When was the last time you really got lost in nature? Allowed the sounds of the bush to envelope you? Or drank the cool crisp water from a fresh mountain spring? If the answer is never, then you won’t be alone, but you are missing out!
The good news for those keen to give it a go, is that you don’t need be Bear Grylls, just come to Mpumalanga to truly get lost in nature. As the Queen Rose two day hiking trail provides the perfect solution for the weekend nature junkie!
Set in the breath-taking Makhonjwa Mountains between Barberton and Badplaas the Queen Rose hiking trail is considered to be one of South Africa’s most spectacular. It winds 26km through mountain passes, indigenous forests and over the Queen River and Montrose Plantation. Along the route you will be treated to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animal species, including the 350 types of birds that are found here.
The beauty of the Queen Rose hike is that anyone can do it, as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness and a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Some of the climbs may leave you a little short of breath and the views from the top will certainly take your breath away!
The first day, which takes you through the Montrose section, is approximately 15km long. You are guided through some of the most beautiful indigenous forests as you follow the path down the Makhonjwa Mountains. One of the best parts is the refreshing swim you can have in the crystal clear water of the pools near Alvin Falls.
The second day is an upstream adventure along the Queens River. This section in approximately 11km and provides some of routes most spectacular view points. If you are lucky you will spot the Crowned Eagles’ nests and for the brave there is the natural pool and slide at the picnic spot. Although, be advised, this is done at your own risk! The highlight of this part of the hike is the waterfall where you can take a thirst quenching drink of the fresh crisp spring water. The suspension bridges, the twenty or so river crossings and various splash pools, make this hike much more than simply a walk in nature. It’s an adventure, it’s exciting and it’s a chance to directly experience the incredible beauty of this part of the country.
Then there is the accommodation. For those seeking the authentic hiker’s experience, the two hiking huts provide the perfect ‘basic’ accommodation. But for anyone looking for something special, the Delfonté chalets are the place to stay. Nestled amongst the picturesque grassy mountains the three Delfonté chalets look like they have been plucked straight from the pages of a fairy-tale. For weary hikers they are the perfect remedy for tired feet and the great news for those reluctant to walk is that they can be hired out by non-hikers too.
The Queen Rose hiking trail has it all, the spectacular views, incredible wildlife, entertaining river crossings and perfectly placed natural splash pools. What’s more, anyone can enjoy it from babies in backpacks to spritely senior citizens. Yet the real beauty of the trail is that it enables you to slip away from the stresses of modern day life and reconnect with nature.