Hiking in Malolotja - One Day Trails

Difficulty: Graded from A = easy to E=very strenuous

  1. Upper Malolotja Trail


    Distance: 6.5 km Duration: 3 hours Difficulty: B
    1a. She Mine Extention
    Distance: 7 kms Duration: 3 hours Difficulty: A
    Lovely walking country excellent for game viewing. Not as strenuous as the other trails.
    Game: Mountain Reedbuck, Red Hartebeest, Eland, Grey Rhebok, Oribi, Blesbok, Zebra, Warthog and Aardwolf. Cape clawless otter along the river.
    Birds: Grassland and riverine species on the lower slopes. Species associated with rocky hillsides on the upper slopes and woodland birds near the camp and along the river.
    Flora: Highveld grassland flora throughout.
    Geology: Quartzites on the rocky upper ridges, talc schists (soapstone) in the valley. These are rich in minerals e.g. gold at the She Mine, quartz, cassiterite and pyrites.
     
  2. Upper Malolotja Falls Trail


    Distance: 8 km Duration: 5-7 hours Difficulty: B
    Game: Motly on the gentle slopes of the upper Malolotja Valley. Blesbok, Eland, Red hartebeest, Zebra, Grey Rhebok, Mountain Reedbuck, Oribi, Warthog, Black-backed Jackal.
    Flora: Highveld grassland species.
    Geology: Hard resistant quartzite and conglomerates, and talc schists in the upper Malolotja Valley.
     
  3. Malolotja Falls Trail


    Distance: 11.5 km Duration: 5 – 8 hours Difficulty: D
    One of the most impressive trails in the park. Spectacular views of Malolotja and Majolomba Falls and Silotfwane Mountain. The descent to the river is steep and rocky, so good walking shoes are essential, as is a reasonable degree of fitness. This trail is not recommended for families with young children.
    Game: Blesbok, mountain reedbuck, zebra, red hartebeest, black-backed jackal, warthog, baboon and porcupine on the upper slopes. Red duiker in the woodlands and Cape clawless otter along the river.
    Flora: Large Barberton cycads grow beside the trail and on the steep rocky gorge sides above Malolotja Falls. Flora of middleveld and highveld ranging from grassland to riverine forest.
    Geology: Hard resistant quartzites and conglomerates along the whole trail except below the Silotfwane Viewpoint where the trail follows a dolerite dyke.
     
  4. Maphandakazi Trail


    Distance: 13.5 km Duration: 7-10 hours Difficulty: D
    A long day’s hike but most of the trail is gentle and walking is easy.
    Game: Blesbok, mountain reedbuck, zebra, red hartebeest, black-backed jackal, warthog, baboon and porcupine on the upper slopes. Red duiker in the woodlands and Cape clawless otter along the river.
    Flora: Highveld grassland, riverine forest, protea woodland on the rocky upper slopes.
    Geology: Quartzites and conglomerates all the way.
     
  5. Silotfwane Mountain Trail


    Distance: 17 km Duration: 7-10 hours Difficulty: E
    Do not attempt this long and steep trail unless you are reasonably fit and have a full day to do it in. The reward for your efforts is great though, with tremendous views across Swaziland, into Mozambique and South Africa.
    Game: Zebra, blesbok, grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, baboon Flora: Montane grasslands, Protea woodland and riverine forest.
    Geology: Predominantly quartzites, and iron rich sandstones interbedded with conglomerates, especially below Silotfwane Mountain. The trail follows a dolerite dyke below Silotfwane Viewpoint.
     
  6. Silotfwane Viewpoint Trail


    Distance: 6 km Duration: 3-4 hours Difficulty: C
    A magnificent trail encompassing part of the Malolotja Valley. Tremendous mountain scenery. A strenuous walk, not recommended for families with young children.
    Game: Red hardebeest, zebra, black-backed jackal, warthog, baboon, Cape clawless otter and oribi.
    Flora: Highveld grassland through protea woodland down to riverine woodland and reed beds.
    Geology: The whole trail is on quartzite and interbedded conglomerates cut by a dolerite dyke on the downhill path and by the camp.
  1. Mbulukudvu Trail


    Distance: 10.5 km Duration: 5 – 7 hours Difficulty: C
    An impressive trail through a variety of scenery and vegetation. Relatively gentle gradient down to the river but a little steeper on the return. The geology and geomorphology are of particular interest.
    Fauna: Zebra, Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Baboon, Narina Trogon in the forest.
    Flora: Mbulukudvu valley is sheltered and distinctly middleveld in atmosphere. The Aloe marlothii are impressive here. The trail drops from highveld grassland to open woodland.
    Geology: Predominantly quartzites with quartz micaceous schists in the lower Mbulukudvu Valley. There are soapstones and a small dolerite exposure before Mbulukudvu Camp. The upper section of the Mbulukudvu Valley has an intrusion of ampibiolitic rocks running parallel to the edge of the granite. The river flows between the two rock types until it makes a sharp turn north-west to cut a gorge through the quartzite.
     
  2. Upper Mahulungwane Falls Trail


    Distance: 7 kms Duration: 4 – 5 hours Difficulty: C
    A fairly easy trail but extreme caution must be exercised at the Falls. Please do not litter this wonderful site.
    Fauna: Black-backed jackal, warthog, grey duiker.
    Flora A good variety from highveld grassland with scattered trees in rocky outcrops, down into middleveld forests.
    Birds: riverine, woodland and grassland species.
    Geology: The trail starts on granite at the viewpoint and crosses many different rock types including dolerite, quartzite, talc schists (soapstone), micaceous quartz schists, banded ironstone and conglomerates. There are some very interesting intertidal bedding structures in the quartzite above the falls.
     
  3. Lower Mahulungwane Falls Trail


    Distance: 9 km Duration: 5 – 8 hours Difficulty: D
    A magnificent trail with dramatic views of varied scenery. This walk is for the reasonably fit and not suitable for small children.
    Fauna: Warthog, Cape clawless otter, Water mongoos, Klipspringer, Baboon, Porcupine, Bald Ibix on cliffs of the Lower Mahulungwane Falls from June to October.
    Flora: Highveld grassland to riverine forest.
    Geology: Starts on granite at Nkomati Viewpoint and crosses a variety of rocks including quartzites, conglomerates, soapstone (mica schist) and phyllites.
     
  4. Nkomati River Trail


    Distance: 8 km Duration: 4 - 8 hours Difficulty: D
    Some quite steep sections to the trail, but well worth the effort to reach the Nkomati, which is so different from the highveld, with its middleveld atmosphere. Not suitable for families with young children.
    Fauna: Grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck, vervet monkey, baboon, oribi, warthog. Highveld to middleveld bird species.
    Flora: Highveld grassland, protea woodland, riverine forest with broad leaved trees fairly common.
    Geology: The trail starts on granite and becomes steep as it joins the rocky quartzite slope down to the camp. From the camp, the trail goes over soapstones (talc mica schists) and also a small outcrop of Serpentinite. After joining the Mahulungwane Falls Trail, the path crosses quartzites and conglomerates. The track before Nkomati Viewpoint has a dolerite dyke crossing it through the granite.
     
  5. Nkomati – Mahulungwane Falls Trail


    Distance: 11.5 km Duration: 6 – 8 hours Difficulty: D
    A very varied walk covering a large part of the park, but quite long for the inexperienced hiker. Do not drink the water from the Nkomati River as it is polluted by agricultural and industrial chemicals.
    Fauna: Grey rhebok, mountain reedbuch on the higher slopes, baboon, vervet monkey and warthog, fish eagle along the Nkomati.
    Flora: Highveld to middleveld with some lowveld species coming in along the Nkomati. The Nkomati also has a lot of exotic vegetation washed in from South Africa.
    Geology: The trail starts on granite but soon crosses onto quartzites and then soapstones (talc mica schists) at the Nkomati. The Nkomati cuts through the bedding of the rocks up the geological sequence. There are ferruginous quartzites interbedded with ironstone, but most of the trail is across quartzites and conglomerates. The green colouration to the sands of the Nkomati River is caused by the mineral chrysotile (asbestos) brought down from Msauli Mine in South Africa.

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