A group of us are due to start the Amatola just after Easter. I recently stumbled across an article about an attack a couple of years ago as well as early 2017. Apparently some efforts have been made to upgrade the security of the trail but I wondered if anyone has done it in the past 12 months and if there were any issues?
Check with Amatola Trails (Amatolatrails.co.za – Servicing the Amatola Hiking Trail). They should have some up to date info.
Thanks, I have heard from them and they have reassured me that there was only one incident which happened about 3 years ago. It seems it was a one off with nothing before or since.
Hi! We did the hike in October 2017. We had no issues. Was amazing. Most of the huts (the huts closer to civilization) have security gates. We never felt unsafe at any stage of the hike.
You will enjoy it!
I am from East London. The hiking club in East London, Lets Hike, has taken the Amatola trail under their wing. They have cleared and remarked the route. They have also repaired the huts. I know of some hikers who have done the trail a few months ago and they were very happy.
Lets hike also has a Facebook page.
As far as security is concerned, contact the person with whom you have booked the trail to find out about that. I would not walk in a very small group.
The Amatola Trail is beautiful!
That’s great news! Thanks Elsabe (and everyone at “Let’s Hike”).
Myself and a few friends did the hike in late December 2017. I too was skeptical after reading the story in the Hogsback local newspaper. I did my research and found out that the incident happened in January 2016. I was reassured by many locals as well as tour operators that this was the first and last incident of its kind and that it had the community in quite a big uproar. Nevertheless, we completed the trail and it was amazing. We didnt even see any other human being for the full 6 days. The huts have been restored and secured. We found all the huts to be in outstanding condition. They were all secured with proper Trellidor bars around windows and doors. Although the doors had Trellidor, only the first nights hut had a key for the door, the rest had no way of actually locking the Trellidor but the actual wooden doors could be locked from the inside. We didnt feel unsafe at all and were assured that rangers as well as SAPS make regular efforts to patrol the area. We were a group of 6 (4 guys and 1 girl).
The hike is tough but truly amazing. Make sure you have enough waterproof gear and a proper rainjacket- we were soaked even though we had proper gear. A decent powerbank is highly recommended in case of emergencies (the huts have Vodacom cellphone reception). I would also recommend staying at Away with the Fairies, or at least making use of their shuttle service to Maden Dam. You can leave your car with them for the duration of the hike. They were very hepful with supplyin a proper map, possible hazards en route ans provided 3 emergency numbers of rangers at their forest stations. They can also extract you if you feel you took on more than you can handle (at a price of R1000 though).
Hope I could be of some help (unless you already did the hike!)
Wonderful. Thanks for the feedback @Anton!
Thanks all for your very useful responses. We are just back from the trail and it was wonderful. We were quite a large group but never felt unsafe at all. It was fairly tough but well worth doing. Now to plan the next one.