The Bald Ibis hiking trail is about 3km's from Swinburne in the eastern Free State. It is located on one of the most beautiful and renowned landmarks in the Free State namely Rensburgkop. This mountain butts out of the north eastern Free State landscape with massive sandstone kranzes moulded on the sides. Rensburgkop is not only known for its unique location but was also the site where the television drama, ‘The Mountain’ was filmed based on a true story.
The Bald Ibis hiking trail offers a two-day backpacking trail and two day trail option from the base camp. Fit hikers would be able to hike the trail in one day, however, hikers and nature lovers would take time to enjoy the beauty of this exceptional trail of the Free State.
Two day trail: . 2nd day – 9 km. Day trails: 3 and 5 hours respectively.
Location of trail: 3 km from Swinburne near Van Reenen.
The two day, 27 km hike is now classified as a 'wilderness trail' because the markers are not visible anymore and a GPS is required in order to complete the trail. The accommodation for the first night is in a barn filled with bunk beds along with hot showers and flushing toilets. The accommodation for the second night is a little bit more basic, in fact you will be sleeping in the Twin Caves. There are beds and braais at the site.
Day one (17.7km) is a tough hike but you are rewarded with unparalleled views from a mountain top and with the much shorter and easier route on day two (9km). You can look forward to spotting some San rock art paintings along the way.
Less than 2km from the base camp is a vulture restaurant with its natural hide. Raptors that breed on the mountain include Cape vultures, crown and black eagles while bald ibis and abdim storks are plentiful. There is abundant endemic game. The flora is very similar to the Drakensberg ecological zones. Of the most majestic yellowwood trees, that have been seen on Free State hiking rails, are found here.
For the more energetic hiker, the climb towards the Beacon on Rensburgkop is a view not to be missed. The sheer rock faces of this mountain will appeal to most mountaineers and abseilers, while more adventurous hikers will be able to enjoy some rock climbing in William’s gorge.
The Bald Ibis trails will appeal to all hikers – from the hiker who prefers a base camp and shorter trails to the hiker who prefers to backpack and sleep out, especially in a cave. The Bald Ibis trail is ideal for informal conferences and to build team spirit. Catering on request. Explore the onsite curioshop and farm pub.
How to get thereSwinburne, Free State