THE WARTRAIL SLACKPACKING SKYWALK

Love the idea of exploring the great outdoors on foot, but not  keen on carrying a heavy backpack and camping in temperamental mountain weather ?

The Wartrail farming community near Barkly East hosts The Slackpacking Skywalk; which is rapidly gaining renown for its pristine beauty, generous hospitality and memorable sightings.

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The hiking route traverses varied terrain, from farmland to veld,  sandstone valleys to Basalt mountains, reaching altitudes of 2700m, revealing the splendour of the Southern Drakensberg.  Your guide, Allan Isted,  from Bidstone Cottages, is knowledgeable, sensitive and engaging; with a passion for sharing the territory with others.

The hike through this untouched mountain range provides the  opportunity to watch the majestic and rare Bearded Vulture, spy on shy Reedbuck and marvel at the variety of Alpine Flora.  The district’s many sandstone overhangs reveal some of our country’s best rock art.  Allan’s perceptive insights and enthusiasm gives each viewer their own intimate experience relating to this powerful social art form.

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WARTRAIL SLACKPACKING HIKE ITINERARY

Day 1 : Travel to Glengyle Farm.
You will be welcomed by Debbie and Oliver.  Dinner and breakfast served in the farmhouse dining room. Glengyle has a spectacular English country garden and breathtaking views of the surrounding Southern Drakensberg peaks.

Day 2: Hike from Glengyle to Kernow.  20 km easy hiking.
Allan will meet the group at breakfast time and we set off at around 8 am.  We walk along an old contour road which runs along the top of a sandstone rock formation. We pass old stone farm buildings and then descend into the Balloch valley: a World Heritage site boasting spectacular sandstone features.  We visit a rock art sight in a cave for lunch.  After this break we walk along the farm road and then up to the Kernow farm. Kimberly Mitchell will welcome you to this comfortable home, and host you for dinner and breakfast.

Day 3 : Kernow to Glengariff farm.  15 km easy hiking.
During this hike we stop at a Boer war safe house fort .  We drop down into the Joggomspruit canyon where Allan will show you some more rock art galleries.  We then walk through the Rannock wood and end up at our 3rd guesthouse, the historic pink sandstone homestead of Glengariff farm. You will be hosted by Bella Viegie, a local lady- and the most talented cook in the district.

Day 4 : Glengariff to Bidstone Farm.
There are 2 route options on day 4.  One 14 km moderate hike (under Halstone Kranz)  or 25 km (over Halstone Kranz) for our more advanced hikers. One the hike, Allan will discuss which option serves the group best.  We follow the river, zigzagging under sandstone overhangs, some of which feature more rock art.  Then up into the mountains, either over or under Halstone Kranz .  Either way, this is spectacular day, with scenery changing constantly, and the chance of sighting Bearded Vultures a reality.  We pass Funnystone farm, which has fantastic sandstone formations and meander the final few kilometres to  Bidstone.  Bidstone is a most welcome sight; with cold craft beer and a ‘Lang Tafel’ where our guests enjoy a woodfired pizza evening and a well-deserved rest.

Day 5: transfer back to vehicles left at Glengyle.
Breakfast at Bidstone is served outdoors on an Argentine style fire Chapa. Guests pack up for the last time and transfer back to their vehicles at Glengyle and start the journey home.

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Climate: A typical highland climate with moderate summers and cold winters. The area has summer rainfall with afternoon thunderstorms. It is suggested that you start your trails early in the morning so that you have descended the mountain soon after lunchtime. The days are warm (28º – 30ºC) and the nights cool (a sweater will be needed).

Medical conditions: When you book you must notify us of any medical conditions, medical history, or medications that you are on. In particular asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and allergies (especially to wasp/bee stings & any food allergies). Please advise us if you have a history of knee or ankle problems.

What to bring: Our mountainous areas can experience extremely cold weather, even in summer. Warm clothes are essential. We insist you have the essential items below and reserve the right to make you purchase / hire them before the hike.

Essential items:

Hiking boots                                            Day pack

Waterproof raincoat                                 Warm fleece / wool jersey (not cotton)

Gloves / mittens                                       A good all-weather jacket with hood

Shorts & tops                                           Polypro thermals – top & long-johns

Socks                                                     Warm hat or balaclava

Sunscreen & sunglasses                          Water bottle (1L)

Spare shoes or sandals                           Flashlight / head lamp

Insect repellent                                      Basic medical kit including space blanket

Toiletries                                               Swimming towel

Optional extras:

Camera                                               Gaiters

Binoculars                                           Walking poles

 

Price – POQ : Email allan@bidstonecottages.co.za

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Karen Jenkinson
Karen Jenkinson
2023-10-11
Allan is the most amazing host. He communicated all the time keeping us up to date regarding the weather seeing that this is an area with difficult access roads. We were received with freshly baked cake and tea. He made us the most scrumptious pizzas and answered all our questions regarding the area. He assisted with ingredients for us to have a farm breakfast and treated us with a cooked meal the second evening by Rosie the in-house cook! This is a beautiful establishment with amazing views and no disturbance from the outside world. Rooms are clean and comfortable and spacious
Lizanne Rudolph
Lizanne Rudolph
2023-10-04
Home away from home with the most hospitable, wonderful hosts. Nothing was too much trouble and the homemade pizzas were next level. Well done Julz and Alan. Will definitely be back!!
Willem Rudolph
Willem Rudolph
2023-09-30
Allan and Julz - a dynamic couple who spare no effort to make you feel completely at home - what an awesome experience - rated by everyone in our group as THE highlight of our entire trip around Lesotho. You guys rock...and the pizza dinner is THE BEST we have ever had. We will be back 🙂
Daniel Rudolf
Daniel Rudolf
2023-09-25
This place is incredible! So good that I've decided to use Google ratings for the first time. They made us feel like family and truly made it a once In a lifetime experience. Thank you guys!
Kelly Rother
Kelly Rother
2023-09-02
We spent a night at Bidstone as a stopping point on our roadtrip, and wish we had planned to stay longer. The property is truly special, set in the most beautiful location and with incredibly welcoming hosts. Would highly recommend, and I look forward to returning one day again.
Lee Van Munster
Lee Van Munster
2023-07-12
Heaven on earth
Marlene Pienaar
Marlene Pienaar
2023-07-11
A fabulous, freezing cold breakaway with our 5 teenagers at cosy Bidstone, with hikes galore, special bushman paintings, snowy mountaintops, beer, pizza (enough for hungry boys), a 50th special dinner and of course Alan, who knows just how. A 5-star experience!
Carl Sparg
Carl Sparg
2023-05-17
Great beer, food, hosts and location. I can't recommend it enough!! As a bonus, I learned a lot about meat. Go and disappear into the mountains for for a few days, you won't regret it.
Oliver Steynor
Oliver Steynor
2023-03-29
This is a unique experience - you really won't find this kind of thing anywhere else in the world. Pizza, beer, gin are just a start. From the moment you arrive you are treated as friends. Allan and Jules are excellent hosts. We stayed at Bidstone for only 2 out our 5 nights in the area but Allan actually looked after our group of intrepid mountain runners for the duration of our stay - nothing is too much for him! Thanks Allan and Jules - we will be back. I can't recommend this spot more, for a time away from the city. Whatever your interests, you will be sure to be enthralled and entertained!