Karoo Erdvark Hiking Trail

Beaufort Wes, Western Cape

The Karoo Erdvark trail is situated on the farm Rooiheuwel.  Rooiheuwel is a self-catering Karoo Guest Farm in South Africa, situated in the beautiful surroundings of the escarpment of the Nuweveld Mountains in the Great Karoo with a typical mountain-karoo landscape, 80km west of Beaufort West and 60km north of Leeu-Gamka.
 
The karoo with its unique landscape and wide-open spaces is a place where the visitor is graced by a magnificent authentic karoo experience, diverse and varying scenery consisting of mountains, valleys, kloofs, plains and rivers with perennial pools and fountains. The silence, tranquillity, peace and open starry sky at night is something special – a place where you can listen to the heartbeat of the Karoo.  It is also an enormous semi-desert and one of the world’s unique dry regions with the greatest variety of succulents in the world, a huge and diverse flora as well as a variety of primate, game, reptiles, invertebrates and birds.  Temperatures start increasing during November and remain high until February. It decreases by April to become cold in the mid-winter months of June and July. Snowfalls may sometimes occur as late as September – October.
 
Take off your city shoes, embrace the vastness of the karoo and experience the beauty of simplicity.

 
Trail Description:
 
Classification: A self-guided, self-catering clover leaf network
Environmental character: Pristine
Accommodation: Boplaas excellent, Shed standard
Facilities and safety: Satisfactorily maintained
Difficulty Rating: Moderate to fairly difficult with easy short walk options
 

Basic Trail Description:

The Karoo Erdvark Trail is the first Green Flag Accredited Hiking Trail in the Karoo with its unique landscape consisting of flat-topped mountains with enormous vistas over the outstretched plains but also incised valleys and kloofs with small perennial pools and fountains for a swim.
The trail is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the escarpment of the Nuweveld Mountains, 80 km west of Beaufort West. It has been developed to give the hiker a wilderness experience and consists of a network of trails that varies both in length and difficulty; with options for the more experienced hiker as well as for the leisure hiker.
 
The trail runs across a functioning sheep farm, but game and many birds are to be seen. The hiker is graced by magnificent, diverse and varying scenery of typical mountain-Karoo landscape while the silence, tranquillity, peace and open sky at night is something special to experience. It is more than a hiking trail; it offers an authentic Karoo experience – with a “skaap braai” option available.
 
The accommodation is in a typical Karoo farm house with excellent facilities. A huge farm shed is also available for larger groups or for the “budget hiker”.  The trail has at its disposal a nearby airstrip for small airplanes such as the Cessna and Pilates.
 
Day 1: 12.9 km
You hike from Boplaas, to Tafelkop to Middelplaas, where you overnight.
 
Day 2: 9.8 km
You hike from Middleplaas to Arendsnes. You overnight in 3 tents or you may pitch you own tent or sleep under the “afdak”.  There is no running water or toilets.  Water however is provided.
 
Day 3: 15.44 km
You hike from Arendsnes to Rietvlei.  You overnight in an old school building.  Mattresses are provided.  There is a toilet and running water.
 
Day 4: 15.3 km
You hike from Rietvlei to Grootdroom and overnight there.
 
Day 5: 14.3 km
12.8 km (shorter trail)
You hike from Grootdroom to Boplaas.

 
All Trail Options:
  • Aar 9 km
  • Tafelkop-Boplaas 31/10.0 km
  • Piekniekvlak 3 km
  • Bulhoek 83 km
  • Rivier 2 km
  • Rooiberg 45/12.79 km
  • Vanghok 2 km
  • Tafelkop-Grootdroom 41/18.9/17.4 km
  • Donkerhoek 34 km
  • Knoffelfontein 0 km
  • Dripval 3/2.6 km
  • Doringleegte 1 km
  • Donkerhoekfontein 2 km
2-Day Option:
Arrive park and stay the first night at Grootdroom.
Day 1: Hike from Grootdroom to Rietvlei (14.5km)
Day 2: Hike back to Grootdroom(15.3km).

3-Day Option:
Day 1: Grootdroom to Arendsnes (12km)
Day 2: Arendsnes to Rietvlei (15.4km)
Day 3: Rietvlei back to Grootdroom (15.3km).

4-Day Option:
Arrive, park and stay the first night at Boplaas.
Day 1: from Bo-plaas to Middelplaas (12.9km)
Day 2 from Middelplaas to Arendsnes (9.8km)
Day 3: Arendsnes to Grootdroom is 9.2km
Day 4: Grootdroom to Boplaas is 14.3 or 12.8km.
 
Grootdroom – One Day Hiking Trails:
  • Tafelkop-Grootdroom 41/18.9/17.4 km
  • Donkerhoek 34 km
  • Knoffelfontein 0 km
  • Dripval 3/2.6 km
  • Doringleegte 1 km
  • Donkerhoekfontein 2 km
 
Trail Facilities and Safety:
 
Reception office Yes – Farmhouse Rooiheuwel  
Road signs to start of trail clear? Yes  
Access road to start Gravel  
Trail format Clover leaf  
Map Yes – good quality  
Facilities for handicapped No  
Guide No – Only on request  
Environmental Information No  
Food & beverages en-route No  
Water No  
Portaging Yes, for slackpacking  
Catering No  
Sanitation facilities en-route No  
  – Parking   Safe
  – Accommodation   Safe
  – Trail Markers   Correct
  – Trail Warning signs   N/A
  – Trail Water potability   Safe
  – Hikers’ general safety (mugging)   Safe
  – Other (bridges, ladders, stiles, etc.)   Safe
  – Crossings (road/rivers)   Safe
  – Indemnity Form   Yes
  – Emergency Escape routes   No
  – Emergency Telephone/cell   Only cell phone on mountain tops
  – Emergency Medical Aid/evacuation   Limited
  system    
         
 

Slack Packing:

We offer slack packing @ R6.00 /km.  The roads that are being used are over rough terrain.  For both the 5- and 7-day trail, the trail distance is 280km and thus an additional R1680.00 pp will be charged.

 
Accommodation:

Traditional Trail accommodation is classified based on facilities as either rustic, standard or excellent. With the emerging of slack packing, a category, ‘luxury ‘has been added. Some trails might have both types of accommodation: traditional as well as luxury.

 
Key

Rustic:            Shelter with minimum facilities
Standard:       Hut with basic self-catering facilities
Excellent:       House (multi-rooms) with cooking facilities in kitchen
Luxury:           B&B / Hotel / Guesthouse or other catered accommodation, also available to general public
 

Boplaas:

 
Rated as excellent
Sleeping units: Luxury tents / cottage/ house with several sleeping rooms
Toilet: Flush toilet inside sleeping unit (guideline1:6 people) with toilet paper provided
Beds: 4 beds
Mattresses: Thick (10cm) high density foam or spring
Ablution: Hot water can be made by means of a “donkey”.  Cold water only or nearby stream / dam.
Braai / barbecue area: Under cover barbecue, with wind shield on 2 sides, with grate (guideline 1:10 people to accommodate two or more groups)
Fire wood provided: Only one bag for braaiing
Kitchenware: Cutlery / crockery / pots & pans provided
Kitchen: Separate “kitchen”/common room with basin / tap inside
Lighting: Electricity / gas / solar
Heating / Facilities for drying clothes: Outside line
Cooking: Fridge / cooler AND Stove / Hot plate / Burner inside hut
 
 
Shed:
 
Rated as standard
Sleeping units: Basic hut or tent provided (one communal sleeping unit).  Shelter against elements for sleeping or tent site
Toilet: Separate toilet building, flush facilities outside hut (toilet paper provided).  Pit toilet (max 50 m from hut) OR alternative hygienic system (toilet paper provided)
Beds:  Mainly bunkbeds
Mattresses: Thick (10cm) high density foam or spring
Ablution: Hot water available
Braai / barbecue area: Under cover barbecue, with wind shield on 2 sides, with grate (guideline 1:10 people to accommodate two or more groups)
Fire wood provided: Only one bag for braaiing.
Kitchenware: Pots & pans OR cutlery / crockery provided
Kitchen: Separate “kitchen”/common room with basin / tap inside
Lighting: Electricity / gas / solar
Heating / Facilities for drying clothes: Outside line
Cooking: Stove / Hot plate only

 
Rates:
  • R280.00 pp.pn
  • R2200.00 – Slackpacking

Admin Fee:
  • R55.00 once off admin fee per reservation

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