Away from rest camps and tar roads lie pristine landscapes where nature rules. Wild recommends these five wilderness destinations, examples of the commitment to sustainable tourism. By Liani Janse van Rensburg
Picture yourself alone in the back country, surrounded by rugged mountains filled with patches of beautiful fynbos and tranquil silence. The Cederberg (pictured above by Rebekah Funk) is an ideal location for a break away from the bustling city. The area is brimming with crystal pools, mysterious rock formations, intriguing caves and wonderful paths that can be tackled only on foot. Get an overnight permit, sleep in the most remote areas and absorb the serenity of this beautiful place. Dare to jump from high cliffs into icy water, rock-climb steep mountains and trek deep into the wild.
2. Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area near Porterville
If you are yearning for a secluded haven, away from your busy work schedule and bumper-to-bumper traffic, then this is the place for you to explore. Without huts, beds, fireplaces, toilets or cellphone reception, Groot Winterhoek invites you to lose yourself in the beauty of an untamed landscape. You can pitch your tent anywhere in the reserve. Sleep under a blanket of stars and drift off to the soft calls of owls. Hike trails such as Die Tronk, Die Hel, Perdevlei and Kliphuis or go off-trail with your map and compass.
3. Alexandria Hiking Trail at Addo Elephant National Park
Addo’s coastal section is known for its dramatic dunes and atmospheric woodlands. Why not put on your hiking boots and also enjoy this gorgeous sanctuary on foot? The unguided Alexandria Hiking Trail is a two-day, circular trail of 32km in remote wilderness. Think sunsets, magical forests and wildlife near the coastline. Stay each night in rustic, wooden huts and listen to the sounds of this untouched corner of the Eastern Cape. The trail welcomes only 12 hikers a day, ensuring the experience is exclusively yours. Booking is essential.
4. Klipspringer Trail at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Discover the majestic slopes of Nyonyane Mountain and the magnificent Mantenga Valley from atop a horse. On this guided two-night trail you will discover the most remote and rural areas of this Highveld paradise. Sleep in rustic campsites next to the mighty Lusushwana River. Trek through the river and explore the secrets of the surrounding mountains. Ride in areas where no car can go and view places not many other visitors will ever see. This spectacular trail allows only eight riders per expedition, which guarantees freedom.
5. Nyalaland Wilderness Trail at Kruger National Park
Armed with your hiking boots and walking stick, take a 4×4 ride deep into the bush to a remote and rustic camp. Situated between Punda Maria camp and Pafuri, the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail will provide you with delicious meals, warm showers and comfy beds. You will trek paths few other tourists get to travel. This three-night trail departs from base camp every day, taking you along game paths walked by the Big Five. Don’t miss the chance to surrender to the bush; book well in advance to secure your place.