Located in the relatively unexplored southern Drakensberg, at the junction of the Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal and southern Lesotho, the Mehloding Trail takes you on a path of rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage.
The quaint and welcoming town of Matatiele, 70km from Kokstad forms the perfect gateway to the trail, half way between Underberg and Rhodes.
The route traverses spectacular mountainous foothills and rural villages, taking in visits to ancient rock-art, sparkling streams, indigenous trees, medicinal plants, craft projects and top of the world views.
DAY ONE: 14 km
On day of arrival your cars are parked at Masakala Guest House 8km from Matatiele town and you are transferred from here to Malekhalonyana chalet near Motseng village where you will overnight and start your hike the next day. Chalet is in open grassland with mountain views along which the trail traverses in a north-easterly direction. Cross over the Jordan river soon after starting the hike with a short steep climb up onto grassland ridge with easy walking decending down to stream crossing near Masupha village. Moderate climb with great views followed by descent through Mpharane village to chalet.
DAY TWO: 20 km
Descend through Mpharane village to cross the Seeta river. This can be deep in summer requiring careful negotiation. Thereafter a steady climb using footpaths and sled tracks to reach a long easy ridge with excellent 360 degree views. Through a nek and contour path to the protea level where the path meanders through open grassland with streams and incised valleys. A final moderate climb takes you to the chalet at Maboloka located below the Twin Sisters and Makalane peaks. A walk down to the stream and through Mountain Hardpear trees takes one to a panel of well preserved rock art in the sandstone belt.
DAY THREE: 14 km
Moderate climb along stock paths up pleasant contour with interesting sandstone features. Descend to Kinira river (good clean water for drinking) and follow undulating terrain through Goxe and Pepela villages. Cross Makomoring stream (some wattle infestation) and climb up to the chalet located in protea grassland. The chalet at Madlangala is surrounded by encircling mountain peaks and has a sense of space and clear mountain air.
DAY FOUR: 13 km
Your last day's hike is a pleasant contour walk with patches of indigenous forest, protea groves, fascinating sandstone features and mountain grassland. Depending on season, you will find many species of wildflowers and birdlife along this section. The trail ends nears Qachas Nek (border post with Lesotho) where you will be collected by vehicle and taken back to Masakala Guest House where your cars will have been safely parked. You may choose to spend an extra night here or return home the same day