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Dargle Discovery Slackpacker

3 Day / 3 Night Slackpacking Hike - Midlands, KZN

The Dargle Discovery is a 3-day slack packing hike encompassing some of the best of the KZN Midland's hidden gems. Traversing privately owned land in conservancies otherwise not accessible to the public, the area is renowned for its rich biodiversity and high level of endemism. The ever-changing landscapes include highly threatened Mist-Belt Forest, Afro-Montane grassland, rolling farmlands and challenging summits.

The upper Dargle/Impendle area, although part of the Midlands, is also considered the start of the mighty Drakensberg Escarpment, and this hike combines rugged berg hiking with the luxury of Midlands comforts. Given the variety of different ecological niches, the Dargle valley is home to over 200 species of birds including the rare Cape Parrot and White-winged Starling. Due to the prioritised protection status of this area, it is not uncommon to find highly specialised animals like the elusive Samango monkeys playing in the Cape Chestnut trees, or some of the successfully reintroduced rock dassies sunbathing by the forest fringe. Blue duiker, oribi and mountain reedbuck are frequent visitors too.

Every season also brings its own display of floral delights including Aloes, Kniphofia (red hot pokers), Gladiolus, Hypoxis, Watsonia, Brungsvigia (river lilies) and Wahlenbergia (bell flowers).

Some steep ascents and off-cambre grassy trails, makes this hike challenging at times.

As with the Karkloof Falls2Falls, 10% of profit proceeds will go towards local conservation projects.






TOUR - AT A GLANCE


Trip Duration Standard Tour: 3 Hike days / 3 Nights - with shorter and longer variations
Daily Distances Day 1: 7-10 km     Day 2: 18 km     Day 3: 14 km   
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3: A fair level of fitness is required
Technicality Grade 3-4:  cleared paths, but also some off-camber grassy trails (relatively well maintained), and a few vertical up and down sections.
Trail Terrain The terrain varies between well maintained yellowwood forest logging paths, stone terraced paths, mountain paths, ravine trails and rocky ridge.
Accommodation Farm stays & 2-3 star equivalent B&B's and rustic farm style lodges.
Logistic Support This is a fully-catered and vehicle supported trail, sleeping in comfortable farm cottages and guestfarms. The trail is fully guided
Tour Highlights Comfortable lodges, log-fires and healthy, local and ethically sourced country cuisine, spectacular 360 degree panoramic views of the Dargle and Lidgetton Valley, challenging summits, flower spotting and ancient Yellowwood forests
Other Activities Birding, Flyfishing and Wild Flowers, Horse-Riding, Mountain Biking, Midlands Meander Art and Crafts
Fauna & Flora This highly endangered and fragmented Mist-Belt grassland and forest region is considered by the World Conservation Union to be part of the 5 rich floral regions in Africa. It boasts a wide selection of special trees and plants including ancient Yellowwoods, Lemonwood, Red Stink Wood and Cape Chestnuts. Grassland flower displays a splash of seasonal colour and include Gladiolus, Watsonia, Snake Lily, Orchids and Candelabra Flowers. Good chance of seeing ungulates – oribi, reedbuck, Grey duiker. Other mammals include Samango monkeys, jackal, porcupine, serval and rock and tree dassie's also often seen.
Climate The relative altitude has a moderating effect on summer temperature with day time temperatures seldom exceeding 30 degrees C. Summer nights can be cool > 15 degrees C. The rainy season is in Summer ( November to February).

Winter days are warm and dry, often above 20 degree C with night temperatures 1-10 Degrees C. Occasionally there is a small scattering of snow in surrounding higher altitude areas

Seasonality & Best Time Year

All year round. In late Spring and Summer, light mist and drizzle is to be expected. Whilst days are shorter in winter because the weather is more stable and pleasantly warm. Spring and Summer are the best months for wild flowers. March–May and Sept–Nov are particularly good months for hiking. No scheduled hikes are planned in the winter months when they burn the grasslands (June to August)

Group Size Preferred minimum of 2 persons & maximum 12-14 persons per group.
Price / PP Price varies based on group size, but indicative price for the 3 Day/3 Night trip is as follows:

4 Persons: R5100/pp
8-10 Persons: R4600/pp

Price Includes
  • 3 Guided Hike Days - professional local guide
  • 3 Nights Accommodation in 2-3 Star B&B's and cottages (per person sharing basis)
  • All Meals: 3 Dinners, 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches
  • Vehicle Back-up Support
  • Trail & Reserve permits
  • Transfer back to where vehicles have been left
  • 10% donation to local conservation projects