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Holhoek Hiking Trail

Holhoek Hiking Trail, Eastern Free State, South Africa The 20km 2 day Holhoek Hiking Trail near Paul Roux is a fairly easy but very interesting and varied hike that makes the most of the beauty and heritage of the Witteberg Mountains in the Eastern Free State. It is also rare among hiking trails in South Africa as it features a 4,3km wheelchair friendly route for paraplegics and paraplegic facilities at base camp.

The trail is a ‘figure of eight’ base camp trail consisting of two day trails, one 13km and one 7km, which move through varied terrain, along sandstone cliffs (kranse), into valleys, under overhangs and through caves, and into steep narrow kloofs with bubbling mountain streams. There are 5 caves on the trail – each with their own peculiar character. The Bushman Cave is richly decorated with some of the most interesting and ancient San Rock Art in the Free State – estimated to be 25 000 yrs old. The Rock Art at Holhoek is a particularly well preserved pictographic record of an animistic civilisation’s ‘supernatural’ beliefs with many drawings of the Eland, which was believed to have magical powers, and half-animal, half-human figures that represent the shape-changing shamans who would travel to the spirit world in animal form.

A second cave has two Iron Age huts built against the back wall. These huts are more than 200 years old and have been saved from erosion in the sheltered cave. A third Cave has a waterfall and another a more recent history as a hiding place for Boer women and children during the Anglo Boer War – one of them the mother of one of South Africa’s former presidents – P.W. Botha.

The topography of the trail involves many ascents, descents and kloofs that would be very difficult to navigate if it weren’t for a network of ladders, ropes, stairs and bridges – all of which add an extra charm and interest to the trail as well as making it a lot easier to negotiate.

Base Camp consists of two fully equipped thatch huts with electricity, braai area and lapa, near a dam full of bass for anyone who’d prefer to be left behind to fish! Each hut sleeps 12 people.

The Paraplegic Trail goes to a waterfall and back along well prepared paths.

The Holhoek Trail is situated on the beautiful Holhoek Guest Farm with self catering lodge accommodation and various other activities such as horse-riding, abseiling for beginners, game viewing and bass fishing in the dam in front of the farmhouse and huts. Holhoek is perfect for very affordable ‘group’ long weekends or corporate groups and can take up to 60 people.

More on Holhoek

Getting there: Holhoek is situated just off the N5 between Bethlehem and Senekal in the Witteberg Mountain area not far from Ficksburg, Fouriesburg and Clarens.

More on the quaint town of Paul Roux More on the Eastern Free State area

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