Memel, Eastern Free State
Located near Memel, a tranquil village in the corner of the North-Eastern Free State. The name Memel means, “surrounded by water” and the name Sediba means “Fountain Water” and gives a good indication of what can be expected on the trail.
The green rolling hills, numerous picturesque mountain streams and weathered rock krans make the area around Memel interesting for the hiker. Sediba Hiking Trail has been well laid out to take full advantage of this beautiful area of the Eastern Free State. Enjoy a sundowner on the beautiful deck overlooking the mountains.
The Sediba Base camp is ideal as a central point to leave all your ‘katunda’, so you can enjoy the trail by carrying only the bare essentials. Also the non-hikers can happily stay there enjoying the view from the deck, or paddling in one of the rock pools in the river just below (there’s a pool with a storey-high waterfall about 500m to the left of the camp, and another bigger pool with an overhanging grotto about 1km upstream from the base. There are also great ‘Lifers’ for keen birders and a variety of small wildlife.
- Basecamp hike
- Near Memel in the Eastern Free State
- +- 240 km from JHB
- Nearest Town Memel – 16 km
Both trails are circular routes that start and end at the basecamp. You could choose to do any on any day, but ‘Day1’ takes much longer (it took us 6 and1/2hrs. We did not stop for lunch, but were calm having many short stops), so you need a whole day for it at least.
The grassland and Seekoeivlei wetlands are host to an estimated 350 birds species. 230 Species already recorded of which 15 are Red Data species including the Crowned, Blue and Wattled Crane, as well as the Rudds and Bota’s Lark.
The trail starts up from the Base Camp, is 10.5 long and is marked by white footprints. The trail winds through beautiful grasslands and there are great vistas of distant mountains and you can just make out the tiny hamlet of Memel. The path then curves around the mountain over rock ledges and follows the south side of a cliff face, where you are also shadowed by lovely indigenous bush. Every nook and cranny have a surprise, long ladders down faces, wooden bridges across streams, cascades, grottos, a cleft through rock (Dassie’s skeur – which you won’t fit through if you’ve had too many donuts!). The trail gradually meanders down into the valley to iPikiniki, where one could stop for lunch and swim in rock pools (seasonal). There is also fresh from the source, ice-cold mountain water available on most of the route (but carry a bit of extra water anyway). The path then meanders up and out the valley and bush, onto a plateau and grasslands. An excellent time to spot herds of rhebucks, duikers and steenbok, and 360deg vistas. Watch for when the path veers away from the fence-line, inland, back towards the main camp. There is a rock with a yellow arrow showing the change in direction, and stone pillars with painted footprints at intervals across the veld. The trail then moves over a style and back into the riverine forest of the valley which the base camp overlooks. Again, be sure you are on the best-established path. Further down you will encounter lovely rock pools, waterfalls, grottos, overhangs, steep ladders, and high-up wooden bridges. Then back to basecamp for a rejuvenating hot shower and sundowner on the deck.
Day 2 is marked by yellow footprints, is 6kms and follows up onto the ridge in front of the camp, then back around the mountain back to base camp. There are less ladders and bridges, but the vistas down onto Seekoeivlei and the meandering Klip river with all its ox-bow lakes are magnificent. You can also see the charming town of Memel in the distance.
Day two spoils you with views that will feed your soul! This is a trail with many surprised installed for the hiker and which will not easily be forgotten. The Ou Hout Trail is named after the dominant tree species that features on the trail. The rocky terrain and water streams are negotiated with the help of several ladders and numerous bridges. A lot of work has gone into the trail to make sure it is safe for hikers.
The chalets and bathrooms now have solar lights (which are surprisingly bright), and the kitchen/living area has lights run by a deep-cycle battery. The kitchen is equipped with 2 tables, a sink with running water, dishcloths, and washing-up liquid (it would be appreciated if people wash their own dishes). A gas-stove top with 2 hot plates, and a chest gas fridge. There is a rack/open-shelf stacked with china plates, tin mugs, glasses, cutlery (about 30 of each), general cutlery (like whisk, braai tongs, etc), 2, 2L kettles(for gas/fire), a pot, 2 frying pans, cutting board. There is a built counter/bar with long benches on the other side. In the open lounge area, there is a long dining room table (+/- 8-seater), 4 single ‘armchairs’ and 3 double-seater ‘couches’ with cushions (these chairs are very rustic-looking and woven with pliable branches). I would recommend for larger parties that some people bring extra camping chairs. There is a lovely fireplace which you can also braai on (there are 3 triangle stands for a pot/kettle) & several braai grid. Wood is provided, but guests need to bring charcoal. There is also a spade. The lounge door opens to a lovely deck which overlooks a deep river valley and bush. To the right of this is a lapa area where you can have an outside braai/ fire. Just off here are separate ablutions for men and women.
- 3 Thatch roof chalets nestled in the mountains slightly apart from each other.
- Bunkbeds with mattresses and fitted sheet.
- Can accommodate 36 hikers
- Separate ablution block for Gents and Ladies
- Ladies: 3 Flush toilets, 3 showers (donkey)
- Gents: 2 Flush toilets and 2 showers (donkey)
- Lapa including kitchen, with a deck and inside braai.
- Cutlery, crockery, pots and pans provided
- Gas Stove
- Gas fridge
- Bring own braai, charcoal and firelighters, wood is provided for donkey and boma.
- Please provide own pillow and sleeping bag and toilet paper.
- There are only solar lights
- No electricity
- Signal is good
- Dirt road: There is a dirt road but there is safe parking in town not for vehicles that cannot drive on the dirt road. The owners of the trail will assist with transport from safe parking in town to overnight hut.
- Bring own ice or buy in town
- Not pet friendly
- R230 pp.pn – Adult
- R120.00 pp.pn – U/10
- R350.00 – Adult – 1 night’s accommodation
- R240.00 – U/10 – 1 night’s accommodation
- R12.00 pp – Day Visitors
- R55.00 admin fee once off per reservation.