THE BEST HIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE in the country. We had difficulty narrowing down our options, but you can find a longer list of Eastern Cape hiking trails here.
Our list below includes mostly multi-day hiking trails in the Eastern Cape, but we’ve also included one or two day hikes for those who don’t have the time or fitness (some of the longer trails have shorter versions) to tackle strenuous trails.
The Eastern Cape of South Africa is Nelson Mandela’s birthplace, and it has some of the most diverse landscapes in the country. It’s slower than Gauteng and the Western Cape, cooler than KwaZulu-Natal, and, strangely, frequently overlooked by tourists.
It’s a hiking paradise…
BEST HIKING TRAILS IN SOUTH AFRICA’S EASTERN CAPE
HIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE | AMATOLA
Hike between King Williams Town and Hogsback in six days.
Don’t be put off by the Amatola Trail’s 6-day duration; you can complete a portion of it, known as the Zingcuka Loop, in a weekend (pretty tough). The complete version Amatola is regarded as one of the country’s premier hikes, offering some of the most incredible remote mountain scenery in southern Africa, complete with waterfalls, indigenous forests, and no other human contact for 6 days! Do a Google search for a good hiking guide to Amatola. If you want to hike or do any fun activities you can book a South Africa trip or stay in a South Africa safari lodge. Live your best life today.
HARTLAND HIKE BAVIAANSKLOOF
6-day journey through the Baviaanskloof’s natural beauty
The Hartland hiking trail, billed as a hiking “experience,” meanders through a series of wilderness areas, kloofs poorts, passes, and breathtaking scenery between the Baviaanskloof and Kouga mountains.
Every day, you’ll walk 12 kilometres, but you’ll stay in local guesthouses (one of the overnights is in a cave). The days include bee farms, olive groves, leopard rehabilitation, and a donkey cart ride, so it’s more than just hiking. You’ll have a local guide to point out the sights along the way.
HIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE | STRANDLOPER TRAIL
This beachcomber trail traces the steps of the first people to explore this coastline (strandloper means “beach walker”). With overnight huts, no electricity, and river crossings, mountains, grassy paths, beach sand, and breathtaking scenery as your daily companions, this trail is anything but slackpacker.
You’ll return exhausted, refreshed, and in love with life after experiencing complete freedom. If you want to experience solitude on uninhabited beaches, this is the hike for you.
HIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE | SHIPWRECK
It takes 6 days to travel from Port Alfred to Fish River.
If canoeing is your thing, the shipwreck hiking trail goes the extra mile to include a canoe trail version; otherwise, it’s a good measured walk up the coast.
You won’t even notice what your feet are doing because you’ll be taking in the scenery, and the constant wash of the ocean as it hits the shore will work its magic on your psyche to the point where, by day four, you’ll be wondering how you’re ever going to return to’real life.’ There is also a slackpacker version.
SACRAMENTOHIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE
A meander along Port Elizabeth’s wild coast . A beach wilderness begins and extends past Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay, where Port Elizabeth ends and rounds the point where you’ll find the photogenic Cape Recife lighthouse.
This circular cliffside trail begins at Schoenmakerskop and meanders through the Schoenmakerskop-Sardinia Bay reserve, passing through some of the most stunning scenery. It descends from the cliffs to the beach before winding through a fynbos-covered ridge. It’s also not difficult.
ALEXANDRIA HIKING TRAIL
IN ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK . This hike takes you through forest, coastal dunes, and along the seashore not far from Port Elizabeth. The Alexandria Dune field, a shifting sand dune with ancient midden deposits from original strandlopers along these shores, is one of the park’s lesser-explored highlights.
The first day of the hike begins at Woody Cape, with its dramatic cliffs from which you may see whales (August, September). The 7km Tree Dassie Trail is ideal for those looking for a shorter hike in the reserve.
MALUTI COMMUNITY TRAIL A four-day trail in the southern Drakensberg.
This is a Fairtrade hike through the Drakensberg foothills where the Eastern Cape meets Kwa-Zulu-Natal and southern Lesotho for those looking for a low-impact holiday that gives back.
The local community owns and operates it, and it includes mud chalet stays, local meals, and a qualified community guide. Your luggage is transported for you from chalet to chalet.\
HIKING TRAILS IN THE EASTERN CAPE | LAMMERGEIER
Get lost for as long as you need. The Lammergeier (bearded vulture) Nature Reserve spans the Witteberg Mountains’ foothills between Lady Grey and Barkly East, providing hikers with mountain scenery, streams, sandstone formations, and basalt cliffs.
While there are trails to follow, the general consensus is that you should venture off the beaten path, combining trails, fording streams, and climbing mountains at random throughout the landscape.
MEANDER OF THE WILD COAST
5 days on the country’s most remote coastline
The Garden Route, Sunshine Coast, Dolphin Coast, Elephant Coast, and West Coast all compete for visitors’ attention. But none is as wild, or as beautiful, as the Wild Coast.
This slackpacking trail covers 54 kilometres in six days, beginning at the mouth of the Qolora River and ending in Morgan’s Bay, with an optional canoe trip up the Nxaxo River. The hike is also available in a mini-meander, or three-day version.
HLULEKA HIKING TRAILS Wild Coast
There are a number of day trails in the Hluleka Nature Reserve for those who want to experience the remoteness and beauty of the Wild Coast without undertaking the Wild Coast Meander.
Zebra and a variety of birds live in grass-covered hills, a spectacular coastline, and indigenous forests. Because the gravel roads to the reserve require a tough vehicle, you’ll have the reserve almost entirely to yourself (no tourist hordes here).
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