Duration: 2 days
Total distance covered: ±10.6km
Total height gain: ±370m
(All distances should only be used as a guideline and a detailed route description will be supplied on confirmation of booking.)
What makes this special: This is an easy walk with stunning views over the Giants Castle area and best suited for first time hikers wanting to experience hiking and those who want to experience sleeping in a cave.
Highmoor is most probably one of the most underutilized hiking areas in the Drakensberg, but being able to drive just about all the way up the Little Berg makes it ideal for beginner hikers. The area is also the breeding ground for the Wattled Crain and well worth a visit for the avid bird watcher. The cave is a spacious overhang, big enough for the maximum of 12 people. In summer there is a small waterfall on the far end of the cave that serves as a refreshing shower. The route takes us past 3 dams, the highest trout dams in South Africa, and well stocked with trophy sized rainbow trout. Trout fishing is available and needs to be booked beforehand.
Route: The trail follows an easy and well defined path from the Highmoor Camp Office passed the 3 high altitude trout dams. The climb is actually very mild and suitable for even the most unfit hiker. Once you have reached Windy Knoll, you can have a break to take in the spectacular view over the Little Berg all the way to the Giant. There are very few places where you can get so close and still enjoy the view.
An old folks tale tells us that when you point directly to the Giant, you will provoke the weather gods and this will lead to bad weather on your trip so be sure to make a point of not pointing directly at the Giant.
From Windy Knoll follow the path straight down to the bottom where you will be almost directly over the cave, to reach the cave carry on with the path to where it enters a rocky gully. Be careful here as it’s the most technical section on the trip, however it’s not too technical that you will need extra skills. This section is also very slippery when wet so take care with younger people.
After traversing back you will walk straight into the cave. The cave itself is actually a huge sandstone overhang with a smallish flat sleeping area that can sleep a group of 12 comfortably. Care needs to be taken with smaller children as the lip in front of the cave is steep and anyone falling here could be injured. In the rainy season there is a small waterfall falling over the lip of the cave that serves as a water source as well as a shower. In winter however, it usually dries up and the closest water is the small stream below the cave. On very dry years you might have to walk a bit further to get water.
The view directly from the cave is not that great, but if you walk back out to the steep section, you will be rewarded with a sunset to die for. Feel free to explore as far as you wish, make sure you tell the rest of the group where you are going and make sure you have a pre-agreed return time.
Please make sure that you follow the proper cave etiquette in regards to where and how to go to the toilet. No fires are allowed in any cave and you need to remove any litter from the cave, taking it back with you and dispose of it properly into a bin. By following these simple guidelines, you not only limit your impact on the environment but you also leave it pristine for the next group to enjoy.
Included: Park & overnight fees, rescue levy and first aid kit.
Excluded: All meals and snacks, stove & pots, sleeping bag, backpack, personal gear and equipment, personal medication and footwear.
Gear Hire is available.