Home Trails/venues Mpumalanga Buffalo Gorge
Back to nature ...
Buffalo Gorge hiking trail, Middelburg
Experience open space, wilderness, starry skies, fresh air and the gentle spirit of the horse. A passion for horses and nature has led to this farm being developed to offer a great opportunity to appreciate nature either on foot or on horseback.
The Buffalo Gorge horse safari and hiking trail offers four easy trails, with a strong emphasis on identifying the tagged trees (with the aid of an excellent tree list) along the routes. More than 80 tree species form part of a magnificent indigenous forest against the mountain slopes. The owner is a tree expert and is keen to share his knowledge of the trees and their medicinal uses with like-minded nature lovers.
Abseiling and rock climbing on two rock faces (15 m and 50 m) are also offered.
A facilitator with equipment is available, or climbers can bring their own equipment. Hikers can enjoy a “fun ride” on completion of the first day’s hike. The owner has pledged to teach even the most cautious hiker to enjoy horse riding! No previous riding experience is necessary, but there is a weight restriction. .
The White trail covers a distance of 12 or 15 km and affords a great opportunity to explore the different eco zones on the farm. The trail cuts through part of the dense indigenous forest, past interesting rock formations where the prolific vegetation includes proteas. After crossing several streams, one reaches a terrarium (a clump of trees growing on termite mounds) in the savannah area.
The trail then leads to the edge of a deep gorge, Adventure Valley, through which cuts the fast-flowing Selon’s River, with its rapids and waterfalls. The trail follows the edge of the escarpment, past rocky outcrops covered with multi-coloured lichen. Shortly thereafter there is an opportunity to top up water bottles from the natural spring. The trail cuts back along the boundary, dipping through a deep donga that is home to hundreds of bee-eaters. Lunch can be enjoyed beneath a thick cover of trees. The trail winds its way back to the base camp across flat areas, passing more terrariums. After crossing another stream, the last stretch winds back to base camp along the contours at the foot of the mountain. Hikers should be able to spot endemic game such as kudu, klipspringer, duiker, warthog and baboon.
The shorter trails are colour-coded with orange, blue and yellow markers.
The Orange trail is a 1,5 hour walk through the indigenous forest to identify the tree species.
The Yellow trail takes one to three hours. Once it reaches the waterfall, it veers away from the Blue trail, passing the abseiling spot, and climbs to the top of the plateau where one is rewarded with wonderful vistas of the surrounding area. Hikers have a choice of three vertical trails to negotiate the descent back to the camp.
On the Blue trail there are weird and wonderfully shaped boulders amongst well-tagged trees, including a variety of bonsai trees growing in the cracks. This trail passes two small waterfalls and the old kraal, and then joins up with the White trail to return to the camp. It is particularly suitable for beginners and the combination of several interests such as hiking, abseiling, horse riding and tree identification will appeal to all nature lovers. Base camp is rustic - “back to nature”.
Buffalo Gorge horse safari and hiking trail
Number of hikers: 20 people.
Four circular trails from the base camp
Degree of difficulty: Easy to average
Two permanent tents, one with 14 beds/mattresses, and a smaller tent with 2 beds/mattresses. 17 camping sites using own tents. Donkey-fired geyser, 2 toilets and a shower. Bush tent kitchen with scullery, tables, 2 kettles, No. 6 potjie, pans and pots. Three- plate gas cooker. Gas fridge and freezer.
Braai grids and lots of wood.
Dam for swimming.
Each camping site has a table and braai area. Please supply own braai grid.
Location of trail
36 km from Middelburg, 160 km from Gauteng.
Acknowledgement and bookings: Jacana