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Hiking and Cycling in Wild Mountain Country

At the tail end of the Southern Drakensberg, one reaches the exceptionally rugged, remote and beautiful Eastern Cape Highlands. Known for its breath-taking mountains, the area hugs the craggy border of Lesotho and extends from one mountain pass to the next, criss-crossed by rivers and pinned by quaint villages.

Popularly known as "Wild Mountain Country", the destinations of Rhodes, Wartrail and New England are wonderful options for people who are keen to get away from the disruption and chaos of daily life. The village communities that inhabit the Highlands are a tad quirky, exceptionally friendly, and especially proud of where they live.  Planning a holiday in Wild Mountain Country provides a warm welcome to these communities and a direct access to the myriad outdoor activities on offer.

The Eastern Cape Highlands provide such a remarkable cross section of landscapes that outdoor fun comes in huge variety. Hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fly fishing, trail running, rock art viewing, birding, 4x4 routes, star gazing and snow sports such as skiing are just some of what is available for visitors to experience, season dependent. The historical villages of Lady Grey and Rhodes are wonderful to explore from the saddle of a bike with a fly rod over-shoulder, whilst the area’s snowy transformation in winter makes it the perfect place for couples to sneak away to firesides and hearty farm fare (with arguably the best lamb chops in the country!)

Active Escapes offer a few choice ways of experiencing the Eastern Cape Highlands. Our Highlands Hike is a fully supported slack packing trail which meanders through the Wartrail and New England valleys.

If you prefer pedal power, why not sign-up for Sky Ride MTB Tour and cycle some of the highest roads in South Africa! This is an excellent cycle tour for dirt roadies looking for saddle time in spectacular surrounds but with a comfy bed and roast leg of lamb to look forward to in the evenings!

Outdoor fun comes in huge variety in the Eastern Cape Highlands. Hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fly fishing, trail running, skiing, rock art, birding and 4x4'ing are just some of the activities on offer. The Highlands Hike and Sky Ride MTB tour are two tours we offer in this scenic region.



  • rock art seen on the Highlands Hiking trail

    4 Night / 3 Day slack-packing trail through wild mountain territory: Barkly East - Rhodes, with daily luggage transfers, comfy lodgings, guiding and meals all taken care of.

  • mountain views on the sky ride mountain bike tour


    Ride some of the highest passes in South Africa on this fully supported cycle tour aimed at dirt roadies in search of spectacular (-but not too technical) mountain biking terrain.

EC Highlands - Tour Packages


the highlands hike takes you through the beautiful New England and Wartrail valleys

Enjoy a 3 day / 4 night slackpacking trail hike in wild mountain territory. With daily hike distances averaging 15km and altitudes ranging from 1700 – 2750m, this tour is aimed at hikers with moderate fitness looking for a trail with charming scenery, comfortable lodgings, hearty country cuisine and the freedom to walk 'free' with only a daypack.

The Highlands Hike can be enjoyed all year round: with gluhwein and log fires in winter and refreshing swims in crystal mountain streams by summer.

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mountain bikers getting some LSR training on the quiet country roads around Rhodes

Cycle the rhodes less travelled, on a fully supported mountain biking tour in the Eastern Cape highlands. Expect breathtaking passes (some of the highest roads in South Africa) and quiet country roads with sandstone batholiths, expansive farmlands and rugged mountain peaks edging your view.

This is the perfect mountain bike tour for dirt roadies looking for remarkably scenic riding  with daily vehicle back-up, comfy lodgings and fully catered farm-style meals… all taken care of!

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