Hiking and Trail running
As with many of our hiking routes you will be following game paths and sometimes open veld and water drainages. Our “natural” approach as in everything!
Note: Numerous loose rocks on the path, so trail runners and hikers alike be mindful you are walking on uneven ground and watch those ankles
CO-ORDINATES: 33°17'51.63"S, 21°35'35.94"E
DISTANCE: ±4.73km (From start to End)
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate to Challenging
ESTIMATED TIME: 1½ Hours
MIN. ELEVATION: 419m (along the route itself)
MAX. ELEVATION: 535m (along the route itself)
MARKED WITH: White Painted Arrows/Pole Markers/Footprints
The route (ref. numbers on Map with bold referrals in text,)
The starting point is about 7.3 km from the lodge along the main road towards the Gamkapoortdam. Turn left at the sign-board ‘Panorama koppie/Rooderant Hike’. Guests may leave their cars in the indicated parking spot (white rocks form parking bay) about 100 metres from the turn-off, as the route begins and ends there. There is also the option of being dropped off by one of our guides in a Landrover. The real route starts (elevation ±439m) about 180 metres up north from the parking spot and there is a clear signboard indicating the starting point. From the ‘Start/Begin’ sign follow the white poles/markers eastwards. Notice how prominently the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) stands out when looking south towards the hills across the river bush. The vegetation type along this route is known as Karroid Broken Veld.
It consists largely of karroid dwarf shrubs, which are mainly woody shrubs, although the area is also very rich in succulents.
From point (1) the path heads in a north-eastern direction. You will top out a little hill crest, dropping into the saddle of a small valley strewn with ‘young’ white sandstones of the Witteberg formation overlaying darker brown shales of the Bokkeveld group (the contrast between the two sedimentary rock types is evident) and heading up to top out the hill at point (2). Here you will find a patch of softer soil with quite a lot of animal droppings. Such areas are utilized by different animals that have midden sites where they deposit their scat to accumulate and thus mark their territories.
As you continue walking, look out for Eland and Klipspringer. Eland are the largest living antelope species, while Klipspringers (being much smaller) are surefooted little creatures, known for their agility as they maneuver up and down the mountain slopes. Both were spotted along this route, along with Springbok, Gemsbok, Zebra and Ostrich. Baboons are abundant here and also often spotted, not to worry our baboons are ‘wild’. They have not been habituated to humans and will run away from you.
Follow the white markers, and just stop and look ahead until you see the next white pole/marker if you are doubting yourself at any point. At point (3) the route curves to the left (West) and continues up along the ridge. Once on top, take a moment to look back east to the Gamkapoort dam (612ha surface area when full!).
Just north of you (4) you will see a steep rock face covered in Lichen that appears to be yellow-green in colour. Lichen is what occurs from a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae/cyanobacteria. Fungi anchor the lichen to the rock and provides the structure in the symbiosis, while the algae (or cyanobacteria – chlorophyll containing bacteria) photosynthesizes and feeds the organism. Lichen is associated with a clean atmosphere air quality – thus, the more lichen there is, the less polluted the air.
A short distance further will bring you to an open area relatively enclosed by a circle of white rocks (elevation ±511m) (5). Although there are a few possibilities for what this could be, an interesting theory is that it was an outdoor temple of sorts, used by the Quena people (descendants of Dravidian Indians and the Bushmen) that aligned with prominent features in the landscape. It helped keep track of the cycle of the moon and indicate important events, such as the beginning of a New Year.
The route continues in a western direction. You will cross a drainage line and begin another climb to top out the hill across from you at the white pole (6). Along the way you may notice an interesting looking plant (7) on either side of the narrow path. It has a slightly exposed large bulb (grayish in colour) and long slender green leaves arranged in a fan in winter. This is called a Gifbol (Bushmans poison) or Tumbleweed (Boophone disticha). Its bulb has muti-medicinal value and was also used by the San to produce poison for their arrows. During summer the leaves disappear and then they flash a beautiful umbrella of pinkish flowers from late spring which eventually dry out into the ‘tumbleweed’.
Shortly before the next (second) drainage line the path will swing northwards, to the right, heading to a beautiful little ‘kloof’ (8) (gorge) where you can rest a while in the coolness of the rock formations. Prominent vertical rock layers which were once deposited on inland lake and sea beds are evidence of the forces that shaped this special landscape. Baboon and leopard visit here along with all other kinds of game especially when there is water in the pools. Just approach slowly. They can exit at the other end. Once you’ve done exploring the gorge, head back south to where you branched off the main hiking trail.
From point (9) on the map follow the usual markers down the drainage line which will lead you south back towards the start/end of the route.
Make your way back to the lodge and enjoy a nice refreshing beverage of your choice!
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