The beauty of Southern Africa is that there will never be enough time in the day to explore all the hiking opportunities it has to offer. According to the UN, Southern Africa includes 5 countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. In these 5 countries, you can find at least 43 National Parks to discover filled with wildlife and views you will not find anywhere else in the world.
The Otter Trail South Africa
One of the oldest hiking trails in all of South Africa and found in one of the most picturesque locations, Garden Route National Park. This park is found along the southern coastline covering 1,210 km2 of land and 605 km2 of indigenous forest.
The Otter Trail spans over 42.5km and takes 5 days to complete. This trail is filled with dense forests, hidden beaches, and eye-catching views making this one of the top hiking trails in the country.
Fish River Canyon Namibia
Found in the South of Namibia, Fish River is one of the top attractions and largest canyon in Africa. In this canyon lies the Fish River Canyon Hiking trail, 84km long and takes at least 5 days to complete. Your journey begins in Fish River and ends in Ai-Ais, a natural hot spring.
There are designated pathways but most of the trail is not fixed. Hiking poles and a lightweight camp chair would be especially useful as you navigate through rocky terrain, loose rocks, and steep inclines. The best time to hike through the canyon is from May to September, Namibia is known to reach high temperatures in summer. A tip for booking this hike, you need to reserve up to a year in advance, the permits are difficult to get.
Drakensberg-Mafadi Peak Lesotho
Mafadi Mountain in Lesotho is the highest peak in South Africa reaching 3,450m above sea level. The Drakensberg aka “Mountains of Dragons” stretches across 1,000km and is known for its pointed peaks.
This 4-day challenging adventure begins in Injisuthi Camp and ends at the marble baths. This hike is filled with panoramic views of the mountains, caves, and water baths carved naturally into sandstone. This is a perfect way to complete a long hike.
The Whale Trail South Africa
As it states in the name, expect to catch a glimpse of the Southern Right Whales along this hiking trail. You are likely to spot them from June to December as their breeding grounds are found near the De Hoop Nature Reserve. A beautiful reserve found just 3 hours outside of Cape Town spanning over 340 sq. km.
The Whale Trail is approximately 55km in length and will take 5 days to complete. This trail is known as a “slackpacking trail”, as it is full of cozy cottages where you can get a good nights rest and enjoy a hot meal, a real luxurious hiking experience.
Waterkloof Trail Namibia
A shorter 17km trail for those looking for a brilliant family friendly day hike. Found in the Naukluft Mountains in Namib Naukluft Park. Expect to be in awe of Namibia’s mountain landscape complete with the Naukluft River, gorges, and rock pools. The vegetation along this trail is perfect for spotting wildlife like zebras, baboons, and kudus.
The Waterkloof Trail will only take about 6-7 hours to complete compared to the multi-day hikes previously mentioned. Your journey begins at the Namibian Wildlife Resort. For this hike, you will want to bring at least 3 liters of water and binoculars to see the animals along the trail. During cooler months such as April to October, this hike is achievable even by the non-seasoned hikers.
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