Things to Do in Oorlogskloof

Running Trails

The Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve boasts an extensive network of gravel roads and hiking trails, all tailor-made for adventurous off-road runners. At nearly 5 000ha, it demands more than a single day of exploration, though. Select from three-day hikes, or any combination of the two mind-blowing multi-day hiking routes. 

©Jacques Marais
Technical terrain for adventurous runners in the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.

Both the route configurations total 52 km and you can expect to negotiate seriously technical and strenuous terrain along the way. I would rate it on par or more difficult than extreme races such as the Otter African Trail Run, especially when considering the remoteness of the area and the extreme temperatures. Hydration is of extreme importance here, and you should keep a constant lookout for snakes and loose rocks.

Mountain Biking Route

©Jacques Marais
Mountain biking routes allow you to explore the Quiver Tree Forest in Oorlogskloof.

Although you cannot mountain bike in Oorlogskloof itself, most of the roads leading to the reserve promise excellent gravel-road cranking. Other challenging routes await, especially if you care to explore the Quiver Tree Forest roads, or the tracks at Papkuilsfontein south of town.

Here you can bomb along rocky jeep tracks leading to the highest point of the kloof for breathtaking views of the Papkuilsfontein waterfall, plunging 180 m into the Oorlogskloof gorge. The 50 km route to Rondekop is a must in spring when you will be cranking through a floral wonderland.

Hiking Trails

©Jacques Marais
Off-road outing, hiking in Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.

There are three one-day circular hikes: 15.5 km Leopard Trap Day Hike (6–9 hours), 17.9 km Rietvlei Day Hike (7–10 hours) and the 5.2 km Saaikloof Day Hike (2–3 hours).

All of these make for an excellent off-road outing in terrain best described as ‘biblical’. Go big on the Rameron Pigeon Trail, one of two multi-day options to choose from; the duration of the hike depends on your fitness level, and the 50 km-plus trail can take between four and seven days to complete.

The Rock Pigeon Hiking Trail is slightly longer in distance, but the less challenging terrain means it can easily be hiked in five days. An above average level of fitness is required to complete these trails, and booking is essential.

By Jacques Marais