In the Lowveld between the towns of Sabie and Hazyview, the R536 hides more than just the Sabie River
Words and Pictures: Sue Adams
1. On Foot
The 14km Matumi Walking Trail begins at Sabie Valley Coffee Shop at the confluence of the Sabie, Mac Mac and Sabaan rivers. Follow the track upstream under a canopy of indigenous forest that includes matumi trees.
Whether you prefer a major hike or short stroll, the bird life is prolific and you might be lucky enough to spot red duiker. In summer there is some great swimming and bum sliding. When you return to the coffee shop, tuck in to a great lunch, or coffee and chocolate cake under the trees.
There are also golf courses in the area that will keep you on your toes:
- The 18-hole Sabie River Bungalows Golf Course at the Sabi River Sun (pictured) a few kilometres from Hazyview is famous for its many water hazards as well as its hippo and croc spectators. (013 737 4600, www.tsogosunhotels.com).
- Kruger Park Lodge has a 9-hole course outside Hazyview on the road to Kruger. Watch out for cheeky vervet monkeys and warthogs on the greens (013 737 5000, www.krugerparklodge.co.za).
- Lions Rock Golf Lodge is 7km along the R536 from Hazyview and has a fun 9-hole mashie course (083 273 4288, www.lionsrock.co.za).
- Sabie Country Club has a picturesque, challenging 9-hole course set on the outskirts of Sabie town (013 764 2282, www.sabiegolf.com).
2. On Bikes of all Kinds
I was once told there are two types of people – those who cycle and those who ride motorbikes and “ne’er the twain shall meet”. But in the Sabie River Valley there is space for bikers of all types, including quad bikers.
For all cyclists, this is heaven. Mountain bikers who want a guide to show them the mountains and mud of this valley, Induna Adventures (013 737 8308, www.indunaadventures.com) knows the valley inside out. Quad biking is a good halfway option for those who want to explore but aren’t fit enough to cycle the mountains. Again, Induna Adventures offers guided trails through indigenous forests and blue gum plantations, stopping at scenic spots and waterfall viewpoints. Be prepared to get muddy.
For motorbikers, the famous ‘22’ (22km stretch along the R536) is one of the iconic rides in South Africa, which bikers from across the world arrive to do. The 66 bends in the first 22km from Sabie towards Hazyview make this a particularly special ride and the challenge is to try to not use your brakes. The Woodsman restaurant in Sabie (013 764 2015) welcomes all bikers and will give advice if needed.
3. In the Air
The area is all the more spectacular explored by air. In a helicopter with Seasons in Africa (013 750 2358, www.seasonsinafrica.com)or Sunrise Aviation (013 744 9254, www.sunriseaviation.co.za) you can swoop over the waterfalls and gorges, skirt the edge of the escarpment, see God’s Window from a different angle and land on a cliff edge for a picnic.
For a more intimate and close-up view take a flight with Wally van Welie (083 259 6469) in his microlight. There is a small airstrip at Hazyview and you can choose how long you wish to fly for and where to go. There is nothing better than hippo spotting along the Sabie River in the evening light. Those who don’t want to have their feet too far from the ground can do a 1.2km aerial cable trail through the forest canopy of the valley. Skyway Trails (013 737 6747, www.skywaytrails.com).
*See all 7 of our Secrets of the Sabie River Valley in the July 2014 edition of COUNTRY LIFE…