Going away may be ideal for relaxing, but this does not mean your daily run should fall by the wayside. Some of our national parks have the perfect day trail options, allowing you to combine your run with beautiful surroundings…
*None of the listed routes exceeds 11km.
1. Black Eagle Trail – Mountain Zebra National Park
Situated within the rest camp, the short 2.5km Black Eagle Trail will challenge your legs. It starts at the swimming pool and wind up the mountain where it offers a good view of the rest camp. Watch your step when coming down as the track is narrow and steep at times.
2. Blue Duiker Trial – Garden Route National Park
“This is a favourite of mine at the Storms River Mouth,” says avid trail runner and SANParks Freshwater Conservation scientist Dr Dirk Roux. This 3.7km long trail starts with a steep climb and then winds through thick forest. Need more of a challenge? Combine it with the Waterfall Trail for an extra 6km. This section is technical and requires rock hopping, but you can cool down with a swim at the waterfall.
This relatively easy 7km trail requires climbing over slippery rocks. You will get to explore the park’s unique geography by first leading you along the gorge at Arrow Point before heading to the Potholes and Moonrock. This circular trail returns via the rest camp.
4. Gideon Scheepers Trail – Camdeboo National Park
The start of this 5km trail is near the Nqweba Dam wall and will start with an uphill straight from the word go. The area is relatively rocky but once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with scenic views of the surroundings. It takes approximately an hour as a hike, but running it should cut this down significantly.
5. Heaviside Hiking Trail – Namaqua National Park
This 6km trail starts at the Abjoel viewing deck 15km north of the Groen River office. The route will take you down a dune, rocky coastal section and a long white beach. Look out for humpback whales and Heaviside dolphins. This is not a circular route.
6. Tree Dassie Trail – Addo Elephant National Park
You will find this 7km trail in the Alexandria Forest in the Woody Cape section. This route offers a steep uphill of about 1km along the route. Keep your eyes open for bushbuck and the Knysna turaco in the lush green forest.
7. Zuurberg Trails – Addo Elephant National Park
There are two options, but the longer 8km option will take you up a steep hill, over a few river crossings and beautiful scenery. Look out for the park’s rescued cycads along the way.
8. Wodehouse Trail – Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Make sure you are fit before tackling this one. It covers approximately 10km and there are several peaks to ascend, followed by steep descends that will work your knees. The scenery makes the challenging uphill sections worth it.
9. Blue Crane Trail – Bontebok National Park
Walking and running, is recommended in South Africa’s smallest national park. There are a number of trails great for running, but this 10km mountain biking option is ideal for a run. It can get muddy in certain sections of the trail.
10. Silvermine East – Table Mountain National Park
Silvermine East offers a few possibilities. For a good workout, start from Muizenberg or Kalk Bay along Boyes Drive. After the climb, you will be rewarded with a view over False Bay. There are a number of turn-offs to choose from which include summiting Muizenberg peak, cooling down in Junction Pool and heading to Muizenberg Cave. The distance depends on how far you go, but can easily cover 10km.
11. Two Oceans Trail – Agulhas National Park
Run along the southernmost point of Africa via the Two Oceans Trail. Spanning over 10.5km, this circular sandy trail takes you to the top of Sandberg where you can enjoy views of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans from a higher vantage point. The trail is relatively challenging, but there are options to turn back quicker for a shorter run.
To keep in mind:
- Apart from the daily conservation fee, there are no additional charges to access any of these trails.
- Always take enough water with on your run and make sure you wear sun block and a hat.
- For your safety, never run alone or inform others when you are expected back.
- The Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transforntier Park does not have any day trails, but you can easily run in the park.
- Tankwa Karoo National Park doesn’t have trails, but running is allowed while the West Coast National Park has trails accessible during flower season. Running is also permitted.
Written by René de Klerk – SANParks Times Reporter
Pictures: René de Klerk, Peter Kirk, Jacques Marais, Petro Kotzé and Eric Reisinger
Content courtesy of SANParks Times: www.sanparkstimes.co.za