Travel Guide

Lovely Outeniqua Path – an in depth mountain climbing information and itinerary

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We’ve achieved many hikes all around the world within the final years; Nepal, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and at last determined to do extra hikes in our personal nation, South Africa. The variety of mountain climbing trails and routes in South Africa is wonderful, from the well-known Otter path to difficult hikes in Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. You possibly can hike alongside the coast, on the seaside, over the mountains, by way of the desert and indigenous forest. This time we selected the Outeniqua path within the Backyard Route Nationwide park. It was our third multi-day hike in South Africa we’d achieved the Amatola path close to Hogsback and the Cape of Good Hope hike in Cape City. The Outeniqua mountain climbing path is with little doubt one of many Backyard Route gems and one in all our favourite hikes. We hiked the Outeniqua two weeks earlier than we went to stroll the Fish River Canyon hike in Namibia. 

The path is located contained in the Knysna part of the Backyard Route Nationwide Park. The route is well-balanced, simple to comply with, it doesn’t require health degree or mountain climbing experience. In truth, anyone comparatively match can do that hike simply select your personal tempo and go. We have been pleasantly shocked by the path situations and the service degree. The path has indicators, distance marks, names, and so forth., the huts are very clear, freshly painted with good ablutions and the park rangers are nice very pleasant, and useful. After this hike, we’re undoubtedly contemplating doing extra multi and day hikes in SANParks throughout South Africa.

What to anticipate on the Outeniqua hike?

  • Straightforward to reasonable stroll, no particular health degree or experience required. Stroll between Three to six hours a day.
  • The path is effectively maintained and really effectively marked (white footprints), simple to comply with.
  • The huts are in good situation and have primary amenities. For extra particulars on every hut examine under.
  • Consuming water is obtainable through the stroll and within the huts, its coloration (mild brownish) comes from the soil.
  • The realm is protected the path goes by way of the Nationwide park there are not any random individuals round we noticed solely rangers and park staff.
  • After heavy rains, it may be tough/inconceivable to cross the river in some locations contact responsibility rangers. There’s a cellphone variety of an obligation ranger in each hut.  
  • There are two Tea Backyard espresso outlets at Millwood hut and Diepwalle hut the place you will get cooked meals or purchase basic items; pasta, tuna, cookies, and so forth. The one at Millwood hut was closed after we have been there, to verify whether or not they’re opened or not inquire when reserving the path.
A white footprint on a small pole on the Outeniqua Trail
Route marking on the Outeniqua Path

ebook the path?

Reserving is important the principle reason the huts can accommodate a sure variety of individuals. We did the hike in Could and booked it only a week or so beforehand. Relying on the season (e.g. December or Easter vacation) the Outeniqua path will be fairly busy. You may make a reserving over the cellphone (044-302-5600) or (044-302-5606) from 7:30 am to Four pm, weekdays or e-mail [email protected] Two days after you made a reserving it’s a must to pay the full quantity for the huts. Cash paid for the hike can’t be refunded. The park conservation charge will be paid on-line or on arrival.

You ebook huts for particular dates, there are 7 huts (Windmeulnek, Platbos,  Millwood,  Rondebossie,  Diepwalle, Fiesantehoek, and Harkerville huts). There was Eight however the very first hut Beervlei is just not accessible anymore. You ebook and pay per particular person per hut. Our recommendation don’t ebook Harkerville hut the final one. You possibly can skip it you end Day 7 early between 10 am and 12 pm so that you’ll have sufficient time to begin driving again as an alternative of staying there.

How a lot does the hike price?

  • Lodging (7 nights, bunk mattress) – ZAR 630/US$48 (ZAR 90 pp per evening).
  • Park conservation charge (for SA residents) – ZAR 186/US$14 per particular person for 7 days (Four days x ZAR 30 and three days x ZAR 22). Holders of Wild playing cards don’t pay conservation charges. Word! The conservation charge for foreigners is completely different, ZAR 60/US$4,5 for SADC passports per day and ZAR 120/US$9 for internationals.

Whole: ZAR 816/US$62

The perfect time to hike the Outeniqua Path

We did the hike in Could and had nice climate; heat however not scorching through the day, no rain, and a bit chilly at evening. In the summertime months (December – February) it will get very popular, in winter (June – August) chilly and moist. In our opinion, spring and autumn are the very best time for mountain climbing the Outeniqua Path. 

The place to remain earlier than and after the hike?

Knysna is the closest massive city to the path with many lodging choices for various budgets.

Excursions and actions in Knysna

When you determine to spend a few days in Knysna earlier than or after the hike there are various nice actions and things to do on this lovely city.

Lodging on the path

As I discussed earlier than each evening you sleep in a hut. All huts have bunk beds and primary amenities, three (Millwood, Diepwalle, and Harkerville) have electrical energy and scorching showers. It makes the hike simple you don’t want to hold a tent or mattress solely a sleeping bag.

The place to go away your automotive?

The route is just not round you begin and end somewhere else fairly removed from one another, a 1-hour drive. You have got two choices; to park your automotive at Beervlei hut (begin of the hike) and take a shuttle again after you end or to park it at Harkerville hut (the tip of the hike) and take a shuttle to the place to begin. We drove from Knysna to Harkerville the place we parked our automotive. From there we took a shuttle (we’d booked it 2 days earlier than) to Beervlei, the place to begin. The most cost effective shuttle we may discover was Benny’s shuttles, we paid ZAR 580/US$44 for 2 unsure for those who pay extra for extra individuals or simply divide it between all. We booked it over the cellphone with out paying any deposit. Contact quantity 083-728-5181, Benny. 

In our opinion, it’s good to complete the hike on the place your automotive is parked. You don’t should drive wherever else to get it. The Harkerville entrance workplace appeared fairly protected for leaving a automotive. The parking space is in entrance of the rangers’ workplace there are at all times individuals there. At Beervlei hut there was no person after we arrived.

When you don’t really feel like driving with your personal automotive all the way in which to the Outeniqua or if it’s simply too far to drive you may fly to George and hire a automotive on the airport.

get to the path and not using a automotive?

You possibly can ebook a shuttle from Knysna or Plettenberg Bay or every other close by cities to the path and again. You possibly can strive the identical shuttle service we used (Benny’s shuttle) they’ve fairly first rate charges.

When you determine to cease for a few days someplace on the Backyard Route we are able to extremely suggest Plettenberg Bay with its wonderful journey actions.

What to pack for the Outeniqua hike?

Garments

  • Comfy garments for mountain climbing, we’d suggest carrying lengthy pants and lengthy sleeve shirt to keep away from scratches generally you stroll by way of lengthy grass and bush.
  • A hat, sun shades, sunscreen – all will need to have if mountain climbing in summer season.
  • Comfy garments (e.g. fleece, pants, flip flops) to alter, at all times good to placed on clear garments after the bathe.
  • A towel, there will likely be a chilly or scorching bathe each evening.
  • Underwear, socks, what number of pairs to take is as much as you.

Mountain climbing gear

  • A sleeping bag, we had skinny summer season luggage for 11C consolation. When you hike in winter take a hotter one we have been somewhat bit chilly one or two nights. 
  • Mountain climbing poles, we by no means use them however many individuals do there are up and down hills every single day on the hike and they are often useful for river crossing as effectively. 
  • A water bottle, there are many water sources on the hike. 
  • A headlamp/torch, not all huts have electrical energy.
  • We didn’t use any water purification tablets or filter and had no drawback.
  • A ebook, you’ll have loads of time for studying every single day.

Cooking gear

  • A range, we have now a small moveable gasoline range that we at all times take mountain climbing, it’s large enough to boil water, make pasta or oats.
  • Gasoline relying on how many individuals you might be and the way a lot cooking you need to do. We took 500ml it was greater than sufficient for 7 days for 2 individuals. There are braai locations, wooden, and braai grids (there was no grid at Diepwalle hut) at each hut so as an alternative of carrying a range and gasoline you may make meals and boil water on an open hearth. Generally wooden could be moist it’s higher to carry firelighters.
  • Pots, we had one medium-size pot with plastic handles. When you plan to cook dinner on hearth take a steel pot.
  • A swiss knife.
  • Cutlery, we had bamboo forks and spoons.
  • Cups/mugs.
  • Lighter/matches and blitz by no means huts there was dry materials to begin a fireplace.

Meals

To be trustworthy we have been a bit hungry every single day and regretted not packing extra meals. Right here is our meals record;

  • Breakfast – prompt flavored oat sachets (Three for 2 individuals), espresso/tea.
  • Lunch – nut combine, vitality bars, biltong/droewors (we at all times take it on hikes in South Africa).
  • Afternoon tea, on this hike you end every single day fairly early it’s good to have a cup of tea with chocolate or an vitality bar whereas ready for dinner.
  • Dinner – a can of tuna, 250g of pasta, one tomato sauce sachet (for 2 individuals). As an possibility you may carry ready-made dehydrated meals, they’re fairly costly however simple to make, very mild, and are available in numerous flavors.

When you like mountain climbing and reside or planning to go to Mom Metropolis there are various unbelievable hikes in Cape City with breathtaking views that everybody will take pleasure in.

Outeniqua Path mountain climbing itinerary

The primary recommendation, at all times comply with white footprint marks on timber and rocks. There are yellow footprints as effectively however they mark completely different trails don’t get confused.

Day 1, Beervlei hut – Windmuelnek hut, 16km, 4,5 hours

We organized a shuttle for Eight am from Harkerville hut it took about an hour to get to Beervlei hut, the place to begin. We couldn’t get a map at any of the huts fortunately the path may be very effectively marked and simple to comply with. In truth, we may lastly purchase a map solely on the fifth day on the Millwood info workplace for ZAR 23.

The primary two hours have been a straightforward stroll by way of the forest with many Knysna Turaco round. After you begin a steep descend to the river. Recommendation! Fill your water right here there gained’t be every other probability until you attain the hut. Right here on the river, we had lunch.

After that, you begin a protracted and generally fairly steep ascend all the way in which to the hut on the jeep observe. Doing hikes up Desk Mountain or Lion’s Head path in Cape City is an effective way to arrange for the primary day of the Outeniqua Path.

A stunning view of the mountains from Windmuelnek hut on the Outeniqua Trail
Breathtaking view from Windmuelnek hut on the primary day of the path

Windmuelnek hut amenities

Wood hut wonderful location on the highest of the hill overlooking two valleys, our favourite hut ever! We regretted not bringing meat or wors with us it might be good for the primary evening.

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Chilly showers
  • Dry bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • No electrical energy
  • Outdoors braai place with a braai grid
  • Wooden, axe
  • Outdoors tables and chairs
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bin
Windmuelnek overnight hut, Outeniqua Trail
Cozy Windmuelnek hut, Outeniqua Path

Day 2, Windmuelnek hut – Platbos hut, 17km, 6 hours

We began at 9 am and the primary hour was steep 500 m down all the way in which to the river. Right here don’t neglect to refill your water earlier than you begin going up. There will likely be one or two extra streams however fairly far. The up is steep and lengthy took us about an hour. After that, the path goes by way of fynbos and fern forest. A really lovely space generally appears to be like like decorations to Jurassic Park. The final hour or so to the hut you stroll on the gravel highway.

Jurassic Park forest on the Outeniqua Trail
Alya on the path lined in large ferns

Platbos hut amenities

A giant picket hut with three bedrooms can accommodate about 30 individuals. The hut itself and the realm round is effectively maintained; clear and neat.

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Chilly showers
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • No electrical energy
  • Inside hearth
  • Outdoors braai place with braai grids
  • Wooden, axe
  • Tables, chairs outdoors
  • Basin
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins
A fireplace in Platbos hut
The indoor hearth in Platbos hut, the second in a single day hut on the path

Day 3, Platbos hut – Millwood hut, 16km, 5 hours

We began at 8.45 the in response to the official information you supposed to go away earlier than Eight am and the strolling time for the day 7-Eight hours. It took us 5 hours to complete and we didn’t even stroll quick.

To begin you stroll 500m again on the 4×Four observe until you get the suitable flip off signal to Millwood hut. Most a part of the path goes by way of the forest the place it’s cool and humid. There will likely be some reasonable ups and downs through the day however the principle one is correct at first after an hour stroll; first all the way in which right down to the river after which up. You principally repeat this train every single day.

On the way in which, you may cease at a pool for lunch and swim. It’s 100m out of the way in which simply comply with the signal “Waterfall” within the surrounding space you may see many elderly gold mines. About 2km earlier than the hut there are rests of an outdated city that was constructed right here through the gold rush within the late nineteenth century.

Stingy Nomads in the forest on the trail
Stingy Nomads within the lovely Outeniqua Forest

Millwood hut amenities

It’s an enormous two-story cottage, positioned near Millwood Goldmine museum and Mom Holly’s Tea Room. To our massive disappointment each we closed, we had massive hopes for this espresso store to get a pleasant espresso and to inventory a bit our meals provides. Native rangers stated it will likely be reopened quickly.

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Scorching showers
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • Electrical energy and retailers (within the bogs)
  • Inside hearth
  • Many outdoors braai locations with braai grids
  • Wooden, axe
  • Outdoors tables and chairs
  • Basins
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins
Millwood hut, an overnight hut on the hike
Millwood hut, the third in a single day hut on the Outeniqua Path

Day 4, Millwood hut – Rondebossie hut, 17km, 5 hours

We left the hut at 9 am, the primary hour you stroll on a jeep observe then the path turns into the forest. Yet one more hour strolling down and also you attain the river it’s a pleasant spot for snack/relaxation break earlier than the approaching up. The uphill with some rock and ladder climbing took us an hour, it’s most likely essentially the most tough uphill on the path. After that, you stroll once more on the jeep observe first after which final 2km simple stroll by way of the forest until you attain Rondebossie hut.

Mountain scenery on the Outeniqua Trail
When the forest opens you get good views of the mountains and the encircling space

Rondebossie hut amenities

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Chilly showers
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • No electrical energy
  • Inside hearth
  • Outdoors braai place with braai grids
  • Wooden, axe
  • Tables, chairs inside and outdoors
  • Basin
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins
A dormitory in Rondebossie hut on the trail
The bed room in Rondebossie in a single day hut on the path

Day 5, Rondebossie hut – Diepwalle hut, 13km, Four hours

Because the mountain climbing day promised to be brief we determined to begin fairly late, at 9.45 am. Proper at first, you stroll right down to the river to begin a protracted steep up from there. Jonker mount is sort of an up as soon as on the highest examine the view over the realm. The up took us about 30-40 min. After that, you go largely down following the hill after which a pleasant stroll by way of a gorgeous part of the forest. Enormous ferns, big timber very inexperienced, humid, and a bit chilly. As soon as out of the forest the final hour to the hut virtually all the way in which on a 4×Four observe.

At Diepwalle you’ll get a pleasant shock – a espresso store the place you will get some sandwiches, desserts, hamburgers, espresso and purchase some snacks, pasta, tuna, and so forth. The store normally opened until Three pm. You possibly can preorder a meal (at the very least 24 hours earlier than) that will likely be prepared once you arrive. The menu with costs you will discover inside Rondebossie hut (on the wall). Cellphone for reserving 044-382-9762/3. We had a extremely massive lunch right here and weren’t hungry for the primary time in 5 days!

Community tea room on the Outeniqua Trail
Neighborhood Tea Backyard at Diepwalle hut, the spotlight of the day for hungry hikers

Diepwalle hut amenities

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Scorching showers
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • Electrical energy and retailers
  • Outdoors braai place. You possibly can even purchase braai packs on the store however we didn’t see a braai grid.
  • Wooden, axe
  • Outdoors tables and chairs
  • Basin
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins
A braai deck at an overnight hut on the trail
A braai deck at Diepwalle hut on the Outeniqua Path

Day 6, Diepwalle hut – Fiesantehoek hut, 16km, 5 hours

Historically we began at 9 am the path, at first, overlaps with Elephant stroll (a day hike) and goes by way of the forest as soon as house to Knysna elephants. After an hour or so the paths cut up. For essentially the most a part of the day, you stroll by way of the forest with some sections on a jeep observe. There’s one steep ascent right down to the river. The remainder of the day is generally flat with small uphills

Alya standing in the forest
Alya within the pine forest on the Outeniqua Path

Fisantehoek hut amenities

A giant brick home with many rooms and beds on the highest of the hill with a gorgeous view over the realm.

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • No showers solely tub with chilly water faucet contained in the hut
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper. One inside bathroom
  • No electrical energy
  • Inside braai place with grid
  • Wooden, axe
  • Tables, chairs inside
  • Basins
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins
A communal dining area in Fisantehoek hut
A eating room with a fire in Fisantehoek hut

Day 7, Fisantehoek hut – Harkerville hut, 12km, Three hours

We began at the present time fairly early at 7.30 am. It was the simplest and shortest stroll on the hike largely by way of the forest with some insignificant ups and downs. It took us lower than Three hours to get to Harkerville hut we completed simply in time earlier than the rain. We booked Harkerville hut however determined to not keep there and reasonably carry on driving again house. The hut is good however probably not distant proper subsequent to the knowledge workplace and parking spot.

Harkerville hut amenities

  • Bunk beds with mattresses
  • Operating water
  • Scorching showers
  • Flushing bogs with bathroom paper and cleaning soap
  • Electrical energy and retailers
  • Braai place with grid
  • Wooden, axe
  • Tables, chairs
  • Basins
  • Washing traces
  • Garbage bins

After ending the hike we began driving again to Cape City and managed to get house the identical day. Mountain climbing the Outeniqua Path was an ideal journey that we actually loved.

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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