Hiking Trail near Port Elizabeth
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and are not necessarily the actual travelling
Schoenmakerskop (2 km from Port Elizabeth)
Cape Recife Lighthouse is the third oldest lighthouse on the South African coast and was built in 1851. Stay on the beach past the lighthouse and go towards the car park at Chelsea Bay. From here you follow the gravel road. Then it will be a short climb to ruins of historical lookout buildings. Continue on the gravel road to the gate. Take drinking water. Difficulty is moderate.
The trail is 9 km long and takes approximately three hours. Vehicles need a permit that can be obtained at the entrance to the reserve. No permit is required for hikers who leave their vehicles by the gate. Please enquire.
Bluewater Bay (9.4 km from Port Elizabeth)
The Aloe Trail starts at the top of Tippers Creek Road between Amsterdamhoek and Bluewater Bay. The circular route is marked with red arrows and overlooks Amsterdamhoek and the Zwartkops estuary.
Vast numbers of aloes line the beginning of the trail, offering a blaze of colourful blooms during June and July and attracting numerous sunbirds. Keep following the red trail inland before returning to the ridge at a trig beacon. From here there are extensive views over the Zwartkops estuary, the saltpan and Zwartkops Nature Reserve.
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 7 km
Uitenhage (36.8 km from Port Elizabeth)
Located about 8 km out of Uitenhage is the Groendal Wilderness Area, which features many lovely walking trails.
The Blindekloof Trail is 16 km long, which will take about 4 hours to complete. An easy day’s walk, the trail starts from the office parking area, leads through succulent thicket and forest, following the Blindekloof Stream to Crystal Cavern Pool. Hikers return along the same route.
The Upper Blindekloof Trail is a 2 day, 32 km long trail. This is a fairly difficult hike. From the parking area it leads uphill for 16 km, then descends steeply to Blindekloof Stream. Hikers follow the stream until the Paardekloof junction. Hikers will then climb steeply out of the kloof, and downhill back to the parking area. This route involves many compulsory swims.
To organize your hike, contact the reserve manager.
Alexandria (97.5 km from Port Elizabeth)
This totally awesome trail begins in the stunning Alexandria forest at the park offices. The two Langebos Huts are the base huts for the trail and it is recommended that hikers stay at these huts the night before leaving for the first day. The huts are newly constructed huts, sleeping 6 people each. They are equipped with hot water showers, toilets, a stove, fridge and braai area.The first section of the hike travels through magical forest where ancient yellowwoods and spectacular coral trees can be seen. The "Waterboom" or "Lekkerboom" - a gigantic yellowwood named for the reservoir of water held at the base of its trunk - provides an interesting stop. After crossing the open fields of Perdevlei, the trail moves onto the beach where the stark sandy beach ecosystem and dramatic dune cliffs provide breathtaking scenery. Six kilometers of untouched coastline stretches out in front of the hiker. The dramatic cliffs of Woody Cape provide the hiker with two options, either walking along the boulder-strewn base of the cliffs (impassable at high tide) or climbing a log ladder to reach the top leading onto the dune fields Southern right whales can be seen just off shore in certain months and dolphins are often spotted playing in the waves. The wreck of the Nidaros - an old steamer - can be investigated, as well as the fascinating natural debris washed up by the sea.After a walk through aromatic coastal fynbos, hikers will find the Woody Cape hut nestled in thick coastal forest on top of the cliffs with a view of Bird Island in the distance. This hut has 12 beds with mattresses and rainwater tanks.On the second day the trail traverses sand dunes of the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere. Early morning offers hikers an opportunity to investigate the signs of animals, such as jackals, duikers and the endemic hairy-footed gerbil, left on the dunes from the previous night. Tall posts guide hikers through the shifting dune fields. Fascinating ancient middens sites, evidence of the strandloper people that wandered these shores, can also be seen. The last five kilometers of the trail winds again through indigenous forest, where Knsyna loeries paint the canopy. then into the Langvlakte valley where a chicory stack can be seen which was built in 1820's.Listen for the haunting calls of the rare tree dassie by night and awake to a chorus of birds in flitting through the forest canopy. Look out for trumpeter hornbills, ground hornbills, Knysna turaco, tree dassies and bushbuck.Need to know? Situated: Woody Cape section of the Addo Elephant National Park, departing from the offices near Alexandria.Length: Approx 36 km two day circular route of which the first day is 19.5km and the second day is 16.5 km. Estimated duration: 2 daysSuitable for: Those who want a challenging walk along the coastline. Hikers carry their own provisions and the hike is not guided.Logistics:Keys for the overnight huts are collected at the park offices near Alexandria. (Tel: +27 (0)46 653 061)Fees can be paid at Matyholweni rest camp or at the Addo main camp reception. At the Woody Cape hut, no fires are allowed and the hikers must carry their own cookers. Water at the Woody Cape hut is only for drinking and cooking as the hut relies entirely on rainwater.At least one or more of the hiking group should be able to read a map and compass, and to wear a brightly coloured jacket that can be seen from the air if a search and rescue is launched. The Langebos huts are available to hikers on the two-day Alexandria Hiking Trail, as well as those simply wanting an overnight stay in the forest. The 7km Dassie Day Trail begins at the huts and the breathtaking Woody Cape coastline of the Park is a short drive and walk away.
Did you know? Port Elizabeth Hiking Trail is often misspelt. Here are some variations:
PE Hiking Trail, P E Hiking Trail, PortElizabeth Hiking Trail, PortElizabeth Hiking Trail,