Apart from our own three short circle routes at Madi a Thavha, hiking through local villages can be arranged for those who like to experience culture in a more inter-active mode.
Boabab circle route at Madi a Thavha
The one-and-a-half-hour circular Baobab-route up the mountain is quite popular. Our local Boabab expert, dr Sarah Venter measured the girth of this Boabab tree at 11.4m. “Due to its tallness and position on the southern side of the mountain where it would get more rain than the Boabab’s more natural habitat north of the mountain, I estimate it is between 500 and 600 years old. I was not surprised to see the archeological site next to this tree, it is common for outlying trees like this one to be associated with human habitation. It looks as though it was used for a meeting place or Khoro – the traditional meeting place of a Venda Chief with his headmen – for the more recent occupants of the site,” says dr Venter.
Part of Vhembe Biosphere reserve
Madi a Thavha, like all the reserves and farms in and around the Soutpansberg forms part of the UNESCO acclaimed Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, an area covering 90 000 hectares of extraordinary bio- and cultural diversity. Other hikes at neighboring farms and reserves include a variety of wet and bushveld-type vegetation leading through forests, archaeological sites, mountain streams, waterfalls with great birding possibilities on our, and all the other trails. (Groups of crested guinea fowl is quite a common sight at Madi a Thavha).
The Soutpansberg mountain range contains some of the Earth’s oldest red-bed rocks, indicating that they are thousands of millions of years old. The resistant sandstones of this, the Makgabeng and the Blouberg give rise to spectacular scenery in the province, known since ancient times as the “wall beyond the world”.
On the northern side of the Soutpansberg is arid Boabab-tree country whilst on the higher parts of the mountain you can even find fynbos. The Soutpansberg boasts 30% of South Africa’s tree species, even though it covers barely 0.5% of our country’s surface area. Being home to 60% of South Africa’s birds, 40% of its mammals and 30% of its reptile species and 70% of the worlds spiders, the Soutpansberg is a region of national and international conservation importance as a high number of plant and wildlife species are found only here and nowhere else on the planet.
Medike and Schoemansdal hikes close to us with birds and game to see too
We can arrange hikes at Schoemansdal environmental centre 15km west of Madi a Thavha and at Medike about 25 kilometers west from us. Flora en fauna is diverse in the western Soutpansberg with more than 200 bird species such as Black Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, African Hawk Eagle and the rare Bat Hawk en Narina Trogon to be seen at Medike only. Wild animals at Medike are the brown hyena, klipspringer, bushbuck, aardvark, monkeys and bush babies. Medike is also well known for its butterflies and indigenous trees.
National hiking trails in Soutpansberg
The national hiking trails in our region are mainly on the wetter, ‘rain-foresty’ southern slopes of the Soutpansberg which includes Hanglip close to and accessible via Makhado/Louis Trichardt and a few circular routes around Entabeni, about 50km east of Madi a Thavha, along the R525 to Thohoyandou. It is advisable to first inquire about conditions or to contact us to arrange a local guide with insider’s knowledge of conditions on these trails. More about these trails at Forestry’s Komatiland eco tourism.
The myths and legends of the people of the North are woven into the mist-shrouded peaks and crags of these beautiful mountains
The trees, the plants and animals, many endemic to the region – ancient ruins of a people long gone – a legacy of rock engravings to mark the passage of the San hunters and gatherers many centuries before, combine to create fascinating insight into an area and its people.
Rates for guided day walks in the Soutpansberg Mountains. It is also possible to do any of these walks without a tour guide.
|Self drive – tour guide – picnic. From 3 persons then per person. Valid until 31/10/2016||R 450|
|Self drive – tour guide – picnic. For 2 persons per person. Valid until 31/10/2016||R 675|