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D' berg or D' river ...
Another excellent adventure combination is on offer within two hours of the Gauteng cities. D’Berg trails offer a combination of hiking, canoeing and mountain bike and 4x4 trails in the Trichardtspoort valley against the Gouwsberg mountain range.
The base camp is set in an idyllic spot, on the banks of the Wilge River, under the many indigenous trees that hug the river bed. The bird life is prolific with more than 200 spieces identified. Natural bird hides close to the camp offer excellent spotting. Hikers are welcome to try their bait on the black bass and yellow fish in the river. A rod fee is charged and fishing tackle can be hired. There are several guided 4x4 trails. Safe and comfortable tow-man canoes can be hired. D’Berg offers several adventure packages which can be combined to enjoy the river and mountainous areas. Archaeological sites have been discovered here.
There is a network of trails totaling interlinking routes. One can enjoy two full-day hikes as well as a short ramble (approx 5km) along the banks of the Wilge River, which is ideal for toddlers, grandparents or visitors who remain behind at the camp.
The mountain trail is a challenging climb up the Gouwsberg and is laid out along the contours. The trail zigzags up the mountain, dipping through a deep kloof, to end up on top of the mountain range, where spectacular views await the hiker. The trail stays on the plateau for a short while before descending into the gorge. It follows the mountain stream with the most magnificent indigenous trees giving welcome shade. Endemic game, including mountain reedbuck, rhebuck, kudu, members of the cat family and baboons may be seen by the observant hiker.
The river trail extends for 12km or more, it sets out from the camp and hugs the banks of the Wilge River where the hiker is bound to see the otters frolicking on the small islands, as well as some shy leguaans. All along the river, birders will delight in spotting several waterbirds and time can be spent in the bird hides near the camp. The trail then follows the district road for about 1km alongside the route of the old Voortrekker leader, Louis Trichardt. After crossing the fence, the trail is shaded by sweet thorn trees and then joins the jeep track for a short while and returns to the river which is crossed by the bridge. From this point, the hiker can either turn back to the base camp or continue on to hike over the boulder outcrops – interestingly shaped granite boulders among which grow a variety of indigenous trees. Thereafter choose either the longer trail or the shortcut to the bridge.
Accommodation at D’Berg varies from a luxury north African colonial-theme guest lodge, with five en suite bedrooms and three 8 bed log cabins, perched on the banks of the river. Several adventure packages (either self-catering or catered) are on offer, including two days hiking or a combination of hiking and canoeing with a guided 4x4 trail (1okm or longer). The camp is only available to hikers for 2-3 weekends a month.
The enjoyment of D’Berg trails will be enhanced by cooling off after the days hike in the deep pools of the Wilge River, playing on the tubes, enjoying canoe trip on the river of half a day or longer, angling or simply listening to the prolific bird song in the trees.