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.
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.
Try to keep the weight of your pack as low as possible
- Strong Hiking Pack
- 2 hiking Sticks (optional but a great help)
- Good hiking boots
- Lots of socks for crossing the streams
- Sleeping bag
- All-weather jacket
- Clothes for very hot, very cold, very wet, very dry weather (sometimes all at once)
- Hat, Sunscreen, buff, sun / rain / weather protection
- Medical Stuff (Blister plasters, bandages, painkillers, anti-inflammatories etc)
- Gas Burner and Bottles (optional but great in wet weather)
- Hiking Mug, Plate, Cutlery and Cooking utensils
- Multi tool is very handy
- Head lamp
- All food and other goodies for the whole duration of your hike (preferably dehydrated food, rice, pasta, packets of tuna, energy bars etc)
- Cell phone for emergencies
- Matches or lighter and firelighters