Karkloof Falls2Falls Trail

Immerse oneself in the natural splendour of the KZN Midlands: waterfalls, spectacular escarpment views, or ziplining through the forest canopy. This guided hike provides contrasting scenery with new surprises each day.

From highly vulnerable mist-belt forest, serene pastoral lands, and indigenous bushveld tree trails overlooking the mighty Umngeni gorge, you will be amazed at what the KZN Midlands has to offer.

As a three-day trail, it is a good option for a long weekend getaway, and brings an active offering to the Midlands Meander Route.

  • Trip Duration3 Hike Days / 3 Nights* Shorter & longer variations
  • Daily DistancesDay 1: 12km / 6hrDay 2: 11km / 4hrDay 3: 11-12km / 6hrs
  • Trail Grading3 / 5 - Fitness. You should have a moderate to good overall fitness. The first day's hike up to Grey Mare's Waterfall is steep.2 / 5 - Technicality. The path varies from well-maintained forest paths to fainter farmland and grassy trails
  • Trail TerrainWell maintained yellowwood forest logging paths, terraced bush paths, open grass and farm land
  • AccommodationFarmstays & 3-4 star equivalent B&B's and Lodges
  • Logistic SupportA fully guided and catered lodge-to-lodge tour with vehicle back-up and daily luggage transfersReturn transfer to your vehicle
  • Group SizePreferred min of 4 persons and maximum 10 persons / per group
  • PricingOn a group of 5-7 persons: R6,850/pp/sharing
At a Glance

From highly vulnerable mist-belt forest, serene pastoral lands, and indigenous bushveld tree trails overlooking the mighty Umgeni valley gorge, you will be amazed at what diversity the KZN Midlands has to offer.

The birdlife is plentiful. A stop at the Karkloof Conservancy’s bird hide makes for a peaceful coffee break and an opportunity to tick off all three of South Africa’s cranes including the very rare Wattled Crane.

Other mammals like reedbuck, porcupine, giraffe, zebra and the endangered samango monkey, all share their hide-outs in the beautiful Karkloof valley.

10% of proceeds from this hike go towards local conservation projects.

  1. Day 1Arrival Day: Late afternoon arrival in the Karkloof


    Overnight: Karkloof Guesthouse/ B&B (Dinner)

  2. Day 2Hike Day 1: Karkloof Valley to Mount Gilboa summit – Bushwillow (12-14km /850m ascent/ 6hrs)

    The hike begins with a 2km climb, following ancient logging paths through the second largest indigenous forest in South Africa. This special place is home to duiker, Samango monkeys and the rare Karkloof Blue butterfly.

    From here we trace our way up the escarpment to the summit of Mt Gilboa (the highest point of the Karkloof range at 1768m). We then snake our way through indigenous forest and pristine grasslands to Gray Mare’s Falls for a picnic lunch with tremendous views overlooking the 900ha Karkloof Nature reserve.

    After lunch we make our way back to Bushwillow, from where we will return by vehicle to our first night’s accommodation.

    Overnight: Karkloof Guesthouse / B&B (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner)

  3. Day 3Hike Day 2: Karkloof Canopy Tours – Loskop (+/- 11km / 265m ascent/ 4hrs)

    Optional early morning visit to the Karkloof bird hides, followed by a hearty breakfast at your guesthouse. After breakfast, we will head off to the Karkloof Canopy Tours to glide through the forest along a series of ziplines.

    Then you’ll trail through scenic farmlands around the base of Loskop mountain, and make your way to the last overnight stop, in time for high-tea.

    Overnight: Karkloof Guesthouse / B&B (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner)

  4. Day 4Hike Day 3: Umngeni Valley Meanderings (14 / 9 km)

    The final day’s hike is an indigenous tree trail with spectacular views overlooking the mighty uMngeni gorge below. uMngeni Valley is home to giraffe, zebra, antelope and 270 species of birds.

    It is with heavy legs but happy hearts, that our journey comes to an end overlooking the cascading waters of the iconic Howick Falls.

    Depart after lunch

Atop Gray Mares Waterfall- Karkloof

Farm stays & 3-4 star equivalent B&B's and lodges

Bedding and towels provided

Locally sourced and almost all organic country cuisine

Karkloof Guesthouse
  1. Do we carry our own backpacks?

    No. You will just need to carry a daypack with your packed lunch, water and supplies for the day. Your overnight bags will be transferred by vehicle from lodge to lodge.

  2. What type of footwear is appropriate?

    Hiking trail shoes or trail-running sneakers are best suited for this trail.

  3. What is the best time of year for this trail?

    The relative altitude has a moderating effect on summer temperature with day time temperatures seldom exceeding 30 degrees C. Summer nights can be cool > 15 degrees C. The rainy season is in Summer ( November to February).

    Winter days are warm and dry, often above 20 degree C with night temperatures 1-10 Degrees C. Occasionally there is a small scattering of snow in surrounding higher altitude areas

    Please try to avoid peak season holidays (Mar-Apr & Dec-Jan) as the lodges have to give priority to long-stay bookings over such times. Autumn and Spring are great times of year for the Midlands.

  4. Do you run scheduled trips?

    Scheduled tours will be a run a couple times a year (enquire regarding dates) otherwise private trips also available - date/ avail permitting.

  5. What are the trail highlights?

    Gliding through the forest on a canopy tour, healthy, local and ethically sourced country cuisine, dramatic views of the Karkloof valley, hidden waterfalls, world-class bird hides with a chance to spot rare and specials like the Wattled Crane, Midlands Dwarf chameleon, Karkloof Blue butterfly and Samango monkey, plenty of viewpoints for picnic lunches.

3 Day / 3 Night Karkloof Falls2Falls

Price varies based on group size, but indicative price based on a full group size (8-10 persons) - R6 900/pp

Whats included in this tour
  • 3 Nights Accom (sharing basis): historical country guesthouse with mostly ensuite rooms
  • Gourmet Catering: 3 packed lunches for the hike days, 3 dinners and 3 breakfasts
  • Professional Hiking Guide - for all hike days. FGASA qualified to explore the fauna and fauna with you
  • Hiking Permits and private Land Permissions for the 3 hike days
  • Transfer Support
  • 10% of profit donated to local conservancies