Oliviershoek Pass/Bergville:
The farm has a superb location on the KwaZulu-Natal/Free State escarpment west of Retief Pass, by which the Voortrekkers first entered Natal in 1838. Thanks to a spur on the escarpment which protrudes far out into Natal, the farm offers stunning views of three very different, well-loved South African vistas. The dominant view, the majestic northern Drakensberg, lies southwards. The ‘Berg panorama seen from the farm is more than 100 km long and stretches from Cathkin Peak and Champagne Castle in the south-east to the Malutis in the west. It includes all the well-known landmarks, such as Cathedral Peak, Mweni Cutback, the Amphitheatre, etc. To the north, beautiful Eastern Free State sandstone scenery fills the view, stretching from the mountains south of Witsieshoek in the west to Rensburg Kop near Swinburne in the east. The view to the east is more typical of African scenery – wide grass‑filled valleys dotted with acacia trees – extending far over Colenso into northern KwaZulu-Natal. The old Voortrekker trails into Natal can be seen on the adjacent farm.

 

In addition to the many bird species (including raptors) and small game, such as mountain reedbuck and blesbuck, there are proteas, patches of indigenous bush, mountain streams, two waterfalls (approximately 40 m high), a spectacular overhang cave with San rock paintings behind one of the waterfalls, and a highly unusual wetland/pan developed behind a massive ancient landslide. There are a few swimming points and it is planned to construct more. Historians will enjoy visiting the National Monuments at Kerkenberg, Retief Klip and Retief Pass, and the famous Spioenkop Anglo-Boer War battle site.

 

The farm has three levels. The upper level, where the base camp is situated, imparts the feeling of being on top of the world. It is so quiet on this level and there is a wonderful quality of lightness. The vegetation is largely open short grassland, with small patches of proteas and indigenous forest. Mountain reedbuck occur on this level. The second level, approximately 150 m below the upper level, has taller grass with patches of indigenous forest beneath the cliffs. Here the bird life is more prolific and acacia trees make their first appearance. The third level lies 170 m lower and is the warmest area of the farm. Different tree species such as the wild fig are encountered here and the bird life becomes even more abundant, particularly in the kloof below the bottom waterfall.

 

There is excellent hiking for all grades of hikers, with a choice from strolls to day trails. Vergezient Mountain Retreat and Berg trails hope, however, to provide the visitor with more than good hiking - revitalisation of the body, and in particular the spirit, is their wish for you.

 

Vergezient hiking trail:
Length/Duration:

  • Day walks - various lengths. 2 x 13, 5 km - part of a network of trails.

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • Average to difficult.

 

Pertinent information:

  • Ideal base to visit the Royal National Park, Witsieshoek and the Sentinel.

 

Location of trail:

 

  • 330 km from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban off the R615.