A hiking guide to The Half Collared Kingfisher Trail, South Africa
Hiking is one of my favourite activities, high up on the list along with any kind of ocean activity.
The anticipation of time to be alone in my mind. Hiking provides a kind of solitude. Getting lost in the amount of steps you’ve taken, the sounds of your breath, the pack rubbing your back, your feet tapping the damp ground and the unending sounds of the creatures and the beating heart of all the nature that surrounds you. Sounds magical right? I certainly think so.
Recently I found myself on a trail I’ve been wanting to check out for a while. Coming from Johannesburg, a grassland biome, the lush green and ever damp trails that The Garden Route has to offer, still leave me in absolute awe every time. A novelty that will never get old.
THE HALF COLLARED KINGFISHER TRAIL
Having only explored the Wilderness area once before (See my old blog post 'Into the Wilderness we go'), I was really excited when the opportunity arose to explore more. I was staying at Surfari for a week as a volunteer through Workaway. I work remotely and like to change-up my working environment every now and again and Workaway provides the perfect way to do this. I'll be writing more about how I work remotely, Workaway and my Victoria Bay experience soon! Anyway, two of the other volunteers, one from Russia and one from Switzerland were keen for a Hike so we decided to strap on our backpacks and head out somewhere near Vic bay.
Arriving at the trail there is a small wooden hut where you have to pay for a permit to use the trail. The trail is part of the SANParks Garden Route National Park which is why a permit is a must. At first glance I was happy to see locals only had to pay R41 but my foreign companions were a bit shocked that they had to pay 3x as much, at R132. Later in the hike however, we all came to the agreement that the fees were completely justified as the trail is extremely well maintained and must require a lot of up keep on the parks behalf.
TRAIL CONDITION/DISTANCE AND DIFFICULTY:
A big portion of the trail is made up of a beautiful wooden board walk that winds around and under trees. There are quite a few stairs going both up and down but they come in bursts and are very manageable.
The trail is a total of 7.2kms and their site says it should take you between 3-4 Hrs. We took quite a lot of photo stops and managed to do the trail in 3hrs.
The trail starts along the Touwsrivier with light forests. You then begin to head into a denser lush green forest that has some amazing tree roots that snake under parts of the trail, forming stairs and abstract patterns while thick vines hang from above. At one point there comes a time to cross the river and you can take one of two paths. A very easy rock stepping path that you cross further up, where the river is more of a stream. OR you can take the more exciting way, which comes in the form of a super cool PONTOON that you have to pulley yourself on to cross the river! How flippen fun??
The waterfall at the end of the trail actually falls on private property and when you get within 60m's of it, there is a clear sign saying "No Entry, Private Property. SANParks will not be held liable for prosecution of offenders beyond this point." In know a few people who still enter, as the boardwalk still goes all the way to the end, but just bear in mind that there could be repercussions.
The Half Collared Kingfisher Trail is a really great trail for people of most ages. It is easy to access and to navigate and it's a great half day adventure.
My next Hiking trail recap will be of the Groenweide Hiking Trail in George.
Also go check out an old post on hiking in Robberg Nature Reserve. I will be posting a new recap on the reserve trail really soon!