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Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

Situated 16 kilometres from the beautiful town of Nieuwoudtville is the expansive Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. This majesty of the Bokkeveld plateau is home to the popular Rock Pigeon hike. This reserve houses the most varied botanical areas in the Northern Cape, with a collection of gorges, rivers, caves and plateaus.

Named after a war that ensued in 1739 between the indigenous Khoi and local farmers, Oorlogskloof now bears the remnants of those times by its name given to the area. Hiking the Rock Pigeon trail is something that most people love to complete. This is your guide to becoming the ultimate Rock Pigeon Route hiker, and how to enjoy it too!

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The First 2 Days

Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

The first day starts in Groot Tuin. With only 4 kilometres to cover on day one, it’s important to savour the moments of bliss as you traverse the landscape to Brakwater. You will follow a path that leads down to a hut in a large meadow, where you could stay the night.

Close to the hut, there is a river where you could get drinking water and bathe if you want. The first day’s hike only takes 2-3 hours to complete and should just be seen as a small introduction to the rest of the trip. When day 2 arrives, you continue from Brakwater to Kameel se Gat on a 7 to 8-hour hike. Day 2’s hike is 9 kilometres long, crossing over large boulders and descending the full height of the kloof twice.

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Day 3

Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

Hopefully, during the last 2 days, you’ve spotted some wildlife. If you haven’t then I am sure you are bound to on day 3.  Due to the diversity of habitats within Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve in Nieuwoudtville, it easily boasts its 36 mammal – and 94 bird species. Day three is an 11.5-kilometre hike that takes approximately 6 to 7 hours to complete.

The hike on day 3 is much less taxing than the previous day’s hike. Thus, although it is more of a distance, the route remains moderate. There is a delightful rock chimney climb with immaculate views at the top, whereafter you continue on a moderate meander along the plateau. You complete day 3 in the Doltuin hut which is close to a stone dam for some much-needed cooling down!

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The Finale

Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

Only 28 more kilometres to go!  As you wake up on day 4 to the Rock pigeons’ coos, you start to embark on your 17-kilometre hike towards Pramkoppie. Day four’s hike is the high point of the Rock Pigeon route, walking under 10 rock arches and along the edge of a stunning escarpment. There is an optional 2.5-kilometre round-trip to Arrie se Punt, where the views are something out of a storybook. As the hike comes to a close, you head towards the Pramkoppie hut.

Be sure to soak up the clifftop views as you walk along it, those kinds of views won’t be showcased again. Alas, the sun rises on day 5! The last 11 kilometres boast ancient rock art, an indigenous forest and the Vanrhyns Pass in the distance. Heading to Groot Tuin, you move down the kloof’s sides, through a chimney and over more rock boulders.

If you enjoy reading about hiking in Oorlogskloof, the Rameron Pigeon Trail is something that you’ll also enjoy!

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Rocking Your World

Oorlogskloof Rock Pigeon Hike in Nieuwoudtville

This four-night hike has a price for those wanting to tackle the route, though it is very inexpensive. Wessel Pretorius, the route coordinator of Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, developed two five-day hiking trails in the Oorlogskloof Reserve, and a great deal of love and effort went into building them.

Needless to say, the Rock Pigeon Route in Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve deserves to be one of the great hiking trails in South Africa. You need a permit to hike here, but that could be collected in Nieuwoudtville! So put on your favourite hiking books and get to walking one of the most scenic routes in South Africa!

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