This is a checklist of what to pack for your Amatola Trails 6 day hike.
This is to keep weight down, so involves washing of some clothing along the way.
The items in Black are essential to bring, items in Green are optional/nice-to-have’s and the items in Blue can be shared in a group of 2 or 3.
Click here for a handy multi-day hiking checklist (printable) in PDF format
- Good quality Hiking Boots
- 3+ Pairs of thick outer socks (or more if you prefer)
- 2 Pairs of thin liner socks (or more if you prefer)
- 3+ Pairs of underwear (or more if you prefer)
- 3+ Pairs of quick drying t-shirts
- 1 Long sleeve t-shirt/thin fleece
- 1 Pair of quick drying trousers
- 1 Pair of shorts
- Thick fleece
- Knee length Gators
- Quality Rain jacket / poncho & waterproof trousers,
- Beanie, gloves and thermals (top and bottom)
- Hat (peak cap or lightweight full brim hat)
- Swimming Costume
- Tracksuit pants, t-shirt and flip-flops to wear at the hut
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Toilet paper & lightweight trowel kept in a water-tight zip-lock pack
- Biodegradable body/facewash & other personal toiletries
- Quick drying towel (or Kikoi)
- Good quality Backpack
- Backpack waterproof inner liner / black bags
- Backpack rain cover
- Pocket knife / multi-tool
- Dry-bags for sleeping bag and clothes
- R100 in a zip-lock packet
- Sunscreen, lip balm & insect repellant
- Headlamp & spare batteries
- 3 x 1-litre water bottles / bladder
- Map & compass (GPS)
- Plastic packets for rubbish
- Lots of Zip-Lock packets (to keep electronics dry and many other uses)
- Biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap &washing sponge/scourer
- Power bank & spare batteries
- Lightweight clothesline & washing pegs
- Trekking poles (walking sticks)
- Sunglasses & hard case
- Sleeping bag – expect cold nights
- Inflatable pillow (or just stuff your excess clothing
into a pillow case)
- Gas stove, gas canister & cooking pot
- 2 x Lighters in separate, water-tight locations
- Plastic plate, mug & cutlery
inflammatories (paracetamol &
- Plasters, bandage,strapping tape and gauze
- Antiseptic cream
- Antihistamine (Non-drowsy)
- Anti-chafe cream (use daily to prevent hip-chafe)
- Burn Shield
- Waterless hand soap
- Rennie Antacid
- Duct tape
- Emergency/space blanket
- Future Life or Wazoogles (ration per day)
- Seed-loaf rolls or crackers (ration per day)
- Cheese spread triangles (ration per day)
- John West tuna sachets
- Penne pasta or 2-Minute Noodles
- John West tuna sachets
- Couscous (with dried veg)
Thin liner socks help to reduce the chance of blisters.
Leave a clean set of clothes in the car for the ride back.
The food items listed are merely a guideline for lightweight non-perishables. Chop and change to taste.
If you have space (and weight) to spare, a fresh apple every day is a treat.
Guide for backpack weight: 20% of body-weight for adults (15% for children), depending on fitness and experience
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the huts like?
The huts are constantly in a changing condition and are by nature very basic. The huts have bunks with mattresses and a trellidor that locks at night, there are also braai facilities, firewood, long drop toilets and sometimes even hot running water.
Is there hot water and showers?
There is hot water at most of the huts through means of donkey boilers, but this changes regularly. There are hot showers at all the huts except Mnyameni at the time of writing this. There is a stream right next to Mnyameni (and near all the huts) where you can get water and wash.
Can I hike Alone?
I am afraid that due to the nature of the trail, intermittent cell reception and remoteness the minimum number of hikers is 3.
Is the trail safe?
Yes, the trail is very safe. You will be hiking through very very remote pristine mountains where you might not see another human being outside of your group for the full 6 days. There was an isolated incident around 4 years ago which was the first and only one in about 35 years, since the trail started. The trail is remote and very tough, so it is only for someone capable of hiking for up to 10 hours a day for 6 days consecutively.
Can Children do the hike?
The hike is very long and very tough. It is recommended that no children under the age of 14 should attempt it and that they have completed several multi day hikes previously.
When is the best time of year to do the trail?
The best time to do the Amatola Trail, in my opinion is autumn and spring. Summer can be very hot and very cold and very wet sometimes all at once, but then again it can also be absolutely perfect. Autumn and spring have less chance of the extremes. Winter is the dry season, but there is the chance of snow and the days are shorter.
Do I have to carry all my water?
No, not all. There is water all along the trail with only day 2 being a slight concern where you will need to set off with around 2 to 3 litres for the day. The water is safe to drink all along the trail. There are no villages above the trail so the water is safe to drink untreated, but if you are worried then better safe than sorry as you never know what is in the stream further up. After heavy rain the water can be very muddy, so you can filter through your clothes or bring a filter with you if the forecast is bad.
Do I have to carry all my food?
Is there porterage?
Kind of, but not really. As an extra we can drop off supplies at Dontsa (R1500) and Zingcuka (R350) huts but we don’t offer a full Slack-Packing / Porterage service. Read more here
What time do we have to start in the mornings?
I would recommend getting up before sunrise and be ready to hike by 6am. The days are long and there is lots to experience along the way. Leaving early allows you time to enjoy the places that you really love along the way.
How fit must I be?
You don’t need to be a full on athlete and hikers of all ages (14+), shapes and sizes complete the trail regularly. It does however help to be a physically active person, and be capable of hiking up to 10 hours a day on 6 consecutive days.