Van Reenen’s Pass


This trail is located on one of the most beautiful and renowned landmarks in the Free State, namely Rensburgkop.  The mountain arises abruptly out of the north-Eastern Free State landscape, with massive sandstone kranzes on the sides. Rensburgkop is known not only for its unique location, but also as the site where the TV drama “The Mountain” was filmed, based on a true story.

After due consideration, the owners have decided to let hikers experience the area as a wilderness hiking trail.  The trails are no longer marked and cleared.  Hikers can hike the distance they prefer and sleep over where they like BUT PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH FIRES. 

Raptors that breed on the mountain include Cape vultures, crown and black eagles.  Bald ibis and abdim storks are plentiful as well.  There is abundant endemic game.  The flora is very similar to that of the Drakensberg ecological zones.  Some of the most majestic yellowwood trees to be seen on Free State hiking trails are found here.

On the trail one passes a massive San cave in which some paintings have survived.  For the more energetic hiker, the climb towards the Beacon on Rensburgkop is rewarded with a view not to be missed.  The sheer rock faces of this mountain will appeal to most mountaineers and abseilers, while more adventurous hikers will really enjoy some rock climbing in William’s Gorge.  An additional adventure would be to explore the Baboon’s Gorge to the top of the mountain.

Hikers and nature lovers should take time to enjoy the beauty of this most exceptional Free State trail. The Bald Ibis trails will appeal to all hikers - from those who prefer using a base camp and following shorter trails, to those who prefer to backpack and sleep out, especially in a cave.

Two-day trail:

Day 1:

  • 17, 7 km

Day 2

  • 9 km

Day trails:

  • 3 and 5 hours respectively.  These are distances of original marked trails.  Map may be used for guidelines but please note that the trail is no longer marked and cleared.

Overnight facilities:
Basic hikers accommodation

Wessels Barn:

·         Undercover dining and lapa areas;

·         Restored barn with 30 beds/mattresses;

·         Electricity.

Kitchen facalities:

·         Potjies/pots/pans;

·         Kettles;

·         two-plate gas stove;

·         braai facilities and wood;

Ablution facilities:

·         2 flush toilets;

·         2 showers;

·         Donkey boiler geyser.


Base camp trails:
Luxury Hikers accommodation:

·         Appin Farmhouse;

·         12 Twin bedrooms en suite;

·         5 bedrooms for 12 persons;

·         Fully self contained.

Pertinent information:

·         Do not tamper with the San paintings in the cave;

·         Carry water during dry periods;

·         Note the special Greyhound bus offer;

·         Maximum number of hikers: 30.

Location of trail:

·         3 km from Swinburne;

·         25 km from Harrismith;

·         400 km from Bloemfontein;

·         350 km from Gauteng and Durban.