Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape

 

This two-day and 36-kilometre circular hiking trail is perfect for a weekend getaway and boasts desert-like dunes, lush indigenous forest, dune cliffs crumbling into the sea and spectacular untouched beaches.  Alexandria hiking trail can accommodate max 12 people and min 3 people.  This is a Circular route of 36 km.  1st day 19.5km, 2nd day 16.5km

 

Day One:
The first section of the hike travels through magical forest where ancient yellowwoods and spectacular coral trees can be seen. The “Waterboom” – a gigantic yellowwood named for the reservoir of water held at the base of its trunk - provides an interesting stop.  After crossing the open fields of Perdekloof, the trail moves onto the beach where the stark sandy beach ecosystem and dramatic dune cliffs provide breathtaking scenery.  Six kilometres of untouched coastline stretches out in front of the hiker before a climb up a wooden ladder to reach the dune fields. Southern right whales can be seen just off shore in certain months and dolphins are often spotted in the waves.  The wreck of the Nidaros, an old steamer, can be investigated at low tide.

After a walk through aromatic coastal fynbos, hikers will find the Woody Cape hut nestled in thick coastal forest with a view of Bird Island - home to the largest Cape gannet breeding colony in the world - in the distance.

 

Day Two:

On the second day the trail traverses sand dunes of the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere.  Early morning provides hikers an opportunity to investigate the signs of animals, such as jackals, duikers and the endemic hairy-footed gerbil, left on the dunes from the previous night. Tall posts guide hikers through the shifting dune fields.  Fascinating ancient middens sites, evidence of the strandloper people who wandered these shores in early days, can also be seen.  The last five kilometres of the trail winds once again through indigenous forest.

The first day is approximately 19.5km, while the second day is about 16.5 km.  Hikers will require a moderate to good level of fitness, especially for the dune crossing on the second day.

The Langebos Huts, situated within the forest, are the base huts for the trail and it is recommended that hikers stay at these huts the night before leaving for the first day.  The huts are equipped with 12 beds with mattresses (six each in of two huts), a hot water shower, toilet, fridge lounge, open plan kitchen, solar energy, stove and a braai area braai grid and wood supplied. Hikers are welcome to spend the night at the Langebos huts at the end of the second day’s hike and the huts are also available for hiring separate to the trail experience.

 

The Woody Cape hut is situated at the end of the first day’s hike, overlooking the sea and Bird Island.  This hut is equipped with 12 beds with mattresses in two bedrooms. It has a rainwater tank for drinking and cooking water only and toilets. No shower is available. A gas two-plate stove and basic utensils, cutlery and crockery are provided. No fires may be made at this hut.

A minimum of three hikers (for safety reasons) and a maximum of twelve hikers are allowed on the trail per day. The trail will not be booked exclusively for one group, unless they are twelve in number.

 

Huts:

The Langebos Huts, situated within the forest, are the base huts for the trail and it is recommended that hikers stay at these huts the night before leaving for the first day. The huts are equipped with 12 beds with mattresses (six each in of two huts), a hot water shower, toilet and a braai area. Hikers are welcome to spend the night at the Langebos huts at the end of the second day's hike and the huts are also available for hiring

separate to the trail experience.

 

The Woody Cape hut is situated at the end of the first day's hike, overlooking the sea and Bird Island. This hut is equipped with 12 beds with mattresses in two bedrooms. It has a rainwater tank for drinking and cooking water only and toilets. No shower is available. A gas two-plate stove and basic utensils, cutlery and crockery are provided. No fires may be made at this hut. A minimum of three hikers (for safety reasons) and a maximum of twelve hikers are allowed on the trail per day. The trail will not be booked exclusively for one group, unless they are twelve in number.

 

How to get there:
The trail starts from the Woody Cape rangers office of the Park situated near the town of Alexandria on the R72 to Port Alfred. The R72 is accessed off the N2 between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, just after the Nanaga interchange.

Just before the town of Alexandria, follow the signs towards Addo Elephant National Park, Woody Cape section through an automated boom gate and down a gravel road, taking two left turns (signposted) before entering the Park office grounds to your right.


What’s available at Addo Elephant National Park?
After your hike, it’s an hour and a half drive to the Main entrance gate of the Addo Elephant National Park if you want to indulge in some wildlife viewing on some of the Park’s 70 kilometres of roads. There are a variety of accommodation options in Addo Rest Camp, or Camp Matyholweni (situated near the town of Colchester on the N2), as well as activities such as guided game drives and horse trails on offer.