Western Cape, Between Lainsburg and Sutherland

6 day hike in the enigmatic Buffelsrivier through the heart of the Moordenaarskaroo

“Spend time in the wilderness – places where landscape and sky overwhelm you – and you start to change. In the city you are caught in a rat race and you are fighting to maintain ego. But in the wilderness, you can lose your sense of self. You start realising that you are just a tiny cog in an enormously complex system. Your perspective changes and you identify less with your little ego and your little drama. That is the inner journey. But of course, your literal journey brings other kinds of discovery. Spend enough time in the wilderness and, in addition to the landscape and scenery, you might find old artefacts, or come across caves covered in paintings. You might find that, even though you have no knowledge of what it’s all about, you have a strong emotional reaction to the wide-open spaces we call wilderness.” – Craig Foster (My heart stands in the hill , 2005)

Hike for 6 days in the Karoo’s own canyon, the Buffelsrivier, and be enchanted by the fauna and flora, geology, and history of the epic river where it flows through distant farms in the Moordenaarskaroo.  The Moordenaarskaroo roughly lies between Laingsburg, Merwevill and Sutherland and forms part of a natural ‘kom’ which is the Buffelsrivier collection point is.  On 25 January 1981, the Buffelsrivier causes one of South Africa’s biggest natural disasters in history, the Laingsburg Flood, a direct result of heavy rains in the Moordenaarskaroo.

The Trail:

The hike begins 700m above sea level near Laingsburg and ends on 1712m above sea level on top of the Komsberg, South of Sutherland, where the Buffelsrivier originate.  You hike an average of 16km per day in mostly riverbeds, and/or the veldt, with a total distant of 94km.

On this trail you only carry your day pack with light lunch and drinks.  All other necessities and camping equipment are transported daily to the next overnight stop.  Breakfast, lunch, and delicious dinners are guaranteed around a cosy campfire, star gazing with the intense silence of the Karoo.

Day 1:
12.6km

The hike starts on the Laingsburg / Sutherland gravel road, from where hikers will hike from here of the farm road into the Moordenaarskaroo on to the first overnight spot.  The sun sets here on the many “Blou kranse”, blue krantze of the Buffelsrivier.

Day 2:
16km

The first day in the riverbeds with breathtaking sandstone, and petrified mud cliffs, Verreaux’s Eagles, rock paintings and murals.  The terrain ranges from soft, dense river sand and rock.  The night is spent in a dry riverbed.

Day 3:
17km

The further the trail extends, the wider the landscape becomes.  Days 3 and 4 are days that expose the naked, untouched of the landscape and the forces of nature.  The terrain is similar to day 2.

Day 4:
15.2km

The terrain is similar to day 2 and 3, but at night we camp in style with hot water showers with an enormous donkey and flushing toilets.

Day 5:
21.4km

The trail follows the course of one of the Buffelsrivers feeding rivers and the terrain alterntes between dense vegetations, donga and rock slabs.  The first half of the route is in the river bed where “Rillers se tande” starts to take shape, with the second half on an abandoned farm road.  We overnight at the foot of the Komsberg at a stone barn and a mud dam… with a glimpse of the past.

Day 6:
12km

The trail follows a two-lane path through an exceptional gorge to the top of the Komsberg, 1712m above sea level.  The view of the western part of the small Roggeveld is breathtaking.  The same path is hike down to the bottom of the gorge, where another night will be spent.

Day 7:

Everybody leaves back to Lainsburg.


Pertinent Information:

Where:

  • Moordenaarskaroo, between Lainsburg and Sutherland

Dates:

2020:
  • 7 – 13 Sept
  • 19 – 25 Sept
  • 4 – 10 October
2021:
  • 15 – 21 March
  • 26 April – 2 May
  • 14 – 20 May
  • 6 – 12 Sept
  • 24 – 30 Sept
How fit should you be?:

The trail is challenging, be fit, be as fit for the Fish. 

Difficulty Grade:

The terrain is mostly hiked in dry riverbeds with thick soft/hard sand, rocks and rocky banks, some parts are hiked on gravel road or farm roads.

The Guarantee:

Starry, starry nights filled with intense silence of the Karoo, only for it to be broken by the many campfires.  Hot home-made comfort food is made with love, so you can take on the rough krantze, which will be rewarded with unmatched views.

Principal:
  • They work on the principal “Leave no trace” movement.
  • Remove all litter / carry litter with you.
  • Do not disturb the environment
  • Do not pick up anything
  • Respect the wildlife, fauna and flaura.
Included:
  • Sage parking for your vehicle on a farm outside Laingsburg.
  • Coffee, tea, and rusks in the morning
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch pack
  • Dinner
  • Drinking water
  • Transporting of hiker’s necessities
  • Bush toilets and warm camp showers
You Should Bring:
  • Tent
  • Matrass
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camping chair
  • Snacks
  • Own refreshments

Rates:

2020
  • R5760.00 pp

2021

  • R6240.00 pp

Admin Fee:

  • R55.00 once off per reservation

Inquire Now:

Moordenaarskaroo/Buffelsrivier Trail
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