The Waterberg Mountains act as a hideaway for several gems of nature that the inquisitive hiker will be enticed to say wow! And Wow! In sheer wonderment. Lovers of birdlife, trees and geology can only marvel at the diversity that unfolds as the one foot follows the other into this paradise. Rhenosterpoort is situated close to the small hamlet of Rankin’s Pass which is on the sand road between Alma and Thabazimbi in Limpopo Province. Generally this road is reasonable but it can turn into something exciting after heavy rains. A four-wheel drive vehicle or vehicle with good ground clearance is preferable under these adverse conditions. When we visited the farm Rhenosterpoort the sand road was awash after a deluge of about 60mm of rain but this is not the norm. However the saying goes that ‘it is an ill wind that blow nobody any good’ and so was the case with our visit as the streams and waterfalls where at their thundering best.
There are two trails at Rhenosterpoort. You can do these from either of the two camps or link them together as an overnight backpack. Both trails have stunning scenery that you will find includes magnificent gorges, water features and views. The longer trail begins by taking you to the first of many falls you will encounter along your walk and is sufficiently close to your starting point to entice you back for a dip after you have completed the day. Following this interlude of delight at this awe of water, your path takes you to the junction of the circular day trail that eventually will return you to the Dassie Camp or by taking the lower road to the left it takes you to the Bushbuck camp for the circular route from there. For those of you intending to do the Dassie circle, the trail climbs steeply through dense forest until you reach a conglomerate rock outcrop with panoramic views below. Your route now takes you through grassland, ascending less steeply until a last scramble brings you over a ridge. A descent through a rock strewn veld and along another beautiful gurgling brook brings you to the head of the highlight of the day’s walk, a magnificent gorge that will tell you to tarry for a while in the cool waters that cascade down it. It is only short walks from here to the camp so you should take your time here before you go on to complete the trail.
Like the Dassie Camp the Bushbuck Camp is set in the heart of delightful indigenous forest. From this Camp the second trail leads to a stream and you follow this to the junction of the path from Dassie Camp. From here you ascend alongside this picturesque brook, crisscrossing backwards and forwards as you go. The rocks that you negotiate along the way are made up of the Waterberg sandstone group, evidence of the distant past of millions of years ago when the environment of this area was vastly different from what it is today. Eventually your path leads you away from the beautiful cataract and ascends quite steeply to a vantage point overlooking the valley and distant mountains that stretch out before you. A steep and rocky descent now takes you down to the plain and this is followed by an easy walk back to camp.
True to its name the Waterberg Mountains really come alive through the beauty of the abundance of water on this farm. The panoramic expanse that unfolds before you from the mountain tops is also a feature to behold.
The two trails can be walked separately or as a backpack route utilizing both camps for a single night.
There are two stone built, thatched roof camps, each equipped with beds and mattresses, tables and chairs and a communal braai area. Ablutions include hot showers and flush toilets. Kitchen facilities include a fridge and small stove.
Dassie Camp accommodates 20 people, Bushbuck camp accommodates 10 people
There are also two fully equipped self-catered guest cottages situated on the edge of a beautiful farm dam.
Stone Chalets accommodates 4 people and Timber chalet accommodates 2 people
Where is it
Rhenosterpoort is situated close to the hamlet of Rankins Pass on the sand road that leads west from the Modimolle Vaalwater road through Alma to Thabazimbi
Entrance gate S24 30.486 E27 52.429
All visitors must report to the farm and then be guided to their camp.
What should I know about security?
No problems have been experience on the farm
How fit do I need to be?
The trails are both relatively short but the terrain is rugged. Both trails ascend approximately 250m in altitude. The trails can be regarded as of moderate difficulty with some more difficult sections. This is especially true when backpacking.
Geologically you come across Waterberg Sandstone (Bushbuck Trail), large areas on conglomerate (Dassie Trail) and granite rock in the gorge, also on the Dassie Trail. You will find a wide variety of birds including the Black Eagle, Cape Vulture and Fish Eagle. Game to be seen on the farm includes Kudu, Bush pig, Impala and Warthog.