Province: Mpumalanga

Region: Mpumalanga Highveld

You need a permit to walk the trail

Nearest town: Balfour

Distance to nearest town: 27km

GPS Location: S26 49.731 E28 37.497

Trail distance: 11km

Rating: Easy to moderate

Suitable for children: Yes

Is there drinking water along the trail: not normally

Is there cell phone reception: rarely

Do you need to book the trail? Yes, through Jacana Travel Marketing and Reservations CC

The Quagga Pad trail is situated on the farm Rusfontein, close to the small town of Balfour. During the World War 1 the beautiful old farmhouse was used as a hospital. There are many other historical things associated with the area including old farmstead remains and old graveyards. The trail begins at a camp where hikers can overnight and cars can be parked safely.

The trail follows a farm road for about 500m before turning off to the left and ascending gradually to the site of an old grave yard and ruins of an old homestead . From here the trail ascends to a ridge that offers you views of the surrounding area, a distance of 1km. A short walk further and you descend slowly into a valley where in summer you might find water. The trail now rises over rocky ground for 1½Km to the top of Grootkop where beautiful views can be seen of the Vaal Dam. The trail now takes you down across a valley to another viewpoint, a distance of nearly 2km. This is a good place to have a rest and take in the scenery. From here the trail takes you back across the valley before turning south east to cross a sand road, a distance of 1½km.

Once over the sand road you continue on an easy descent to Ernest’s Dam, a beautiful stretch of water which provides you in summer with some excellent opportunities for birding.

 The final 3½km of the trail should take you a maximum of 2 hours. After following the path through some rocky ground for about 400m, you re-cross the sand road and once more ascend into the low koppies that provide you with some more panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. A brief descent to a stream is then followed by a last uphill from where you look down upon the owner’s farm, after which you slowly descend to the hiker’s camp and your vehicles. A second, much easier trail of 6km is also available for those who want to make a weekend of it.


There is little shade to be had along the trail, so it is important to put on sunscreen and wear a hat while walking the trail.