Hike the Hennops
FIONA MCINTOSH escapes to Hennops River just outside the Big Smoke and discovers a wilderness of mountains, gorges, historical sites and game, with a river running through it
“If you go 300m without seeing a white footprint something is wrong so turn back.” Ernest Mduzi grins as he briefs us on the hiking trails at Hennops, a rugged mountain wilderness near the Hartbeespoort Dam north of Joburg. Having maintained the trails and directed visitors here for nine years, he’s proud of his work and is a fount of information.
If we want to see game we should take the Zebra Route, he advises. Zebra, blesbok, kudu, blue wildebeest and impala are often sighted on this 6km circular hike around the northern sector of the Hennops Trails farm. It’s tempting, but we’re keen for a workout so opt for the longer Krokodilberg Route, which, we’re promised, is both scenic and interesting from a historical perspective.
Armed with a map we head down to the Hennops River, enjoying the shade as we amble along its bank. Soon the gorge closes in and the path leads up to the top of a golden rock band from where we look down on the churning river. The vegetation in the gorge is green and lush, a marked contrast from the
OPPOSITE TOP: The view of the Hennops River from the orange cliffs of the gorge is magnificent. OPPOSITE BELOW: Ernest Mduzi (blue shirt) and fellow Malawian Henry Phiri maintain the trails and direct visitors. BELOW: The Hennops River and Gorge are major attractions of the hike, particularly during the dry winter months. In addition to the longer hikes there are many opportunities for short strolls and picnics. RIGHT: The Krokodilberg and Dassie Routes start on a shady path alongside the Hennops River.