4. Gi­ant’s Cup Trail

Getaway (South Africa) - - Travel -

Du­ra­tion 5 days (with 3- or 4-day op­tions) Dif­fi­culty Moder­ate Cost From R100 pp per night, plus R40 park en­trance fee

Travers­ing the foothills of the uKhahlamba-Drak­ens­berg Park World Her­itage Site from Sani Pass to Bush­man’s Nek, the 59,3-kilo­me­tre Gi­ant’s Cup Trail (GCT) is the most ac­ces­si­ble multi-day trail in the range. As it weaves be­neath golden cliffs, past weather-sculpted sand­stone rocks and through sway­ing grass­lands stud­ded with pro­tea, wat­so­nia and he­lichry­sum, the trail takes you to look­outs, over moun­tain streams, through dells of tree ferns and to caves with (poorly pre­served) rock paint­ings. Sight­ings of Ver­reaux’s ea­gles, jackal buzzards, dassies and eland are com­mon, while oc­ca­sional sight­ings in­clude blue cranes and bearded vul­tures. Old farm­houses pro­vide rus­tic overnight ac­com­mo­da­tion and there are lots of gor­geous pools in which to bathe, par­tic­u­larly at Ngenwa (day 1), the Mz­imkhul­wana hut (day 2) and Kil­liecrankie (day 3). Wild­flow­ers daz­zle in spring and sum­mer, while in win­ter the high peaks are of­ten sprin­kled with snow. The trail is well marked and has no mega-climbs, but it is un­du­lat­ing so do some train­ing with a loaded pack. You can stock up on snacks at the park of­fices, but bank on carrying all your sup­plies. – Fiona McIn­tosh

DO IT The trail­head is on the Sani Pass road, off the R315 from Himeville/Un­der­berg, six kilo­me­tres past the Sani Pass Ho­tel. 033-845-1000, kzn­wildlife.com

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