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Suikerbosrand Backpacking

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is a protected area in the Suikerbosrand Range, South Africa. It is one of Gauteng’s premier ecotourism destinations. Set just a short distance from Johannesburg, an hour's drive from Johannesburg International Airport and near the historical town of Heidelberg, this reserve boasts a representative sample of the fauna and flora of the Rocky Highveld Grassland biome. With 134 km² of unspoiled natural environment and a mountain range characterised by meandering twists and turns of hiking trails, the reserve offers an unbelievably refreshing break from the bustling city life. Here, the altitude varies between 1,545 and 1,917m above sea level. The Suikerbosrand ridge was originally named after sugar cane (probably sorghum) found growing here by the party of general Hendrik Potgieter on 5 June 1836. Later the ridge and consequently the reserve's name became associated with the characteristic Transvaal-Sugar bush (Protea caffra), a dominant vegetation type within the area's limits Over 200 bird species have been identified in the reserve. For the game enthusiast, the reserve also offers a large range of mammal species including:
  • Aardvark
  • Aardwolf
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Black Wildebeest
  • Blesbok
  • Brown Hyena
  • Cape Fox
  • Chacma Baboon
  • Common Duiker
  • Common Eland
  • Common Reedbuck
  • Grey Rhebuck
  • Kudu
  • Mountain Reedbuck
  • Oribi
  • Porcupine
  • Red Hartebeest
  • Small-spotted Genet
  • Springbok
  • Steenbok
  • Zebra
Everest Base Camp

01 - 19 September 2011

Charmaine, Heather and Des organized a hike to Everest Base camp. Due to the logistics, we used an agent in Kathmandu to do all the arrangements. A hair raising flight to Lukla (the most dangerous airport in the world) set the scene for a most enjoyable and rewarding experience. The 17 day trail passed through a series of villages and monasteries where we stayed in an assortment of tea house.

Sani Pass

Christmas in July 2011

Boksburg Hiking Club traditionally does a "Christmas in July" hike. This year it was an approx. 10km hike up Sani Pass to the Sani Top Hotel. We were very lucky to have copious amounts of snow. The hikers were supported by a host of 4x4 trucks, however, due to the conditions most of the 4x4s could not reach the top on the day of the hike due to the conditions, but the hikers did.

Cycad Trail

The first day (12km) trail passes some fine examples of the local Middelburg Cycad which is endemic to this particular area.  On the way down the Kloof, the trail passes some interesting rock pools and waterfalls, ideal for a morning tea break.  After good rains the Kloof route is very spectacular.  Care needs to be taken as the rocks can be slippery when wet.  Eventually the hiker arrives at the bottom of the Kloof at the Olifants River.  Lunch and a swim can be taken here.  The trail follows the river for a short distance and then starts it ascent to the overnight camp at Arendsnes.

Arendsnes must rank as one of the most spectacular overnight hut on any hiking trail.  It is built right on the edge of the Olifants River gorge with spectacular views to the river far below.  The hut accommodates 10 people and the trail is short enough to really enjoy this very special place. The whole hut, ablutions and braai area is built of wood. Care needs to be taken to make sure that the braai fire doesn't get out of hand and that the fire is extinguished before going to bed.

The 2nd day of the trail is a leisurely 6km long but is also a very beautiful walk as it weaves in and out of some of the most beautiful rock formations to be found on any trail. Now and then the trail ventures to the edge of the gorge offering spectacular views of the river far below.  The trail passes through some lovely indigenous bush that can offer the hiker respite from the heat of the day.  Separate day trails are also being developed for those that cannot backpack.

Skeurkrans

The routes afford the hiker a surprising variety of terrain and flora, several mountain streams are to be found along the routes, with magnificent views from the tops of the mountains.