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Not all water and kloofs ...
Waterkloof hiking trail, Ficksburg
The Waterkloof trail is situated in the Moolmanshoek Private Nature and Game Reserve in the Eastern Free State district of Ficksburg.
The route lies against the two most famous mountains in this area, namely Visierskerf and Sikonjella’s Hat. The base camp is located on the farm Waterkloof where there is an unforgettable view of Visierskerf from the adjoining lapa.
The trail starts through an old fruit orchard, traverses grasslands and cultivated lands, and then runs through the game camp. It then winds along a riverine valley, past a big sandstone overhang, next to the stream up to the first gorge. Stop for tea and a swim in the rock pools. Following a contour path takes the hiker up to the top of this sandstone-carved kloof. The route then hugs the contours under the cliffs. Energetic hikers can climb to the summit of Sikonjella’s Hat (2 330 m). The trail goes into the second “waterkloof” (an ideal lunch stop) which has a subtropical feeling, with a mountain stream. It then descends to Bambookloof, from where it is a short walk to the Barolong overnight camp, which is a cave nestling under a magnificent sandstone overhang. Hikers can sleep in the open under the overhang or in the traditional wattle-and-daub rooms. From here one can watch the sun go down on a rewarding day in beautiful natural surroundings.
The second day’s hike goes along the sandstone cliffs amongst a rich variety of flora, past the Porcupine look-out point. Energetic hikers can climb to the summit of Visierskerf mountain (2 440 m). Then it is on to the last of the “waterklowe” - the favourite being the secluded Witgatbad or wallow in one of seven pools before the trail meanders across the veld and takes one back to the base camp. The three-day hike follows the contours at the base of Jacobsberg to the Sphinx mountain hut. The third day’s walk, along the two Pyramid mountains, takes one along a grove of willow trees to a big swimming pool and then a water hole where reed look-outs have been erected. The trail then goes through cultivated lands and some veld before arriving back at the base camp.
Game that may be seen include big herds of blesbuck, black wildebeest, zebra and springbuck, especially in the Serengeti plains area. Mountain reedbuck, fallow deer, duiker and steenbuck may be observed in the mountainous areas. There are many bird species and black eagles nest against the mountain. Trees include olienhout, ghwarrie and sugar bush, and there is a variety of flowers and ferns.
Waterkloof hiking trail
Maximum number of hikers: 30.
Degree of difficulty: average to difficult
Base camp at Waterkloof farmhouse: 30 beds with mattresses. Four rooms in house, additional rondavel. Two bathrooms with a shower, bath and flushing toilets. One pit toilet. Gas geysers. 2-plate gas stove, 2 pots, 2 pans, kettle and potjie. Braai facilities and wood.
Barolong overhang cave: Supply own groundsheets/mattresses. Three rooms or sleep near fire/under overhang. Braai facilities, kettle, two potjies, one cast iron pot. Collect braai/firewood from the 4x4 road near the cave. Water available from tank at mountain stream. Pit toilets.
Sphinx Mountain Hut: see write-up on Sphinx trail.
Location of trail
45 km from Ficksburg, 230 km from Bloemfontein, 340 km from Gauteng.
Acknowledgement and bookings: Jacana