Hiking is an endorphin-inducing past time that’s affordable and satisfying to the soul. If you’re a beginner hiker and easily intimidated by the fitness aspect of it all, then you’re in luck. Below we’ve listed easy hiking trails to get you started. And what better way to immerse yourself in what nature has to offer than in the sub-tropical treasure-trove that is KwaZulu-Natal.
First, quick rules of hiking
– Wear comfortable, appropriate hiking or trail shoes that have good grip and ankle support
– Never hike alone
– Always carry enough water – 2 litres or more, and enough food
– Stay on the path and obey all signage
– Do not disturb the fauna or flora
– Make sure the weather is suitable
– Carry an extra layer of protective clothing in case the weather turns
1. Marutswa Forest Hiking Trails (1,275km)
Suitable for any hiking level, the Marutswa Forest offers more than one trail. The easiest trail is the Contour Trail, which is completely flat and is approximately 1,275km long, with boardwalks making up much of the way. For the intermediate hiker, the Tanglewood detour provides a steepish slope if you’re up for a bit of a challenge.
2. Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Trail (5km)
Locally known as the place of the reeds, Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Trail offers a pristine walk along the south bank of the Umhlanga river. It’s a perfect place for an easy ramble with popular family picnic spots along the way. It also has an abundance of wildlife species, that includes over 208 species of birds making it a veritable birdwatchers paradise. Don’t forget your binoculars.
3. Burman Bush Nature Reserve (1km)
This trail offers a gentle stroll beneath a canopy of exquisite flat crown trees. Although this trail is only 1km long, it intersects with a few other longer one’s if you’re up for more of an adventure.
4. Virginia Bush Nature Reserve (2km)
This short and sweet 2km hiking trail offers a spectacular view of the ocean at the highest point and boasts an array of trees and lush shrubbery along the way. This trail is also dog-friendly, so it’s perfect for everyday nature walks with your furry friend. There’s also a small dam near the gate a rest stop.
5. Paradise Valley Nature Reserve (2km)
For a fun, and easy walk even the kids could do, try out the Paradise Valley Nature Reserve trails. The reserve offers a host of trails for the beginner to advanced hiker but the least challenging is the Waterfall trail. This 2km circular route takes you over wooden bridges that overlooks the historic Umbilo River as it becomes a magnificent waterfall.