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Kranskloof hiking trail, Carolina
Hikers will find enjoyment in the interesting combination of gorges, streams and the Highveld plateaus that offer beautiful vistas of the surrounding landscape.
The gushing waterfalls, fast-flowing mountain streams, indigenous trees, shrubs, veld flowers and the opportunity to spot several antelope species, bushpigs, members of the cat family and abundant bird life will all add to pleasurable hiking in this area.
The trail starts from two base camps. The Kranskloof camp is hidden away in indigenous bush and is built from the local rock. Nearby is a perennial stream where the water cascades to offer an exhilarating shower all year round, while further down the stream has been dammed to form a refreshing pool. The other base camp, Inkungu, consists of timber huts and overlooks a dam, home to several water bird species. It has lovely views across a patchwork of forestry areas towards the east and in the evenings the songs of the birds and frogs harmonise as in a concert. Inkungu is situated beneath massive wattle trees which offer shade and shelter. A large covered wooden deck is cantilevered over the dam and is a wonderful place to see the sun set at the end of the day.
From Inkungu to Kranskloof: The trail sets out past the old klipkraal and crosses the gravel district road. It starts with a gentle climb over the ridge to the escarpment area, passing the Oorlogkrans, where the owners found evidence of Anglo-Boer War skirmishes. It also passes the old cattle station (or veepos). In this area one is bound to see quite a lot of game, and near the wattle plantation one might see, but will definitely hear, the cries of baboons and vervet monkeys. Near the stream are the remains of the pioneer’s house.
The trail leaves the stream and climbs up to the escarpment with its fascinating rock formations. The Wonderklip, a mushroom-shaped rock, deserves a stop for tea and a photo. It then descends Schnapps Hill to reach the cool waters of the mountain stream where big kiepersol trees grow and narina trogons (or bosloeries) are often seen. The Gully route meanders along the stream, where there are more swimming holes and slide pools, with deep shade alongside. Once it leaves this gully, it ascends through a cleft in the krantz to reach the top of the ridge. From here is an easy walk to Kranskloof camp.
From Kranskloof camp hikers can do the overnight, backpacking trail to Inkungu camp or enjoy two shorter day walks.
From Kranskloof to Ikungu: The trail starts along a mountain stream and gradually ascends to the summit of the koppie, where there are many stamvrug trees. This is the perfect vantage point for spotting the game below. The route then continues along the ridge to reach a most interesting old kraal which offers an ideal resting spot. It continues above the red cliffs before descending down Richard’s Highway (stepping stones built into the mountain) to the stream. There is clear evidence that San peoples once lived in this particular area. The trail winds up to the base of the waterfall where a splendid shower can be enjoyed. A short but stiff climb takes the hiker to the top of the waterfall where there are several pools to cool off in or one can relax in the deep shade. The trail hugs the mountain stream to end on top of the plateau. The hike is very easy and continues over previously cultivated land, past a dam where water birds can be observed, to cross the gravel road again. The last stretch is a lovely surprise as the trail dips down into the Klein Klofie which is filled with giant tree ferns. Once it leaves this miniature gorge, it enters the flat area of the escarpment and passes the wattle plantation to reach Inkungu camp, set next to a dam where water birds can be seen and heard throughout the day and night.
Total number of hikers: 24 per camp.
Two-day overnight trail: approximately 8,5 and 10 km.
Day trails from Kranskloof
Kranskloof: 3 huts with 8 beds each. Inkungu: 4 huts with 6 beds each.
Lapas. Ablution facilities: donkey boilers for showers, flushing toilets, basins.
Undercover kitchen: 2-plate gas cooker, pots, pans, potjies, braai facilities and wood.
Location of trail
30 km from Carolina, 250 km from Gauteng.
Acaknowledgement and bookings : Jacana