This beautiful estate is situated between Machadodorp and Badplaas in Mpumalanga. It is +-2 and a half hours drive from Johannesburg/ PTA. It is an excellent stop over and halfway to
the Kruger Park.
The estate straddles the Skurweberg on the lip of the mighty African Escarpment. The Escarp Adventures commands vast views over the Komati River valley all the way to Swaziland. The
extensive constructed (GREEN FLAG) hiking trails with three eclectic camps makes this a hiker's dream destination featuring a wide variety of terrain, from ancient grasslands to
Yellow wood forests with VIEWS, VIEWS VIEWS.
The 2 Base camps: Aloe Kaya and Pongola Express camps each have 2 x day circular trails. Hikers then can also hike 2 different 2-day/ weekend Back Pack trails. The trails are expertly
constructed with steps and ladders to allow hikers to easily and safely explore the mountains and valleys. The trails are well marked and easy to follow.
THE NEW UPGRADED HIKING TRAILS
BASE CAMP OPTIONS:
- FROM AND BACK TO ALOE KAYA BASE CAMP: The 2x day trails: 1)The Hells Bells trail (7km) and 2) The Klipspringer trail (5 km). Both are less strenuous but a spectacular and intimate
walks, down Hells Kloof, through a magic old forest of yellow wood and huge stink hout and tree ferns. Hikers will pass smaller waterfalls and panoramic views on Swaziland.
- FROM AND BACK TO PONGOLA EXPRESS: The 2x day circular trails: 1)Combination of The Bergbas, Oom Pauls and PomPon Trails (+- 10km) and 2)The Kokoboom Trail of +-7km – Mac Falls and
BACK PACK OPTIONS:
THE HISTORY TRAIL: FROM ALOE KAYA CAMP TO PONGOLA EXPRESS AND BACK: Total distance is +- 18km/ 22km. This trail can start at either camp and is a clockwise hike, preferably starting
Aloe Kaya and back.
- On day 1: From ALOE KAYA hikers follow the direct link going in the direction of Candle Falls camp until the junction of the PomPon Trail, going right, then following this trail
(green hands) back to Pongola Express. Total distance then +- 10km. BUT: Those that are very fit can choose to go even further and join the "The Kokoboom Pad" at the next link. This is
a beautiful extra 4km that gives hikers then a total of 14km on the longer option.
- On day 2: Hikers will need to follow: The "Bergbas Route" to Aloe Kaya camp. It is marked with brown leaf signs, very scenic with steep inclines and declines, going down in the Komati
gorge with interesting rock formations, lots of game to be seen. (8km for this day).
THE ROCKY RIDGE TRAIL IS FROM ALOE KAYA CAMP TO CANDLE FALLS AND BACK: Total distance is +-23km: (Not recommended for beginners). This trails starts and finish back at Aloe Kaya Camp.
One cannot start and finish at Candle Falls, it is only accessible by foot and mountain bike, no vehicles allowed.
- On day 1: Hikers must follow the "Bladder Nut Track" trail for 8km going past to Bermanzi, pass the old Stables and from here hikers must follow the "Milk Plum Path", another 5km that
takes one to the beautiful Candle Falls Camp. There are steep climbs and falls and only recommended for the more experienced and fit hikers! Total for the day is 13km.
- On day 2: From Candle falls Camp back to Aloe Kaya hikers follow the Escarpment trail of 10km.
More options soon: Blue Train back pack from Pongola Express to Wathaba and back.
For the very fit and experienced hiker who would like to hike even longer (5 – 6 days/nights) the High Five Trails (old NumNum Trails) is a must!! See the info on the High Five Trails.
ALOE KAYA BASE CAMP: There are 2 x charming double story wooden and rock "pagodo's", (not tree houses), built into the extraordinary canyons, with bunk beds and mattresses. Each
level/ room has 4 x bunk beds that can sleep 8 with a maximum of 32 for the whole camp. The communal kitchen has a fridge, 2 plate stove, braai facilities and kitchen utensils crockery
and cutlery. It is electrified and equipped with hot showers and loo's with a view. Ladies bath room! A separate braai area overlooks the "Hell's kloof". There is safe parking at the
PONGOLA EXPRESS CAMP: This Camp consists out of old train carriages, beautifully renovated and can accommodate up to 24 hikers. There is electricity, ablutions with hot water showers.
Equipped kitchen, braai area, bar and big social lapa and deck overlooking the valley. These historic 1934 SAR carriages were brought to this spot in the 60's as a weekend retreat. They
have been renovated and now form the hub for the new High Five Trails and other hiking trails on the estate. This is the ideal start or end to any hike. There is safe parking at the
CANDLE FALLS CAMP: This camp is built on the most spectacular site with views over the Bankspruit gorge and the dramatic Uitkoms waterfall that falls 275 feet. This "green" camp is
not electrified and an old style donkey geyser supplies hot water. The camp accommodates 20 persons in two romantic corrugated iron construction style dormitories from the days of the
gold rush with a well-equipped kitchen with an internal braai. NB: NO exterior fires are allowed during the wintertime to prevent fires in this pristine grassland. This camp can only be
reached by foot and mountain bike. No hikers are allowed to drive vehicles up to this camp.
R220.00 Per person per night – VAT Included. (All ages). No Children’s rate.
Minimum of 2 x nights on weekends.
Unfortunately NO day visitors allowed.
Wood for sale at reception R25.00 per 8kg bag.
Extra activities from the Base camp:
- Mountain biking – bring own bikes
- Fishing of yellow fish and trout – catch and release – bring own equipment