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LOCAL TIME: 04:03 pm | Tuesday, 31 March
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Bald Ibis Hiking Trail, Harrismith

Rensburgkop, North Eastern Free State, South Africa - the 'Mountain' on the Bald Ibis Hiking Trail near HarrismithThe 2 day 2 night Bald Ibis Trail in the Drakensburg mountains near Harrismith is known for five things – spectacular sandstone rock formations, the famous Rensburgkop mountain, Bald Ibis and various endangered raptors that nest on the mountain, needing a GPS, Windy Corner, difficulty…and having to carry everything with you for the Cave Overnight.

The trail is quite popular and was well marked at one time, but has lately been re-classified as a Wilderness Trail requiring GPS due to grazing cattle damaging the trail markers. You will be given the GPS routes when you book.

The first night of the trail is spent at the Bald Ibis Camp (and Base Camp for anyone wanting to do a less demanding day trail option) in Swinburne. The camp is well equipped, with electricity, hot showers and an inside fireplace. Enjoy the comfort, because the almost 18km route on Day One will test you…

Overnight Cave has almost no amenities. There are only pallets to sleep on, no supplies or cooking equipment and a bush long drop. 

Day One features a steep ascent at the outset, to the base of a sandstone ‘krans’ (clifftop), and on to a ledge called ‘Windy Corner’. The views are amazing, but Windy Corner is named for the fact that it can be a little tricky to negotiate when it’s windy. The bonus is a short descent after the corner has been dealt with and the rock formations and views will have you clicking away on your camera.

The trail continues to a fork, with one trail ascending sharply to the summit and another (the main one) descending to open grasslands and then on up again to the overnight Cave.

Day Two is a 9km hike back to the Bald Ibis Camp and is fairly straightforward with no testing ascents.

Impressive rare and endangered bird species that can be seen include the Bald Ibis, Cape Vulture and both Black and Crown Eagles. It may be an extra thing to have to carry, but don’t forget a really good camera for this hike…

For more trail info, directions and to book call 0861 522262 or email.

Getting there: You literally cannot miss it! ‘The Mountain’ towers above the surrounding landscape 25km south-east of Harrismith on the N3. The starting point of Swinburne is a tiny almost hamlet with a shop, pub and garage.

More on the quaint town of Van Reenen More on the Eastern Free State area



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