One of CapeNature’s increasingly popular hiking trails – the 23,5 km, two-day Tierkloof trail located in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve (a mere 35 km outside Oudtshoorn) - has been acclaimed as one of the world’s best walking trails in a recently published book Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die. The trail is now placed alongside world renowned trails such as Peru’s Inca Trail, India’s Darjeeling Tea Trek, China’s Giant Panda Walk and Scotland’s West Highland Way.
Starting in succulent Karoo, this 2 day 13.2 km + 11.6 km is a moderately strenuous trail taking hikers through a deep, forested ravine onto a fynbos-rich mountain plateau. Here they overnight at the remote Oukraal campsite and enjoy spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges.
Dramatic gorges, stunning mountain scenery, amazing wildlife and birds characterize the Tierkloof Hiking Trail in Gamkaberg Nature Reserve.
This moderately strenuous trail starts in the Succulent Karoo biome before heading into a lush, forested ravine. Here a melodic chorus of forest songbirds rings in the kloof – particularly the vocal Bokmakieries and Southern Boubous. A pair of breeding Black eagles have claimed the cliffs for their eyrie and can often be seen soaring in the thermals.
The two-day trail eventually leads hikers onto the fragrant fynbos-clad mountain plateau. Spectacular views of the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains can be enjoyed from the far-flung overnight stop at Oukraal camp.
The camp provides beds, mattresses, gas fridge, stove, fireplace and ablutions. Permits can be obtained from the CapeNature Booking Office.
The Trail, accommodation and biodiversity along the route
Trail limit: 12 hikers
Trail distance: 23, 5
Trail Grading: Moderately strenuous
Day 1: 14.5km
Day 2: 13km
Nearest Town: Oudtshoorn – 33 km south-west; Calitzdorp – 32 km south-east
Region: Little Karoo
The first day of the two day Tierkloof trail follows a 9 km secluded riverine gorge with remnants of forests of a bygone era. This natural haven is home to an amazing variety of wildlife – from insects and reptiles to colourful birds and small mammals. A further 3 km through mountain fynbos will take you to the Oukraal overnight hut, which sleeps 12 people. Best to bring your own water, as the gorge is dry most of the time. Also ensure that you wear good hiking boots that support your ankles, as some sections of the trail has loose stones that could be slippery.
After a relaxing nights rest, a walk of 11km amidst interesting Cape sandstone rock formations will take you back on a circular route to where you started the previous day. Apart from the spectacular views of the Swartberg, Langeberg and Outeniqua mountain ranges, you might be lucky enough to spot one or more of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebras residing on this reserve.