Rhenosterpoort Trail

Alma/Thabazimbi

The Waterberg Mountains act as a hideaway for several gems of nature that the inquisitive hiker will be enticed to say wow! And Wow! In sheer wonderment. Lovers of birdlife, trees and geology can only marvel at the diversity that unfolds as the one foot follows the other into this paradise. Rhenosterpoort is situated close to the small hamlet of Rankin’s Pass which is on the sand road between Alma and Thabazimbi in Limpopo Province. Generally, this road is reasonable, but it can turn into something exciting after heavy rains. A four-wheel drive vehicle or vehicle with good ground clearance is preferable under these adverse conditions. When we visited the farm Rhenosterpoort the sand road was awash after a deluge of about 60mm of rain, but this is not the norm. However, the saying goes that ‘it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good’ and so was the case with our visit as the streams and waterfalls where at their thundering best.

 
Trail description:

There are two trails at Rhenosterpoort. You can do these from either of the two camps or link them together as an overnight backpack. Both trails have stunning scenery that you will find includes magnificent gorges, water features and views. The longer trail begins by taking you to the first of many falls you will encounter along your walk and is sufficiently close to your starting point to entice you back for a dip after you have completed the day. Following this interlude of delight at this awe of water, your path takes you to the junction of the circular day trail that eventually will return you to the Dassie Camp or by taking the lower road to the left it takes you to the Bushbuck camp for the circular route from there. For those of you intending to do the Dassie circle, the trail climbs steeply through dense forest until you reach a conglomerate rock outcrop with panoramic views below. Your route now takes you through grassland, ascending less steeply until a last scramble brings you over a ridge. A descent through a rock strewnveld and along another beautiful gurgling brook brings you to the head of the highlight of the day’s walk, a magnificent gorge that will tell you to tarry for a while in the cool waters that cascade down it. It is only short walks from here to the camp so you should take your time here before you go on to complete the trail.
 
Like the Dassie Camp the Bushbuck Camp is set in the heart of delightful indigenous forest. From this Camp the second trail leads to a stream and you follow this to the junction of the path from Dassie Camp. From here you ascend alongside this picturesque brook, crisscrossing backwards and forwards as you go. The rocks that you negotiate along the way are made up of the Waterberg sandstone group, evidence of the distant past of millions of years ago when the environment of this area was vastly different from what it is today. Eventually your path leads you away from the beautiful cataract and ascends quite steeply to a vantage point overlooking the valley and distant mountains that stretch out before you. A steep and rocky descent now takes you down to the plain and this is followed by an easy walk back to camp.


 
Highlights:

True to its name the Waterberg Mountains really come alive through the beauty of the abundance of water on this farm. The panoramic expanse that unfolds before you from the mountain tops is also a feature to behold.

 
Trail type:

The two trails can be walked separately or as a backpack route utilizing both camps for a single night.

 
Accommodation:

There are two stone built, thatched roof camps, each equipped with beds and mattresses, tables and chairs and a communal braai area. Ablutions include hot showers and flush toilets. Kitchen facilities include a fridge and small stove.
 
  • Dassie Camp accommodates 20 people
  • Bushbuck camp accommodates 10 people.
 
There are also two fully equipped self-catered guest cottages situated on the edge of a beautiful farm dam.

 
Dassie camp
  • This thatched bush camp is situated in a thickly wooded kloof, 200m from the river and twenty minutes’ walk from a waterfall with a swing and a big refreshing rock pool. 
  • It accommodates 20 hikers and consists of four bedrooms with bunk beds and mattresses.   
  • Outside:  a (not reed) boma for campfires and outside braai. 
  • No electricity.  No lanterns – candles only. Bring own lanterns / gas lamps.
  • Ablution- gas geysers. Two flush toilets & 2 showers
  • Lapa, braai facilities, kitchen with 2 plate gas stove no cooking utensils.
  • “ice box” with frozen 2l bottles.
  • Bring own cooler boxes and ice. No fridge
  • Minimum group booking of 12 persons.
  • No electricity. No lanterns – candles only.  Bring own lights. 
  • Bring own cooler boxes and ice – no fridge.
  • Ablutions:  gas geysers. Two flush toilets & 2 showers.
 
Bedrooms:
  • 10 x double-bunks
  • 20 x mattresses (please do not remove from the room)
  • 1 x large table
 
Kitchen:
  • 3 x iron cast pots (potjiekos) no. 1, 2½ and 6
  • 2 x kettles
  • 3 x braai grids
  • 1 x 2-plate gas stove
  • Bring own cooler boxes and ice – no fridge.
  • 2 x trestle tables
  • Broom, dust bin, spade
  • One wood bundle is provided. Wood is available for sale from the owners.
 

Bosbok camp
  • This private secluded thatched bush camp is also situated in a wooded kloof, 200m from the river and walking distance from the waterfall. 
  • It accommodates 10 persons.
  • Two separate bedrooms with 3 single beds in each room.
  • Two extra bunk beds in the social area (4 single beds).
  • No extra tents welcome.
  • No electricity. Candles provided.  Bring own lanterns/ gas lamps.
  • Ablutions:  1 flush toilets & 1 showers.  Gas geyser for hot water.
  • Lapa, braai facilities, kitchen with 2 plate gas stove no cooking utensils.
  • “ice box” with frozen 2l bottles
  • Bring own cooler boxes and ice.  No fridge.
  • Minimum group booking of 4 persons.
  • Please bring own chairs.
  • No electricity. No lanterns – candles only.  Bring own lights. 
  • Bring own cooler boxes and ice – no fridge.
  • Ablutions:  gas geyser. One flush toilet & 2 showers (one is an outside cold shower).
 
Bedrooms:
  • 2 x double-bunks
  • 6 x beds
  • 10 x mattresses (please do not remove from the room)
  • 1 x table with 6 chairs
 
Kitchen:
  • 1 x frying pan to be used on fire
  • 1 x kettle
  • 3 x iron cast pots (potjiekos) no ¾, 2, and 3
  • 2 x braai grids
  • 1 x trestle table
  • 1 x 2-plate gas stove
  • Broom, dust bin, spade
  • One wood bundle is provided. Wood is available for sale from the owners.
 
Where is it:

Rhenosterpoort is situated close to the hamlet of Rankins Pass on the sandroad that leads west from the ModimolleVaalwater road through Alma to Thabazimbi.  All visitors must report to the farm and then be guided to their camp.

 
Hiking trails:
 
Two-day trails:
Hikers can do 4.9km and 5.4km day trails from each camp or do the trails as part of an overnight route to include both camps.
 
Both trails follow natural streams in ravines for part of the way, making this an ideal summertime hike. During the latter part of the rain season the many natural springs on the farm mean that you rarely need to carry drinking water with you. The veld changes from thickly wooded ravines, with great waterberries and yellow woods, to a mixed bushveld, with sickle bush and acacia, and then to sourveld with, beech trees and sugarbush proteas. This variety of veld types in a relatively small area make for a varied and interesting hike.
 
Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the 200 plus species that have been identified on the property and in the area.
 
The waterfall that inspired the idea of hiking trails is a must see and is a joy to swim in, and the water is usually cold and refreshing, even on the hottest days.

 
Overnight trail

Hikers can start and finish from each camp.
The overnight trail can accommodate 10 hikers.
 
B - d: from bosbok camp to dassie camp is approximately 10km and starts by following the rhenosterspruit. After about 2km the trail takes the hiker through a portion of what we call the donker kloof, so named because the narrow ravine and enormous trees ensure that very little direct sunlight reaches the ground. You then leave the kloof to ascend to one of the highest lookouts on the farm, with a spectacular view of the waterberg mountains and the alma valley. After crossing the sourveld on the plateau, you enter a ravine upstream of the same rhenosterpruit that you started hiked along earlier. Following this “kloof” brings you to the dassie camp.
 
D - b: this trail is approximately 8km from dassie camp back to bosbok camp. The trails starts by following the stream further downriver to the waterfall, and  is a “must swim”, the plunge pool has been measured as 5 m deep in places, this and the high surrounding cliffs that block all but the midday sun, mean a very cold and refreshing plunge. Soon thereafter the trail follows a smaller tributary stream upriver through a smaller, though no less attractive kloof. After a while this ravine narrows until the stream fills the space, you can then choose the following options; 1) follow the marked trail out and then along the top of the ravine, or 2) take the adventurous option of wading through the at times waist deep water and follow the stream until the two trail meet at the top of the ravine. The trails then cross a ridge to descend to a wide valley in a veld ideal for kudu, impala, and many other game species. The trail follows the valley for a relatively easy walk the bosbok camp.
 
 
What should I know about security?

No problems have been experienced on the farm

 
How fit do I need to be?

The trails are both relatively short, but the terrain is rugged. Both trails ascend approximately 250m in altitude. The trails can be regarded as of moderate difficulty with some more difficult sections. This is especially true when backpacking.

 
Background information:

Geologically you come across Waterberg Sandstone (Bushbuck Trail), large areas on conglomerate (Dassie Trail) and granite rock in the gorge, also on the Dassie Trail. You will find a wide variety of birds including the Black Eagle, Cape Vulture and Fish Eagle. Game to be seen on the farm includes Kudu, Bush pig, Impala and Warthog.
 
 
Rates:

NB:
Min Group Booking required for overnight backpack trails: 6 people
Min Group Booking required for Bosbok camp: 4 people
Min Group Booking required for Dassie camp: 12 people
Min of 2-night stay over weekends.
 
 
Bushcamp and Dassie Camp:
  • Adult R180 pp.pn
  • U/12 R150 pp.pn
  • U/2 Free
 
Bushcamp – 1 night over weekend
  • Adult R270 pp.pn
  • U/12 R230 pp.pn
  • U/2 Free
 
Day Hikes:
  • Adult R100 pp.pn
  • U/12 R80 pp.pn
  • U/2 Free
 
Admin Fee:
  • R55.00 - Once off per reservation

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