Four star game reserve, South Africa

CON SE PAD
Hiking and Trail running

Note: A drop-off fee of R 50 applies if you prefer to be dropped at number 5 on the map. This essentially cuts the route in half.

CO-ORDINATES: 33° 18.870' S, 21° 31.507' E
DISTANCE: ±6,24km (Point 1 to 9 on map)
ASCENT: 113m
DESCENT: 116m
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy To Moderate
ESTIMATED TIME: ±2hrs (±1hr from 5 to lodge)
MIN. ELEVATION: 495m
MAX. ELEVATION: 542m
MARKED WITH: White Arrows, White Rocks, White Painted Iron Poles

Con se Pad

The route (ref. numbers on Map with bold reference in text)

The route starts near the lodge entrance in front of the chalets (1). Follow the white iron pegs in an East-north-eastern direction. The hike leads through two areas North and South of the river which are totally different in look, feel and experience. The first stretch of the trail leads through north-facing Karoo foothills with karroid dwarf shrub vegetation. The walking surface is not flat solid ground throughout the trail so be mindful of loose rocks. In front of the chalets the path passes by the remnants of an old shepherds house (2). Only the heaps of stone are left.

Along the trail you will also pass by a small hill (3). From here you can easily see the difference in vegetation between the two areas on either side of the river.

You will cross the “BLK main road” near the entrance to the “Wagon Route to Beaufort” (4). The imitation of an old ox wagon is a clear beacon on the way, and on the other side of the road is the sign ‘Con se Pad’.

Follow the path around the Prammetjie hillock and take a break at the bird hide next to the little waterhole (5), where you can spot a number of bird species such as Brown-hooded Kingfisher, South African Shelduck, White-throated canaries, etc (enquire at the lodge for a bird list). Leopard tortoises are also often seen near water in warmer months feeding on the greenery around the waters edge.

The route now heads west through Acacia Riverine Thicket parallel to the Bosluiskloof riverbed, and parallel to the main road (which is to your left). It is interesting to identify the various game spoor and droppings along the way. Common sightings along this trail include duiker, baboon, kudu, gemsbok and red hartebeest. Vegetation alongside the Bosluiskloof river includes Sweet thorn (Vachellia karoo), Kraalbos (Galenia africana), Red karee (Searsia lancea) etc.

The trail enters the dry riverbed for the first time at point 6 (elevation ±495m). You will walk for a short stretch along the river bed itself, keep an eye open on the bank to your right for a white-topped iron peg indicating where you exit the river bed to your right. The trail passes by the remains of another old pioneer farmstead (7) in the open sandy area, but only the trained eye will notice it. Lowland soils along the Bosluiskloof river are high in nutrients and organic material, as these areas receive eroded material off the slopes around the river. These soils are fertile with strong underground water utilized by the dense acacia thicket that runs the length of the valley.

Along the route one often finds old bones, skulls etc. of animals caught by predators. Also be mindful of thorn bushes and branches pulled down by amongst others feeding kudu and baboons. Follow the white markings across and alongside the river. Animals use the paths as well so it is advisable not to make too much noise as this might increase your chances of a few sightings along the way. Also keep an ear open for birdsong; these thickets are home to a variety of interesting species such as the Fairy Flycatcher, Acacia Pied Barbet etc. If you get tired along the way the main road through the reserve is the easiest route back to the lodge.

The trail may be overgrown in some areas, so trail runners should be mindful of overhanging branches. The trail ends at the “Con se Pad” beacon (8) on the Shepherds Trail 4X4 route. From here follow the 4x4 track back to the lodge past the old boma used to habituate the eland when they were first reintroduced to Bosch Luys Kloof (9).

Go straight to the bar and enjoy a cold beverage of your choice!

Enjoy!

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