Amatola Hiking Trail
The Amatola Hiking Trail is a 6 day hike through the Amatola Mountains. The trail consists of several exciting loop trails and the main 6 day trail which is linear. The trail can be started at various starting points with the main trail starting at Maden Dam near King Williams Town and ending near Hogsback.
The Amatola Trail is a treasure chest for nature lovers. Indigenous Forests steeped in history blanket the mountains without smothering them. Endless waterfalls, cascades and pools in broken mountain terrain leave the hiker wishing there was more time to enjoy them.
Facilities and Amenities
Each overnight hut has beds or bunks and mattresses for up to 16 people, although Cata, Zingcuka and Evelyn Loop trail have more. Firewood should be available at the huts or can be collected in the vicinity. It is always handy to take a light gas stove, especially for wet cold weather. There are no pots or pans at the huts but fire places with braai grids are provided. There is potable water and a shower at each hut. There are no overnight huts at the start or end points of the trail.
The trail can be hiked at any time of the year, although it is a summer rainfall area, every month generally has some rain. Snow falls a few days a year in the very high lying areas and has been known to occur up to January. Each season has its own charms while hiking the trail, although winter days are shorter than the rest of the year, so less time to get to each hut in daylight.
The Amatola Trail varies in height from 518m at Maden Dam to 1850m at Geju Peak. Not as rugged as the main Drakensberg, the trail can be described as undulating with occasional steep descents and ascents. Roughly 50% of the trail passes through Afro-montane forest with sour grasslands and afro-alpine heathland as well as the occasional plantation or self sown jungle making up the rest.
In a Nutshell
This is one of the premier hikes in South Africa, and one not to be missed. Experience a meander through the Amatola Mountain Range, which are said to contain more waterfalls than any other place on earth. Hike past remote Xhosa villages through the African Heartland, and then sleep in wooden cabins amongst ancient indigenous forest.