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TREKKING THE UMKO

3 Day/2 Night Slackpacking Trail, Umkomaas River - KZN

Looking for a great value trail within easy travelling distance of PMB or Durban? Don't expect luxury lodgings, but you'll welcome the 'slackpacking' joys of catered meals and luggage transfers, to remove the burden of a heavy pack and a fight over who carries the frozen mince?

This newly developed slackpacking trail traverses the hills and dales of the mighty Mkomazi River, known best to some, for its white water callings.

The 30km circular hiking route is done over 2.5 days, so it is an ideal getaway for a long weekend. Hiking through grasslands, valley bushveld and pockets of mistbelt forest, walkers can expect to see a wide variety of animals & birdlife, whilst the views from the top are a sight to behold.



HIKE - AT A GLANCE


Trip Duration 2.5 - 3 Hike Days & 2 Nights. Shorter options can be offered on special request.
Daily Distances

Day 1: 10.3km (Cloud 9 Climb) Day 2: 13km (Slackers Saunter)
Day 3:
6km (River Trail)

Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3/5 Moderate to good walking fitness is recommended.  Altitude gain is 570m on Day 1 – with the highest point of the trail being 1120m above sea level.
Technicality Grade 3/5 Some steep ascents (though not Drakensberg escarpment steep), river crossings & possibly some boulder hopping on the final day.
Trail Terrain The hiking trail traverses grassland, valley bushveld and riverine forest. For most parts, the trail is well established, but there are some sections where an adventurous spirit is called for.
Accommodation The hikers hut, at which you overnight both nights is very basic, but on this slackpacking trail, everything will be brought in: tables, chairs and sleeping stretchers. Bedding will be provided so you need not bring sleeping bags & there is a fireplace for those chilly winter eves.
Logistic Support Fully guided, vehicle supported trail, with all meals catered for and rustic lodgings.
Tour Highlights Day 1: The 180 degree views from the top of the ridge; the ridge descent Day 2: Pristine riverine and mistbelt forest; river views and crossings
Day 3: Fichus Pool; river amble and swimming (including cliff jumping at rapid number 1 and base camp)
Other Activities Birding, Tree identification, Fishing, Mountain biking, Paintball & Rafting in-season.
Fauna & Flora The vegetation along the Umkomaas River is predominantly grassland and valley bushveld with some pockets of mistbelt & riverine forest. Wildlife sightings could include Zebra, Wildebeest, antelope species, White-Tailed Mongoose, Small species of wild cat and the clawless otter.
Climate Average daytime temperatures in the Umkomaas Valley vary from  23 ◦C to over 40◦C in summer. In winter months, evenings can be chilly (0 - 6 degrees), but days are typically warm, between 13 ◦C and 22 ◦C.
Seasonality & Best Time Year The best time for this trail is April through to early November (winter months).  The valley really bakes during summer months, so in that case –you’d rather be ON the river, white water rafting.
Group Size Minimum of 4 persons - maximum of 15 persons per hike group.
Price / PP 4-9 Persons: R1600/per person
10+ People: R1350/per person
Price Includes
  • 2.5-3 Days Guided Hiking
  • 2 Nights Accommodation rustic hikers cabin, with bedding provided
  • All meals from lunch on arrival day to lunch on departure day (2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 3 trail lunches)
  • Vehicle Luggage transfer & River Crossing Logistics (if required)
  • Emergency back-up Support
  • Route Design, Access negotiation & Trail Fees
EXTRA's:
* Drinks - Bring your own
* Extra nights can be arranged at base camp before or after the trail approx R170 R280/pp depending on accommodation choice.

hiking in the Umkomaas valley, Kwazulu-Natal
hikers enjoy lunch & a feet wetting at the Umko river crossing