TEPELKOP HIKING TRAIL
The two day trails on the Tepelkop farm on the South eastern slopes of the Witteberg range extends over several farms including Tepelkop, Lynfontein, Vadersgift and Overdene. Both trails set out from the Tepelkop farm’s Barn or Pophuisie, both which have been beautifully restored and offer luxurious accommodation for all hikers.
The trails are particularly suitable for beginner to experienced hikers. For the non hiker’s visitor to the farm, a short walk on the trail on the first kilometre or two will take one almost to the start of the climb up the mountains. This is the ideal trail where grandparents can join the family to spend time in nature.
The longer trail, a distance of 10 km, starts off with an easy walk through the poplar grove where a famous San painting has made this farm an international Rock art site. The trail crosses the grassland before the path starts the ascent to the first sandstone ridge. All along, the trail crosses mountain streams past interesting sandstone boulders and overhangs. A short and steep climb takes one up to the Tepelkop Mountain. The vista across the Free State, which is a colourful patchwork of cultivated and open veld towards the Maluti mountain range, is spectacular at this point. Hereafter the trail follows the contours above the sandstone ridges on a comfortable contoured path on all three peaks before it turns back beneath the sandstone ridge, through magnificent indigenous, semi tropical vegetation. The ferns and grass “bearded” sandstone wall are truly a unique sight. The trail descends to the “ou tuin” of the Lynfontein farm yard. Refreshing mountain stream water obtainable from a pipe, makes a rest under these magnificent old trees most relaxing. The last stretch goes between the cultivated lands and one follows the last kilometre along the same trail where it started out.
The second day climbs a short hill until one enjoys a great stretch on the top of the plateau. The views look across the western side of the Witteberg range and farms. The trail descends the mountain plateau and proceeds to pass by at Mapieta’s cave. Here the hiker can rest and ponder on this brave old lady’s existence with her family in the corner of the eastern Free State. This cave derives its name from the grandmother of a previous owner who stayed with her family in this cave throughout the Anglo Boer war. The name is her Sotho given name meaning “wife of Piet” The trail follows and crosses the dongas before one reaches the same track of the previous days’ trail to return to the base camp. There is a farm dam/reservoir/plunge pool behind the barn where one can cool off in the cold mountain water after the hikes.
Tepelkop’s two day trails can be enjoyed by the beginner, the young and the experienced hiker alike. At the end of this winding road, one discovers one of the prettiest farms in the eastern Free State where a few blissful days can be spend with a hobby or activity of your choice.
Two day trails: 10 km and 8 km.
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Degree of difficulty:
Semi luxury hiker’s accommodation: Base camp: Two rooms each with 5 bunks, sleeping 10 per room. Each room has own en suite modern ablution facilities including 2 toilets, 2 basins and 2 showers, with electric geysers. Lapa and braai facilities inside the partly sandstone walled enclose structure. Supply own charcoal/wood. Kitchen is well equipped with 4- plate electric stove, a microwave oven, fridge and freezer, kettles, pots, pans, toaster, electrical frying pan, cutlery and crockery. Farm dam/ reservoir behind shed a great swimming spot . DSTV dish at base camp, supply own smart card and decoder.
The road can be tricky in wet weather. It is advisable to arrive before dark,
Location of trail: 46 km from Bethlehem, 16 km from Slabberts and 20 km from Fouriesburg