To fully experience the wildlife, plants and rock formations of Augrabies Falls National Park, Susanne Schubert tackled the three-day Klipspringer Trail. Walking in this beautiful land, experiencing solitude and space, leaves you energised, grateful and longing for more, she writes.
Tourist guide and life coach Susanne from Cape Town and husband Alex embarked on an unforgettable hiking adventure to the Augrabies Falls National Park earlier this year. She shares her experiences on the Klipspringer Hiking Trail.
“The Klipspringer Trail is a three-day journey – a 39km circular hike through rough and remote terrain. It starts gently from the Rest Camp and follows the Dassie Trail for a while until it becomes a strenuous scramble over and along the most majestic granite rocks I have ever seen in my life.
“Day two is the toughest, and don’t be fooled that the trail follows the Orange River – it is still balancing on uneven rocks for most of the time. There is opportunity for a swim as well! Just at the end it becomes easier again when the trail meanders through a sandy dry riverbed. Day three took us up Moon Rock from where civilisation was visible again.
Alone in the wilderness
“The trail is self-contained. Just water (not safe for drinking) and firewood are supplied. There is no electricity. Accommodation is basic. The huts sleep 12 people in two rooms with bunk beds for three. After many hours of hiking, stretching out our legs on our stoep whilst drinking the first cup of rooibos tea felt like magic. So was the whole experience.
“We could not believe it when we found out on Sunday evening that we were the only people on the trail. Because of summer’s harsh weather conditions, the trail is closed from mid October to end of March. Except for a short encounter with a family at Oranjekom, we did not see another human soul. How lucky we were, we thought, to step out of the hustle and bustle of modern-day life and to immerse ourselves in nature’s paradise. No cell phones, just the birdsong and the sound of the river.”
Sightings to remember
“The Klipspringer Hiking Trail delighted us with many animal sightings in their glorious habitat. There is no shortage of dassies and as always, they are very cute to watch. At Mountain Hut we performed the same morning routine: stretching our bodies towards the warming sun and observing one another. We also saw klipspringers and admired their amazing rock climbing techniques. So much better than ours!
“While we were picnicking, a Smith’s red rock hare suddenly shot out from its hiding place and we were flabbergasted to catch sight of a striped polecat. A very first for us. One of my favourite birds are bee-eaters and observing two white-fronted bee-eaters above the Orange River catching their lunch while we had ours is a memory I treasure.”