Travel Guide

Improbable Amatola path – an in depth information and itinerary

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The Amatola Path was our first multi-day trek in South Africa. After spending quite a lot of time trekking in Nepal and South America we determined it was time to discover extra of our personal nation. We actually loved the path and since then we’ve accomplished a number of long-distance hikes within the nation together with the well-known Otter Path, Outeniqua Path, and Cape of Good Hope hike.

Amatola path is a tremendous hike close to Hogsback, a small city in Jap Cape province in South Africa. The path size is 100 km, it begins at Maden Dam and finishes within the city. You hike Amatola path in 6 days and 5 nights, each evening you sleep in a hut, common strolling time 7 hours per day and distance between 14-20 km. In 6 days you stroll by the rain forest, mountains, and fields, move many waterfalls, swimming pools, and lookouts on the best way. For those who like mountain climbing, exploring, and observing nature you’ll positively benefit from the Amatola path. We hope our Amatola path mountain climbing information shall be useful and galvanizing so that you can do that fantastic hike.

The right way to e-book the Amatola Path?

You’ll be able to e-book it immediately by the Amatola trails workplace as we tried first however it didn’t work for us. We phoned there they usually promised to ship an electronic mail with banking particulars that we may make a cost however we by no means acquired it. They aren’t opened at weekends we needed to wait until Monday. In the long run, we booked and paid by Away with the fairies hostel it was simple and quick. They booked the hike for us and the value was the identical.

The price of the path

The trek prices between ZAR 1900 and ZAR 2500 per particular person for six days/5 nights. Youngsters and college students get a reduction. The worth consists of the doorway charge, 5 nights lodging on the path (huts), and pre and post-hike lodging (2 nights tenting/dormitory/non-public room at Away with the Fairies), and a shuttle to the beginning of the path. On meals for the hike, we spent about ZAR 350 per particular person.

Campbell at a beautiful waterfall on the Amatola hike
Campbell at one of many many waterfalls on the Amatola Path

The place to remain earlier than and after the hike?

Hogsback is the closest city to the path so most individuals keep there earlier than and after the hike. As I stated we booked Amatola path by Away with the fairies hostel the place we stayed for 2 nights. The place is wonderful, lovely, peaceable with a pleasant vibe and really pleasant folks. For those who’re driving from Cape City to Hogsback you may prolong your journey and mix it with exploring the Garen Route.

The most effective time to hike the Amatola Path

You’ll be able to hike the path all yr spherical although in winter (June to August) days are shorter and temperatures are decrease. Snowfalls can happen excessive within the mountains. Summer time months (December to February) are referred to as wet months; it’s hotter than in winter and days are longer however heavy rains is usually a ache. December is as nicely a peak season because of the Christmas holidays so it may be crowded and also you’ll most likely must e-book the path beforehand. October and November is an efficient time for mountain climbing; the climate is good and there are only a few folks on the path.

We did it on the finish of November – starting of December and have been the one folks on the path. It was very simple to e-book we did it simply 2 days earlier than the hike. In 6 days we didn’t see another hikers and even folks (solely locals from distant). The path is well-marked and straightforward to comply with simply at all times verify for yellow footprints that yow will discover painted on timber or rocks.

Lodging on the path

Each evening you sleep in a hut so no want to hold a tent and sleeping pad. All huts have beds with mattresses, showers, bogs, working water, fire, garbage bin, and out of doors or inside eating space. No electrical energy on the path don’t anticipate to cost your units or learn with electrical gentle.

Yellow footprints painted on rocks and trees mark the Amatola Trail
Yellow footprints marking the route on the Amatola Path

What to pack for the hike?


  • Good mountain climbing footwear
  • Lengthy mountain climbing pants (the path goes by the bush)
  • A rain jacket
  • A fleece
  • 2-Three T-shirts
  • Flip-flops
  • Sleeping garments
  • Three pairs of socks
  • A cap/hat
  • Sun shades
  • Swimming costume
  • Underwear
  • For those who hike in winter you’ll want extra heat garments.


  • A sleeping bag. Relying on once you hike we did it in summer time and had gentle summer time sleeping baggage.
  • Cooking pots
  • A range and gasoline
  • Plastic cups
  • A lighter
  • Plates (we ate from pots lids)
  • Utensils
  • A can opener (when you have any cans)
  • A water bottle
  • A towel
  • Firelighters (to make hearth when you plan to make use of hearth locations)
  • First help equipment
  • Rest room paper
  • A torch
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent (we didn’t have many mosquitoes although)
  • A sponge to scrub dishes
  • Cleaning soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • A e-book or/and taking part in playing cards.


  • Breakfast – oats with sugar and low with cookies;
  • Lunch – biltong with crackers;
  • Dinner – spaghetti or instantaneous mashed potatoes with a can of tuna and a can of curry beans/greens.

We had simply sufficient meals and have been fairly hungry day-after-day earlier than dinner I’d counsel packing extra snacks e.g. vitality bars, cookies or sweets. The advantage of not having quite a lot of meals was that our backpacks have been fairly gentle.

The right way to get to the start line of the Amatola Path?

The path begins at Maden Dam which is about 1h30min. drive from Hogsback. There isn’t any parking place close to the doorway so most individuals take a shuttle bus from Hogsback. You’ll be able to go away your automotive in Hogsback at protected parking of Away with the fairies hostel as we did. It’s free when you stick with them if not you pay ZAR 50/US$4  for the entire interval.

Like mountain climbing and reside in Cape City or planning to go to town? Make sure that to take a look at these wonderful hikes in Cape City that provide gorgeous views of town and its environment.

Alya at the beginning of the Amatola Trail
Alya at the start line of the Amatola Path

Amatola path mountain climbing itinerary

At all times comply with yellow footprints they’re in all places alongside the path, you may see them each 50-100m.

Day 1. Maden Dam – Gwili Gwili hut, 13 km, 5 hours

  • The beginning of the Amatola path is on the fitting aspect of the fence, don’t undergo the gate, verify for a yellow footprint on the tree;
  • At a few locations, the path splits at all times take the fitting ones;
  • Lengthy up, about 500 m, from Maden Dam to Gwili Gwili hut.

Our shuttle bus left at 8.30 am from the hostel and after 1h30min. we arrived at Maden Dam. There was no one on the entrance we discovered footprints and began strolling. The primary day is the shortest one solely 13km however don’t let it idiot you there’s a lengthy generally steep ascent from 600m to 1100m. Fortunately after tackling a number of mountain climbing trails up Desk Mountain we have been ready for ups and downs on this hike.

The primary 3km have been flat and straightforward by the indigenous forest with many small streams and rivers on the best way the place you will get recent water. Then we had a gradual uphill until 7km and from there steeper up all the best way to Gwili Gwili hut. It took us simply over Four hours to get there with some quick stops on the best way to refill water bottles and take images. We arrived on the hut at lunchtime. Today you stroll within the shadow of the forest no want to fret concerning the solar.

Maden Dam surrounded by the forest
Lovely Maden Dam, the start line of the Amatola Path

Gwili Gwili hut

An enormous picket home with two bedrooms and one eating room with tables and benches. Every room has 10 beds with mattresses. There are two bogs, 4 showers and a donkey (sizzling water boiler) so you will get sizzling water. An enormous fire-place with sufficient wooden to make a hearth. The place is good neat and clear and has a fantastic view over the hills and forest. Uphill behind the hut, there’s a eating desk the place you may eat breakfast and revel in a tremendous view. The principle door could be locked from the within in addition to each rooms’ doorways and the home windows. To be able to get working water open the valve on the left of the hut.

An overnight hut on the Amatola Trail
Gwili Gwili hut, first in a single day hut on the path

Day 2. Gwili Gwili hut – Dontsa hut, 19,5 km, 7,5 hours

  • A protracted however simple day, not actual ups principally down however no steep neither lengthy, about 200 m for the day;
  • Lack of consuming water on the best way, be sure you deliver sufficient water with you for the day, we had 2,5l and refiled twice on the best way. The primary stream is about 45 min. stroll from Gwili Gwili and the following one is 15km later.

It was an extended day. We began at 7.30 and arrived at Dontsa at Three pm on the best way we stopped a number of occasions for resting, lunch, and images.

The path goes primarily by the indigenous forest generally by pine plantations. Many ups and downs however not very lengthy or steep. Within the first half, there are a number of lookouts with gorgeous views over the mountains and the valley. Today within the forest about 6km from Gwili Gwili hut we noticed many Knysna Louries.

Campbell at a view-point on the Amatola Trail
Campbell at a lookout level on the second day of the path

Dontsa hut

It is vitally just like Gwili Gwili one; an enormous home with a typical eating space and 4 rooms with 4-5 beds every. Some beds didn’t have mattresses. There are a fire-place and a few wooden behind the home. In addition to one bathe and one bathroom a bit away from the home. You may get sizzling water utilizing a donkey (heater).

The hut is subsequent to the gravel street that goes to the pine plantations. We noticed staff driving away at Three pm and driving again at 7.00 am the following day after that there was no one round. The principle door could be locked from the within, in addition to the home windows however the rooms’ doorways don’t have locks.

A community dining area in Dontsa hut
A eating space in Dontsa hut, second evening on the Amatola Path

Day 3. Dontsa hut – Cata hut, 19 km (optionally available 16,Eight km), 9 hours

  • Lengthy ups and downs; first 500 m up, then 500 m down, then 300 m up;
  • First path possibility at 5 km you may go over Doorn Kop mountain (more durable) or round it (simpler);
  • For those who go over Doorn Kop at all times comply with yellow footprints it’s simple to confuse the path with one among many cow paths there;
  • Second path possibility on the backside of Eseka Valley; the Higher path (shortest and best); the Center path (a bit longer) and the Decrease path (the longest and the toughest however essentially the most lovely by Waterfall Forest);
  • Refill your water bottles on the second waterfall from the hut subsequent water supply is hours away.

It was an extended and fairly robust day. We began at 7.30 am and arrived at Cata hut at 4.30 pm however we stopped a number of occasions for swimming, lunch, and images. Throughout today we had two lengthy ups and one lengthy down.

The primary ascent begins proper at the start after the primary waterfall and continues until the second waterfall and a bit extra additional. Right here we noticed many monkeys. At 5 km there’s a cut up we took the fitting path that goes excessive of Doorn Kop. The view from there was gorgeous. After reaching the highest, you begin an extended descent to Eseka Valley. On the best way down we noticed many dassies working round and Black Eagles gliding above. 

As soon as on the backside, you might have three choices; to take higher, center, or backside paths. We took the underside one which goes by Waterfall Forest. It’s the longest and essentially the most tough although essentially the most lovely means. We noticed many small and large waterfalls the final two have been particularly lovely. After the waterfalls, you might have fairly an extended steep uphill to the hut. For those who arrive early sufficient and aren’t very drained you may go and verify some swimming pools which can be 5-10 min. stroll from Cata hut in direction of Mnyameni.

A waterfall dropping down from a plateau into the forest
A powerful waterfall with an incredible view over the valley on the third day of the hike

Cata hut

The hut has 4 rooms every with 4 bunk beds with mattresses. There are a bathroom and a bathe with a donkey for heating water outdoors. An outdated half-destroyed brick hut now serves as a eating room and fire-place. The hut is in the course of nowhere between mountains and fields. The doorway door and the home windows could be locked from the within, rooms’ doorways haven’t any locks. The hut’s roof makes quite a lot of noise particularly if the wind blows.

A dormitory in Cata hut, an overnight hut on the trail
One of many dormitory rooms at Cata hut, third evening on the path

Day 4. Cata hut – Mnyameni hut, 13,5 km, Eight hours

  • The primary 5 km is a steep ascent for about 500 m;
  • Midway up there’s a quick lower in case the climate shouldn’t be good otherwise you really feel drained;
  • After up you might have lengthy down, about 800 m, until you attain the hut;
  • Sunscreen, a hat, and sun shades are should you stroll all day within the solar;
  • Put together a swimming costume there are numerous good falls and swimming pools;
  • Refill your water bottle in one of many waterfalls, at first, you’ll want it for an extended climb up.

We began a bit late at Eight am as a result of the strolling day promised to be quick. Proper from the start, we had an extended and fairly steep ascend all the best way to the highest of the mountains. On the best way, we handed a number of waterfalls with good swimming pools for swimming. The view from the highest was wonderful! Right here we noticed many Black Eagles gliding across the cliffs and lots of different smaller birds.

From the highest, we began to descend first to the pasture fields with some gorgeous views over the canyon. We once more noticed many eagles right here gliding alongside the canyon in addition to dassies working away like loopy.

After a brief flat half, there was a second descend for the day, right down to the river, about 3,5 km to Mnyameni hut. We walked by the forest with many lovely waterfalls with swimming pools. That was the primary reason why we took so lengthy we stopped at each second pool for a brief dip and images. General the fourth day was essentially the most spectacular for us.

Campbell swimming at one of the waterfalls on the Amatola Trail
Campbell sliding right down to the rocky pool at one of many many waterfalls on the fourth day of the Amatola Path

Mnyameni hut

It is vitally just like Cata hut simply all the things is a little more dilapidated and unattended. Once we have been right here there was no working water so no bathe or washing. Fortunately there’s a river proper subsequent to the hut we may get some water for cooking and consuming. The hut has 4 rooms with bunk beds and mattresses, bathroom, bathe, and fire-place are outdoors. The lock at one entrance door was damaged so we used an enormous log to maintain it closed. The home windows could be locked from the within however the rooms’ doorways haven’t any locks. This hut was the most popular we needed to go away home windows open for some recent air. The hut is in the course of nowhere no roads or homes close by.

Campbell trying to warm up water for shower
Campbell making a hearth within the donkey to heat up water for bathe at Mnyameni hut

Day 5. Mnyameni hut – Zingcuka hut, 18 km, Eight hours

  • First 2 hours uphill, about 300 m;
  • Final 2 km down all the best way to the hut, fairly steep at first;
  • Use sunscreen, hat, and sun shades;
  • Lengthy mountain climbing pants and lengthy sleeve shirt is preferable some elements you stroll by the bushes with thorns;
  • At Zingcuka hut to get working water you must open a valve (behind the bathe).

Today we began earlier at 7.00 am with a purpose to have extra time for swimming in swimming pools and arrived at Zingcuka hut at Three pm. First two hours or so it was fairly steep up by the bush. Right here for the primary time on the path we heard and noticed baboons, they have been making loud noises however by no means got here nearer or bothered us.

As soon as the up is completed right here comes essentially the most lovely a part of the day many waterfalls with good swimming pools for swimming. Close to the primary fall, we noticed a deer within the forest. The most effective have been the primary and the third waterfalls. In complete there are about 5 or 6 however not all are simple to entry. After the final waterfall, you stroll about 2-2,5 hours to the hut. Today we once more noticed no different individuals.

A beautiful waterfall in the middle of the forest
One other lovely waterfall within the forest on the path. We’ve by no means seen so many waterfalls in 6 days of mountain climbing

Zingcuka hut

It’s positioned within the forest, in a fantastic and tranquil place, there isn’t a street entry to it. The hut has two massive rooms with 10 beds with mattresses every, two showers, one bathroom, an open-air eating space, and a hearth. We tried to make use of a donkey to get sizzling water within the bathe however it didn’t actually work. The doorways of each rooms haven’t any locks so we needed to transfer one bunk mattress to maintain it secured.

A dormitory room in Zingcuka hut on the Amatola trail
A dormitory in Zingcuka hut, fifth evening on the path

Day 6. Zingcuka hut – Hogsback, 16,5 km, 7 hours

  • Lengthy and steep up, about 800 m;
  • Lengthy and steep down for 700m;
  • The final place you may refill your water bottles earlier than the steep up is on the picket bridge;
  • The tip of the path is 1,5 km from Hogsback the place you stroll alongside the gravel street for about 30 min.

We needed to see a little bit of Hogsback earlier than leaving the following day so we took an early begin. We left the hut at 6.15 am. The primary little bit was right down to the waterfall. There’s a cut up 15 min. after the hut the place you may select to go right down to the waterfall or simply preserve strolling by the forest, we took the primary possibility. As soon as down on the waterfalls, it was time to start out steep lengthy up. Right here you once more have two choices to climb over Hogsback 1 peak or to comply with the gravel street and skip the robust half. We went over the height although it was very cloudy within the morning by the point we climbed it cleared up and we had wonderful views. It took us about 3,Four hours to get to the highest after which 2 extra hours down and to Hogsback.


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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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