In one of the great African plains, the Lowveld, between the Drakensberg mountain range containing Magoebaskloof, the Wolkberg and the Kruger Park, is the De Neck Private Nature Reserve. Here in the true African bushveld, the indigenous animals, the extensive flora and fauna and the crystal clear night sky, await the hiker.
The De Neck trail is laid out as a network of trails with two camps, either of which can serve as a base camp. There are several day-hikes out of each camp and these can also be combined to form various circular routes, of different lengths. Hikers wishing to backpack can plot their own routes and distances from one base camp to the other.
The farm is divided by the Seribane hills which leave two plateaus on the north-western and southern sides of the farm. The route stretches over the entire area, and is rich in trees, bird-life and wildlife. There are no perennial rivers and hikers are advised to carry at least two litres of water per person. Knoppiesdoring camp lies in the fold of the mountain surrounded by a garden of indigenous trees and shrubs. Built in the traditional Shangaan style, the walls are constructed of Mopanie poles plastered halfway up with opening above and beneath the eaves. This ensures good ventilation.
At the Oukraal camp two old feed silos have been converted into a double storey with two rooms each with 4 beds. About 5km away is Masalal farmhouse (4 bedrooms, 3 en-suite) for those guests requiring the comfort of a fully equipped self-catering house, with a big veranda, lapa and reservoir where one can swim.
Various animal species which were once endemic have been reintroduced to the reserve, namely zebra, giraffe, kudu, reedbuck and other buck species, cheetah and leopard. There is a large herd of sable antelope roaming the farm. More than 90 bird species have been identified. The variety of tree species are well documented with details of the medicinal uses that the Shangaan people apply. There are several places which indicate early occupation possibly dating to the late iron age. Mountain bikers can use the farm roads while 4x4 owners can book the bushcamp or any of the other accommodation for excursions.
At De Neck you will find the essence of Africa – game, bush, mild winters and hot summer nights.
Total number of hikers per camp, 16 - Masalal house, 8 person
Length/duration: 30 km
Degree of difficulty: easy
Knoppiesdoring camp: 4 huts, each with 4 beds/mattresses. Gaslamps and candles, 2 showers, enviro toilets. Wood fire ‘donkey’ geyser for showers and hot water tap at drum, outside cold water taps.
Ou Kraal: each silo has 2 rooms, 2 single beds and one bunkbed per room. Two showers in the reedbush and 2 enviro toilets. Electricity in camp.
Cooking facilities: Lapa area with campfire area, partly under cover. Two plate gas cooker, scullery, kettle, pots, pans, cast iron potjies (flat bottom and 3-legged) braaigrid, wood supplied.
Carry at least 2 litres of water. Hiker must report to managers house by 10h00. Tick and mosquito repellent essential. Masalal house can be booked for 8 persons.
Location of trail:
380km from Gauteng, 37km from Tzaneen, 92km from Phalaborwa.
Acknowledgement and bookings: Jacana