We are very excited to welcome you on the Donkey Trail

Some facts about the trail

• Total distance covered on foot, approximately 70 kilometers
• Gradient not rated but expect moderate to strenuous, no rock climbing required,
   you MUST BE FIT to complete this trail
• Highest altitude reached during the trail is 1523m at Wyenek. Depart from
   altitude of 350m at Living Waters
• Do not count on having cell phone reception

Please take note that distances and daily times of departure may vary slightly depending on time of sunrise and specific accommodation allocated at the various overnight points, for a given trail.


Arrival in Calitzdorp for drinks and light snacks, safety and packing briefing. Secure parking for vehicles.

Transportation to Groenfontein (15km) to accommodation in traditional farmstead and dinner.

DAY 2: UP TO WYENEK (+\- 19.7Km))

Departure times vary dependent on sunrise and expected temperatures during the day. Continental breakfast served before departure.

Packed lunch provided. Hikers are welcome to bring their preferred trail snacks. It is suggested that each hiker carry 2liters of water with them at all times. Please bring your own water bottles or camelpacks.

Hike up Swartberg on original footpath, climbing approximately 1500m during the course of the day. After the summit, there is a short, downhill walk to the tented site which is basic but comfortable. Hikers are accommodated in 2 man dome tents, on camping mattrasses with sleeping bag, pillows, blankets.

Donkeys accompany hikers on this day of the trail, carrying their overnight gear for the night on the mountain and the 2 nights in Gamkaskloof.

The gear required for the 2 nights in Gamkaskloof will need to be carried into die Hel by hikers, from the tented site (night 2).

All dirty gear from the first day hike to be returned to the starting point with donkeys after night on mountain. This returned gear will only be seen again once the trail is completed.

Dinner served by guides.

DAY 3: INTO DIE HEL (+/- 22km, the last 7 of which are all flat)

After continental breakfast on the mountain, hikers depart with Lead Guide and his 2IC, to Gamkaskloof, Fonteinplaas for an overnight with the Joubert Family, where lunch, dinner and breakfast are served.

Donkeys leave the tented site with handlers, and dirty gear, to return to the starting point.

This is likely to be a warm hike as we walk down the north facing slope of the Swartberg, entering Die Hel from the East, along the famous Elandspas road.

DAY 4: A DAY IN GAMKASKLOOF (+/- 12km) Flat road.

After breakfast at Fonteinplaas, we enjoy a leisurely 12km hike through Gamkaskloof, hopefully encountering kudu along the way, exploring the different structures built by the Klowers and having a swim in the Gamkariver, before settling into our accommodation for the night at Boplaas.

We have now positioned ourselves within 4.5 km of the famous Die Leer, the Western exit to die Hel.

A packed lunch is served on route and dinner at Boplaas.


After breakfast, we embark on this last walking stretch of our journey, though Kleinberg, the gem of Gamkaskloof, up the famous die Leer and along the escarpment to Boschluyskloof for the night.

A steep hike in the morning, followed by a fairly flat walk to the point where Boschluyskoof crew collect us with vehicles, unless the group feel super energetic and want to walk the last 9km to the lodge (which would make the day&s total hike +/- 26km.

DAY 6: RETURN TO CALITZDORP (60km approximately and hour and a half drive).

Hikers are driven back to their vehicles in Calitzdorp where they are also reunited with their gear from the first day&s trek up to Wyenek.

R11 800 Total cost per person, inclusive of all meals, non alcoholic beverages, guides, accommodation, bedding, transportation to and from starting point.

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR HIKERS prior to walking - Please provide your full name

1. Do you have any health considerations that we should know about
   (e.g. asthma, heart problem, diabetes, allergies such as bee sting).
2. As we will be catering for you, we need to know of any food limitations
    or allergies.
3. Do you have any particular interests in this area (e.g. a specific mammal,
    plant or bird, local architecture)?
4. Will this be your first visit to Gamkaskloof, "die Hel"?
5. Did you know that you will be hiking through one of only 34 biodiversity
    hotspots on the planet?
6. Where did you hear about the Donkey Trail
7. Which is the last trail that you walked and when?
8. Doctor's certificate might be requested

What does it cost and what does it include?

Our rate includes all meals, trail snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, 5 nights accommodation including bedding (sleeping bags on one night) and soap, shampoo and towels, guides, CapeNature conservation fees, comfortable transportation back to the starting point (over the Swartbergpas) and of course the donkeys to carry your personal items. As rates are seasonal, please contact Erika on
073 693 4007 should you have a rate related enquiry.

Group size 10. Individuals and groups of less than six can be matched up with other small group bookings. Let us know your preferred dates and we will see what we can do.

What to bring

Hiking boots and socks
Light slipslops for on the mountain
(no barefoot at the rest camp on the mountain)
Insect repellant (mainly against ticks)
Lip ice
Sun block
Swimwear (towels are provided)
Personal medication (we have first aid but not a dispensary)
Walking stick
Water bottle
Day pack rucksack
No firearms or narcotics
Cash for curios and local preserves/wine/port
3 layers of upper clothing for hiking days (t-shirt, fleece and waterproof)
Preferably long pants (the night on the mountain can be VERY cold)


Every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of our guests however indemnities will be signed prior to hiking. The trail traverses a remote, wilderness area which can only be accessed by emergency helicopter services during daylight hours and in favorable weather conditions.

We have confirmation from tracks and signs that leopards, though rarely seen, make use of the Donkey Trail. We also share the mountain with other potentially dangerous animals such as snakes, honey badgers, porcupines, baboons, bees, ticks and spiders. Our guides are trained in basic first aid.

The climate is generally moderate but temperatures can drop by 15-20 degrees as we climb to Wyenek camp (good news for hot summer days), in winter months, below zero is to be expected. Donkey Trail management will monitor weather conditions for 14 days prior to your booking departure and inform you of any scenarios that could require a postponement of your tour.

How to find us

From Cape Town, we suggest the R62 via Barrydale to Calitzdorp. From Garden Route, Langkloof or Beaufort West, via Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp.

Once in Calitzdorp you will need to turn north into Calitz Street towards Groenfontein. From the turn off in town, measure 15 kilometers. The road becomes a dirt road and crosses the river several times before you reach Living Waters farm.

Please let us know your expected time of arrival so that we can be prepared.

cell: +27 73 593 4007 or
cell: +27 83 628 9394 (Whatsapp messages only)

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