HAENERTSBURG - Located in one of South Africa's dwindling ecosystems, the Louis Changuion hiking trail takes walkers through a 240ha stretch of afromontane grasslands.
The trail has been in existence for some time, but 10 residents of Haenertsburg have taken the initiative to maintain the trail and raise awareness of the importance of grasslands.
The trail is 10km long, and usually takes about three and a half hours to complete. It travels through natural grassland and indigenous forest where many endemic and threatened plants occur. Blue Swallows, Methuen's Dwarf Gecko and the Wolkberg Zulu Butterfly have been glimpsed along the trail.
Hikers are afforded a view of the Wolkberg Wilderness area, Ebenezer Dam and the Iron Crown, and can enjoy a snack at any one of three cosy picnic spots. Two natural springs and a brook are also to be seen en route, along with some rhino rubbing rocks.
To enhance the walking experience and to help answer any questions that crop up along the way, a map of the trail along with a wildflower poster, medicinal plant booklet and an insect booklet can all be obtained in the town before starting the trail.
Also in the area, enthusiastic hikers can take in the Lesodi trail, which showcases strangler figs and a Cathedral tree. Samango monkeys, Cape parrots and the elusive Narina Trogon can all be spotted on this trail.
The Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail also meanders through the area, and offers the opportunity to take hikes that last more than a few hours.
By Melissa Wray