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Hiking Trails

Virtual Hikes: Experience South Africa’s Most Scenic Routes

By May 15, 2020May 6th, 2022No Comments

Photo by Arthur Hickinbotham on Unsplash

As lockdown continues in South Africa and our mountains and beaches remain closed, we can only but dream of the days we’ll spend in the great outdoors. If you are still yearning to explore what South Africa has to offer, you can do so virtually thanks to a collaboration between Google and South African Tourism. Volunteers carrying a wearable backpack, known as the Street View Trekker, captured some of the many sights the country has to offer including trails, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and South African National Parks. 

Sure, taking a virtual stroll in the Drakensberg won’t exercise more than your fingers, but it will allow you to visualise the many adventures to come. We’ve already explored virtual hikes in Greater Cape Town, here are some of the best virtual ‘hikes’ the rest of South Africa has to offer.

Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg Mountain Range  

Cathedral Peak is a free-standing mountain in the Drakensberg Mountain Range in KwaZulu Natal. It stands at the end of the Cathedral Range and is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable peaks in the Drakensberg. The virtual trail allows you to have a look at the glorious views the Drakensberg has to offer. 

Here’s the view from the top if you’re looking for a shortcut.

Truitjieskraal, Cederberg 

Truitjieskraal is situated in Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve on the eastern boundary of the Cederberg Mountains and is home to stunning sandstone formations and rock art dating back 5000 years. Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site. This virtual tour is easy for kids to navigate.

Just interested in the rock art? Here it is:

Otter Trail 

Named for the Cape clawless otter, the Otter Trail is the oldest and most popular of South Africa’s hiking trails. The picturesque trail follows the coastline between the Storms River Mouth and Nature’s Valley, allowing walkers to experience one of the best multi-day trails in the world. The Otter Trail is often booked for up to a year in advance, but you can have a sneak peek at what it offers right here.

Skip ahead to Jerling Waterfall.

Skip ahead to the Bloukrans River Mouth.

Swartboskloof Trail, Jonkershoek

Located close to Stellenbosch in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, the Swartboskloof Trail offers visitors views of the surrounding mountains and native fynbos. Be sure to check out the waterfalls closeby. 

Jump ahead to the mountain views here.

Elephant’s Eye Cave Hike, Silvermine Nature Reserve 

Elephant’s Eye Cave Hike in Silvermine Nature Reserve is one of the many stunning hiking trails in Table Mountain National Park, offering hikers spectacular views of Cape Town and the False Bay coastline reaching all the way to the Hottentot Holland Mountains. The name is derived from the shape of the mountain which resembles the side of an elephant’s head with the cave located where the eye would be.

Jump ahead to the view here.

Want a virtual walk around Silvermine Dam? You can do that too:

Hole in the Wall, Coffee Bay  

This virtual hike allows you to view some of the most beautiful scenery the Wild Coast has to offer. The hike starts in Coffee Bay and follows the coastline until it culminates at this iconic sea arch.

Skip ahead to the Hole in the Wall here.

Leopard Trail, Motlatse Canyon

Situated in the Drakensberg escarpment region of eastern Mpumalanga, Motlatse Canyon (otherwise known as the Blyde River Canyon) is one of the largest canyons on Earth. The Leopard Trail is one of three routes one can take to the view of the Canyon and the Blyde River below.

Check out the view from the top of the Canyon here.

Looking for more views, here are a few quick stops: 

Explore Kirstenbosch Gardens:

Cross the Storms River Mouth Suspension Bridge:

Take in the view from the top of the Knysna Heads:

Stroll through the Garden of Eden, in Knysna National Park:

Are you ready for the mountains? Check out our range of backpacks for the perfect adventure gear!