Fanie Botha Hiking Trail

Brief Description

Photo: Kondensmelk Productions

The Fanie Botha Trail is synonymous with the establishment of organized hiking trails in South Africa. Originally the trail was meant to be part of a whole network of trails called the National Hiking Way System stretching from the Soutpansberg in the north, all along the escarpment to the Cederberg in the Western Cape.

Photo: Metamorpho

The trail is situated in the Sabie area in Mpumalanga.  It is located on the Drakensberg escarpment and provides hikers with marvellous views over a variety of landscapes far below.

Photo: Stray Along The Way (

“As one walks along the pine plantations and indigenous forests and stand in awe at the sheer beauty of the various crystal-clear waterfalls, it becomes obvious why so many hikers describe this as the perfect hiking destination.” – SAFCOL

Photo: Stray Along The Way (

“On this trail, hikers can admire the Lone Creek and Mac Mac Falls, both national monuments, or just get carried away by the scenic grandeur of the Drakensberg escarpment.” – SAFCOL

Photo: Eric Nefdt

“There are various trail options ranging from two- to five-night trails. The trail can be started from the Ceylon, Graskop or President Burger Huts. The shortest route on this trail is 17,1km and the longest route is 58,8km.” – SAFCOL


The Fanie Botha Trail is still considered by many to be one of the best trails in South Africa and should be high on every hiker’s to-do list. It does contain its fair share of strenuous sections, so proper training beforehand is necessary to enjoy the hike fully. During summer, heat can also be a problem.

How to book

Bookings can be made through SAFCOL EcoTourism
Tel: 013-754-2724

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Hiking South Africa aims to serve and grow the South African hiking community as a central, national community resource.


  1. It was the first official* hiking trail (1973). Initial tariff was 50c p.p.p.n and it increased in the following few years to R1,50 p.p.p.n. 🙂

    Random fact: Prospectors Trail was the fourth official trail and it covered the 100th kilometre of recognised hiking trails, and also what would’ve been the National Hiking Way System.

    *The Otter Trail was actually first (1968) but it wasn’t officially recognised by the then Dept. of Forestry, as it was a SANParks development. Which means the Otter, and organised hiking in SA, turns 60 next year.

  2. Thanks for the great facts Alida! Always nice hearing a bit of history on the trails that we often take for granted.

  3. Hi there ! How do I become a member-and when the fanie botha trail be hiked again? Kind regards henry

    • Hi Henry, we don’t have an official membership – Hiking South Africa is a free community resource for the South African hiking community. We do however have a community forum which you are welcome to use and will be handy in finding out if there are other hikers doing the Fanie Botha trail:

  4. Hi thanks appreciated,I’ve just completed the otter trail,and keen to do more quality ones!

  5. Good day. Just want to hear if the route will be available in Desember. And if the lockdown regulations affect the times the route is open?

  6. Hi
    Are there accommodation along the trail or do one take a tent, sleeping bag and food with?

    • Tents are not required, as there are huts, but you need carry everything else, i.e. sleeping bag, pot, stove and food.

      You can contact SAFCOL for more info: Tel: 013-754-2724 / Email:

      • Thank you 🙂
        I have a nice trolley with thick wheels.
        I will definitely bring that along to put my sleeping bag, pot, food, gas stove and water in.
        Is there cell phone reception or should i bring my portable two way radio in case of emergency and what is the radio frequency to use in case of emergency?

  7. Is it possible to slack-pack this trail. Please send details for available dates early 2022 for 2 women

  8. Hi
    Im new in the Southern Cape.
    I’m looking for the Southern Cape equivalent of Fanie Botha Trail.
    Do you have anny recommendations?

  9. Hi everyone
    I can’t seem to get hold of safcol or komtiland
    Anyone git a different number or email address I can use?

  10. Hi. Rgarding the Fanie Botha trail, do you suggest a 4 night or 5 night option?
    Which route do you suggest to get the most out of your hike?

  11. Hey Lise, my name is Hannes, I am a mountain guide currently on a mission to explore some new routes I haven’t done before. I personally haven’t done the Fanie Botha hiking trail as of yet and am currently looking for a group to do it with. My plan is to go do the 5-day trail in February. My research suggest 5 days is the way to go but that is also dependent on your fitness level.

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