this beautiful and enchanting falls. This is a lovely spot for a picnic and toilet and braai facilities are available. There is also a short hike through the indigenous forest. A note of caution: below the falls, the large smooth rock surfaces can be dangerous to walk on, particularly when they are wet. There is an entrance fee in the region of R10/person.
Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail
Magoebaskloof hiking trail is a 50 kilometre circular trail over three days through extensive indigenous forest, sparkling mountain streams and pine plantations. One can choose from several hike duration options that range from two to five days. The trail takes in some awe-inspiring scenery and some things extra-ordinary, such as the ‘huilklip’ – a natural rock that sounds like a gong when it is struck with a stone, samango monkeys, bushbuck, bush pigs and an extensive number of birds, particularly in the Grootbosch forest.
Contact details: Tel: (013)754 2724 – Fax: (013) 754 2790