Magoebaskloof, Woodbush Hiking Trail - 5 night (with slackpacking option)
Things to keep in mind
The trails are laid out on the forestry estate, but most of the walking is through magnificent sub-tropical, indigenous forest, over craggy ravines and alongside cascading waterfalls, pristine mountain streams, rivers and dams.
The summers can be misty and rainy (rainfall occurs mainly between October and March) but be prepared for rain at any time of the year. Temperatures range from 15.3°C to 19.2°C with higher temperatures in the lower-lying areas.
From Gauteng, take the N1 North towards Polokwane (Pietersburg). Turn off at the R71 to Tzaneen and drive for about 70km. Follow the signposts to the Woodbush Plantation. Turn left from the R71 onto a gravel road (also marked Houtbosdorp). The signpost says: Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail (Woodbush Entrance). Follow the signpost to the Woodbush Hut.
Notice boards and symbol signs on Safcol/ Komatiland property must be obeyed.
Vehicles may be left only at points indicated on the map as parking areas and are left at own risk.
You may start your hiking tour only at an official starting point and may stay overnight only in overnight spots provided for this purpose.
No reservation will be accepted for either hut if the party does not intend to use the trail.
A hiker may use only one mattress and one sleeping bunk in a hut.
Hiking is allowed only in the direction indicated on the map.
No pets, riding or pack animal is allowed on hiking trails.
No hiker may deviate from the marked route, even though it could differ from that indicated on the map.
No litter, refuse or empty containers shall be discarded on MTO property. Please make use of the refuse containers specifically provided for this purpose.
Plants, trees, rocks or works along the hiking trail must not be tampered with or damage by carving, scratching or marking. Wildlife and vegetation may not be disturbed or removed.
Any hiker must leave the hiking trail and overnight spot in an orderly condition.
Any hiker uses a hiking trail and facilities at his/her own risk.
The use of fires is prohibited, except in places specifically provided for this purpose. PLEASE NOTE: Fires in designated fire-places may be prohibited by Safcol/Komatiland for specified periods. Fires may not be left unattended and must be extinguished after use.
Any hiker shall be liable for any damage to farm and forest products and other property along the route of the hiking trail that may be caused by fire or otherwise a result of any act on the hiker’s part.
Safcol/Komatiland may, as it thinks fit, cancel a hiking trip at short notice: Provided that Safcol/Komatiland is not liable for any compensation, with exclusion of money paid for reservations in respect of any loss or inconveniences allegedly suffered by a hiker as result of such cancellation.
Should a hiker for any reason find himself/ herself in difficulty and call for help or should someone else on his/her behalf call for help, he/she or his /her parents/guardians (in case of a minor) or estates will be held responsible for the cost involved in providing the help.
Mechanical vehicles/ power bikes of any description are strictly prohibited on Safcol/Komatiland properties
All jeep-tracks on the trails have been constructed for management purposes and are strictly closed to the public, except for walking.
Preparation for sore muscles (e.g. Fastum gel, Voltarin gel)
Salt tablets (fruit salts)
Antiseptic cream for blisters
Mentholated spirits for blisters
Needle, thread, safety-pins
Insect repellent (those that contain Deet are best)
Keep all clothing and food in plastic bags to protect it from rain.
The weight of the backpack should not exceed 1/3 of the weight of the hiker.
The best backpacks will have padded shoulder straps and a belt to distribute the weight evenly on your hips.
Vacuum packed meat lasts about 2 days.
Take enough water bottles, especially in summer. Fill them before leaving a water point.
Day 1: Arrival at Woodbush Hut
Arrive at Woodbush Hut and relax for the afternoon.
Day 2: Woodbush Hut to Broederstroom Hut - 15 km
The trail crosses two plantation roads below the Woodbush Hut.
Take the incline through the pine plantation, cross several streams to reach an indigenous forest.
Continue through the indigenous forest, cross several plantation roads and streams and go through sections of pine plantation. (You may find this beautiful section to be rather steep.)
Continue through oak trees to reach the Dap Naude picnic area where you can take a well-deserved rest before facing the last steep climb past the Dam Naude dam wall.
Continue your ascent along the dam.
Cross several small streams and continue through a pine plantation until you reach the plantation road.
The road leads straight to the Broederstroom Hut.
Day 3: Broederstroom Hut to De Hoek Hut - 16.5 km
This section of the trail starts below the Broederstroom Hut.
Walk between the oak trees to reach the plantation road.
Turn right onto the plantation road and through the swamp cypress trees. (Lady Phillips and Audrey Eastwood, daughter of the first forester, planted 20 of these pyramid-shaped, deciduous conifers with their fine feathery foliage.)
Turn left and follow the winding trail towards a pine plantation.
Walk between the oak trees before crossing the plantation road.
You come to large, slanting rocks that must be negotiated very carefully, using the chains that are provided for support. (The stunning view over the Grootbosch makes the effort well worthwhile.)
Continue through an indigenous forest, crossing various streams, until you reach pine trees.
Carry on along the plantation road, through sections of pine trees.
Walk along the banks of the Dokolewa stream until you can see the Dokolewa Pools Hut. (Tree ferns can be found all along this section.)
Cross the wooden bridge that leads to the Dokolewa Pools Hut.
Walk over the veranda at the Dokolewa Pools Hut, past the lapa.
Continue on the plantation road to the De Hoek Hut signpost on your right.
Turn right and take the short, rather steep incline.
Cross two gravel roads before the De Hoek Hut comes into view.
Day 4: De Hoek Hut to Woodbush Hut - 8.4 km
Start behind the De Hoek Hut.
Cross two gravel roads and continue on the trail as it slants down towards the Dokolewa Pools Hut.
At the third gravel road, turn left to the Dokolewa Pools Hut.
Walk past the lapa at the Dokolewa Pools Hut, over the veranda.
Turn right and cross over the wooden bridge.
The winding trail goes all along the Dokolewa stream. Cross the stream at various places by means of wooden bridges. (Steps have been placed on the inclines for your convenience.)
Continue through sections of Helsche indigenous forest and pine plantations.
Cross the Forest Drive plantation road as you continue climbing.
You come to a T-junction with a signpost showing left to the Seepsteen Stables Hut and right to the Woodbush Hut.
Turn right and take the last uphill towards the Woodbush Hut.
Pass the little cement dam to the Woodbush Hut on your left.