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Hikes in the Lady Grey and Barkly East Mountains

Hike the Eastern Cape Highland’s splendid trails in some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country. The beautiful mountains are close to the border with Lesotho and reach to the skies, ensuring snow in winter and even in spring or autumn, so always be prepared. These trails all leave from the Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve.

Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve Hikes

Black Eagle Trail

This is an 11km trail, a comfortable walk with a few steep sections, from the Mtombo hut to the Olympus hut. Allow 4-6 hours for the walk down the Tempe Valley into the Karringmelkspruit Valley past Black Eagle and Hammerkop nests. Enjoy a slide at the Slidey pool idyllic swimming & picnic spots. There are 4-5 River crossings and spectacular views of the Olympus gorge. Focus is on enjoying the river!

Witteberg Skywalk

This tough, steep rugged 12km circular walk from Olympus hut to the top of the mountains is for fit hikers and will take 5-6 hours. Experience magnificent rugged scenery as you overlook the Transkei and Lesotho. Keep look out for the Cape Vultures and Lammergeier, as well as the Grey & Red Rhebuck. This hike can be combined with the Cheese Factory trail to Pelion making it a 8-9 hour walk.

Cheese Factory Trail

This fairly easy trail is from the Olympus hut to Pelion House and takes about 5-6 hours walking along kranzes through the river valley. Pass by the old Cheese factory ruin. (If only doing the Cheese factory route to Pelion, detour to the old water wheel, two river crossings further down the river). Swim in the deep pool below the Water wheel ruin. Stop at the old stone sheep dip en route back to the factory. Walk up the valley, in the Five Oaks riverbed to the Roman Baths, ideal for a skinny dip before arriving at Pelion!

Snowdon Trail

Snowdon Trail is for the fit experienced hiker. It is a tough 22km, unmarked walk to Snowdon Peak – having to camp out with no facilities. The top has absolutely spectacular views at just on 9000ft above sea level. Wild flowers abound in this environment. We often see the Lammergeier on this route. It is a good 10-12 hours walk. You return, absolutely exhausted, to Upper Pelion house via the waterfalls. A spectacular wilderness walk!

Table Mountain Trail

This trail takes 5-6 hours and is fair to steep at points where you ascend the mountain. Leave Pelion House, walk along the road, through Five Oaks veld along the ridge pass the poplar bushes, down into the Keiskama valley. Cross the stream at the picnic kloof, head up the gorge along the plateau to Table Mountain at 8200 feet for a spectacular view… Spend time listening & watching for the baboons, Cape Vulture & Lammergeier plus the other raptors that abound. Walk down the west side of the mountain down into the Tempevale Valley, back to reception where you would have left your vehicle. Alternatively you could take the lower path below Table Mountain past the Bongola Dam , over the neck & into Tempevale valley back to reception.

Pelion Valley Walk

This highly recommended walk from Pelion House can be as long or short as you desire, into the spectacular surrounds. The difficulty is fair with a gradual incline. The farm Upper Pelion is a Natural Heritage farm because of the eco- friendly farming practices. Montane bush & grassland is a refuge for many bird species…The wildflowers in spring & autumn are a sight to behold and mountain bamboo abounds. In February/March the Nerina lilies are an unforgettable sight as they stretch right up from the stream bed to the top of the kranzes at the main waterfall. The Dolos dobo lily hides away in the shady wooded area, and Forget-me-nots carpet the valley beneath the knarled old Outhout trees. There is also a rare succulent above the waterfall.

Stop off for a swim in any one of the many waterfall pools, explore the hidden waterfalls and look for unusual flowers in the wooded area near them. Hike up to the main waterfall in the riverbed – stops are a must here… This 45m fall freezes 250mm thick during winter! Alternatively, take the rocky footpath up to the top of the waterfall, & back to the hidden falls and main stream junction, taking in the scenery on the way back to the Pelion House.

Either walk back along the road, or the same path you came in on. It looks totally different on the way back to Pelion House.

Lammergeier Private Nature ReserveAll hikes leave from the Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve. Direction: Turn off the R58 at Lammergeier Trail Signboard, about 40 km from Barkly East and 27km from Lady Grey.

Travel 14 km on Joubert’s Pass gravel road to Reception. Mobile: +2782 929 9729: Tel: +2751 603 7039: E-Mail.


More info on the town of Barkly East More info on the N. Ukhahlamba area

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