Trail Details

6 Day 5 Night Amatola Trail

Day 1

Maden Dam - Gwiligwili Hut (11km)

Day 1 is the easiest and shortest day of the whole trail, and the only day you don’t need to set off at Daybreak. Get our shuttle to Maden dam and then you climb 700m on the first day. You climb through the Pirie indigenous forest and leave the world behind for 6 days of bliss. You will notice what looks like fresh dog poo everywhere, don’t panic, it's digested soil from giant earthworms and they often grow to 1m in length and the largest in the world was found nearby measuring 3.2m. Gwiligwili Hut is perched on top of a hill with views forever and an excellent separate braai area and lovely hot showers.

Day 2

Gwiligwili Hut - Dontsa Hut (18 or 19.6km)

Day 2 looks a relatively easy day as you traverse through indigenous forest the entire distance with the Keiskammahoek valley below, but don’t be fooled. It’s a long day of undulations which can be exhausting for the less than fit. Dontsa hut is in one of the few patches of pine plantation that you will pass through. Pine on one side and indigenous forest on the other. It is simpler than the other huts but cosy and inviting with a wonderful fireplace, hot shower and an impressive waterfall below it.

Day 3

Dontsa Hut - Cata Hut (16.8 or 19km)

This is a very long tough day, with lots and lots of outstanding views to make up for it. For the first time you leave the forest behind as the trail ascends to the plateau, where macchia grassland and a myriad of wildflowers grow. Be careful of the waterfall at the 4km point if there has been any rain. You can either summit Doornkop or go through the Hovald forest and then descend through the Waterfall forest or stay on the contour before you reach Cata Hut.

Day 4

Cata Hut - Mnyameni Hut (13.5km)

The 2nd shortest day starts with a 600m steep ascent to Geju peak(1880m) the highest point reached on the trail. There is an alternate route which bypasses the peak if it is misty but if not the awesome views are worth the extra sweat. After 8km in the open you begin the steep descent into Mnyameni gorge and the Malan forest. A good day to relax and swim in the many rock pools in Mnyameni gorge as you have more time than the other longer days. Mnyameni Hut is the most isolated hut and doesn’t have running water at present, but there is a stream 10m away where you can wash and drink (not in that order).

Day 5

Mnyameni Hut - Zingcuka Hut (18,2 km)

Another tough day with the trail rising and falling 400m. There are many swimming places on this day so get a really early start to make the most of them. Most of the day is out in the open except the last few kilometres through the dense wolf river forest, so the pools are warmer and more inviting than usual. Zingcuka hut is truly special and has a donkey boiler to ease those tired bones.

Day 6

Zingcuka - Tyume River (15 km)

The last day begins with another series of fantastic waterfalls in the Schwarzwald forest before a long ascent of 800m to the main Hogsback peak (1845m) and then descending into the Tyume river basin and the end of the trail. You can easily walk the 3km to Hogsback to Away with the Fairies. This is another very long tough day, but the views from Hog 1 and the indigenous forest to finish off the trail are absolutely incredible.

2 Day 1 Night Zingcuka Loop

From Hogsback - Zingcuka - Hogsback. This is a great opportunity to do a longer hike than a day hike, but without the time constraints of the full 6 day hike.

We have 2 options

Day 1


A WORLD CLASS DAYS HIKING. Harder than any of the 6 days of the main Amatola Trail you have to set off from Away with the Fairies very early and walk along Wolf Ridge Road to the end point of the 6 day trail just past Madonna and Child. Follow the stream up a steep path and hike between Hog 1 and Hog 2 Mountains. Follow the footprints to meet up with Day 5 of the Amatola Trail, following the stream to waterfalls and swimming holes. Then you walk along the edge of a precarious cliff path with breath-taking views and then down an incredibly steep precipice to the Indigenous Forest and onto the Zingcuka Hut to overnight.

This day is around 22km, and very strenuous, through intense terrain and at high altitude. It must only be undertaken by fit and well prepared hikers. Once you start there is no option of being pulled out, it's impossible due to its remoteness.

Beginner / Bad Weather

You leave from Away with the Fairies, hike through the Auckland Nature Reserve, then around two contour paths with valley views, then down a forestry road through Eucalyptus and then indigenous forest to get to the Zingcuka hut. Spend the night at Zingcuka Hut in the indigenous forest.

This route keeps a low altitude so avoids the worst of any inclement weather, while it is also easy to pull out most of the way around if there is injury.

Day 2

Day 2 is the final day of the 6 day trail. Set off as early as you can, low in the indigenous forest at Zingcuka Hut and work your way up the back of Hog 1 Mountain. You skirt the side of the peak of the mountain then work your way down the face. The views are unbelievable. You find yourself following a stream down a steep mountain pass with its many waterfalls and swimming pools to the end of the 6 day trail. Those staying at Away with the Fairies, if they have time, may opt to hike through the Auckland Nature Reserve visiting Madonna and Child, Bridal Veil and Swallow Tail Waterfalls and The Big Tree to end up at the hostel. This makes a big days hiking huge. Alternatively follow Wolfridge Road back into Hogsback.

This is a long days hike too, over high altitude prone to adverse weather conditions and with a lot of hard hiking both up and down a mountain.

Beginner / Bad Weather Option

Once you are on the advanced trail there is no exit other than the beginning or the end of the trail. If the weather is bad on either Day 1 or Day 2 then the Beginner / Bad Weather option mentioned above is advised, even if you do it both days (day 2 in reverse from Zingcuka to Hogsback).

Both day 1 and day 2 are in high altitude (apart from the beginner / Bad Weather option) and will be in clouds if the weather is bad, so both days should only be attempted in perfect weather conditions. Both days are also extremely strenuous so should only be attempted by people with a reasonable level of fitness, with suitable hiking gear and carrying all their supplies.

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4 February 2018

Away With the Fairies Backpackers Hogsback shared a Page.

If anyone fancies doing the best hiking trail in South Africa!!!

28 December 2017

Away With the Fairies Backpackers Hogsback added an event.

Away With the Fairies Backpackers is inviting everyone to join in the festivities by hosting a Leopard print toga party! Bring your own toga or buy a Leopard print toga for R50 plus entrance in to a lucky draw for a bottle of Tequila :)

6 December 2017

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2 December 2017

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A couple of snaps of our world famous bathtub with it's amazing view

23 November 2017

Away with the Fairies is looking for a new Head Fairy to start immediately. If anyone is looking for a management job in the most beautiful place on earth then email me The job involves a lot of admin, guest relations, having fun, managing our lovely staff, emails etc etc.

18 September 2017

It's spring and beautiful! Festival of trees and SpringFest coming up from this weekend and we are offering a 50%, yes 50% discount on CAMPING rates to ALL festival goers. Dust off your camping equipment and join in the celebrations!