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Karkloof Falls2Falls Slackpacking Trail

2-3 Day / 2-3 Night Slackpacking hike in the KZN Midlands

Immerse oneself in the natural splendour of the KZN Midlands: waterfalls, spectacular escarpment views, or ziplining through the forest canopy, this guided hike provides contrasting scenery with new surprises each day.

From highly vulnerable mist-belt forest, serene pastoral allotments, and indigenous bushveld tree trails overlooking the mighty Umgeni valley gorge, you will be amazed at what the KZN Midlands has to offer. The birdlife is plentiful and diverse, with the chance to spot a variety of raptures and perhaps the elusive Narina Trogan

A stop at the Karkloof Conservancy’s bird hide makes for a peaceful coffee break and an opportunity to tick off all three of South Africa’s cranes including the very rare Wattled Crane. Other mammals like Reedbuck, porcupine, giraffe, zebra and the endangered Samango monkeys all share their hide-outs in the beautiful Karkloof valley.

On the third day, we trace the Umgeni Valley escarpment across pristine grasslands showered with wild flowers and shady trees to finish our journey at the legendary 95 meter Howick Falls, known to the Zulu people as KwaNogqaza, meaning "Place of the Tall One".

As a three-day trail, it is a good option for a long weekend getaway, and brings an active offering to the Midlands Meander Route.

Furthermore, 10% of all proceeds on the hike go towards local conservation projects to help preserve the natural heritage.


Trip Duration Standard Tour: 3 Hike days / 3 Nights - with shorter and longer variations
Daily Distances Day 1: 14 km     Day 2: 11 km     Day 3: 12 km   
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3: A good option for reasonably fit people
Technicality Grade 2:  the path varies from well-maintained forest paths to off the beaten trails traversing farmland and grassy plains. There are a few step sections to negotiate on the first day.
Trail Terrain Well maintained Yellowwood forest logging paths, terraced bush paths, open grass and farm land.
Accommodation Farm stays & 3-4 star equivalent B&B's and lodges.
Logistic Support This is a fully guided and catered lodge-to-lodge tour with vehicle back-up and daily luggage transfers. Return transfer (to collect own vehicles from start or finish) is included.
Tour Highlights Gliding through the forest on a canopy tour, healthy, local and ethically sourced country cuisine, dramatic views of the Karkloof valley, hidden waterfalls, world class bird hides with a chance to spot rare and special wildlife like the Wattled Crane, Midlands Dwarf chameleon Karkloof blue butterfly and Samango monkey, plenty of viewpoints for picnic lunches.
Other Activities Birding, wild Flowers Spotting, 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 flowers including Lemonwoods, Yellowwoods, Cape Chestnut, Watsonia, Clivias, wild fuchsias, pelargoniums and some endemic orchids. Other resident animals include Samango monkeys, bushbuck, dwarf chameleons, serval, zebra and giraffes.
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. Try avoid months when they burn the grasslands (June to August)

Availability: Scheduled tours will be a run a couple times a year (enquire regarding dates) otherwise private trips also avaiable.

Group Size Preferred minimum of 4 persons & maximum 10 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: R6100/pp
8-10 Persons: R5500/pp

Price Includes
  • 3 Guided Hike Days - professional local guide
  • 3 Nights Accommodation in 3-4-Star B&B's and cottages (per person sharing basis)
  • All Meals: 3 Dinners, 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches
  • Vehicle Back-up Support & Daily Luggage Transfers (point-to-point)
  • Trail & Reserve permits
  • Transfer back to where vehicles have been left
  • 10% donation to local conservancies