Located in the relatively unexplored southern Drakensberg, at the junction of the Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal, and southern Lesotho, the Mehloding Trail takes you on a path of rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage.
The quaint and welcoming town of Matatiele, 70km from Kokstad forms the perfect gateway to the trail, halfway between Underberg and Rhodes.
The route traverses spectacular mountainous foothills and rural villages, taking in visits to ancient rock-art, sparkling streams, indigenous trees, medicinal plants, craft projects and top of the world views. Situated in the friendly rural village of Masakala, close to Matatiele, on the border of the Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal, the guesthouse offers you a stunning view of the Southern Drakensberg/ Ukhahlamba mountains forming the border with the kingdom of Lesotho.
Masakala is the first night of the Mehloding Adventure Trail as well as providing a comfortable and secure base for overnight visitors who wish to discover the beautiful surroundings of the region.
Two rondavels specially designed and built using local architectural ideas and skills, offer you a choice of single double or dormitory style sleeping arrangements. Traditional yet comfortable, our accommodation offers a hot shower and bath and four beautifully decorated rooms. Masakala has been awarded an AA Quality Assurance grading.
As the sun sets and the evening draws in, enjoy a friendly meal prepared by the local catering group; homegrown vegetables, fresh produce, and African recipes are on the menu, alongside conventional fare. We also cater for vegetarians on request.
For first time visitors and tourists to the area, we arrange local tours such as meeting local sangomas and traditional entertainment. Come and discover the Matatiele area by engaging in short hikes with local guides or take a horse ride on a Basotho pony (suitable for beginners or advanced riders).
A choice of four welcoming chalets in the little-explored southern Drakensberg in the Ongeluksnek Valley at the border between the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho. Constructed by local people with traditional designs and materials, they offer a unique getaway destination for family groups, backpackers and adventure seekers.
Rustic yet homely, they provide hot showers, flush toilets, boma, separate bedrooms (twin or dormitory) with linen and towels and a communal lounge and kitchen for either self-catering or catered accommodation. All offer private seclusion with stunning views of mountains and rural scenery. Each chalet is equipped for 12 people and has permanent staff for daily servicing. Gas cooking facilities and paraffin lamps are provided.
The Mehloding Chalets are an ideal base to explore the local area, whether you are hiking, mountain biking, horse riding (Masakala chalet only) or simply relaxing in the beautiful scenery. Each chalet serves as an overnight stopover for people doing the Mehloding Adventure Trail.
The Chalets and Trails are a community based and operated product which aspires to benefit local communities through the provision of employment opportunities and involvement in sustainable eco-tourism opportunities. The Mehloding Community Trust which runs the Masakala Lodge and the Mehloding Chalets is a member of the Fair Trade in Tourism SA organization and subscribes to their ethics and code of practice.
Malekhalonyane, close to Mariazell Mission comprises one main rectangular house with two bathrooms, kitchen and dining room, a boma for evening braais, three rondavels sleeping 4 to 6 each. A short hike will take you to the Mission or to the Jordan river for a refreshing swim
Makhulong, situated above Mpharane village provides one communal rectangular building with kitchen, two bathrooms and dining room opening onto a terrace for evening drinks and braais.
Accommodation is in three rondavels sleeping 6 in one dormitory and two rooms sleeping 2 people each. The chalets are quite close to the village so you can wander down to meet the local people and buy produce from the local spaza shops etc.
Machekong, right beneath the Three Sisters ridge, has one communal house opening onto a terrace with stunning views, two bathrooms, dining room, and kitchen. There are two rondavels (one dormitory style and one divided into two twin rooms). This is the most isolated of the chalets and will suit nature lovers and hikers wishing to explore the walks to rock art and waterfalls.
Madlangala, built from local rock and surrounded by protea trees, consists of one main house with two bathrooms, kitchen and dining room opening onto a covered terrace with mountain views. Accommodation is in two rondavels (one dormitory and one divided into two twin rooms).
DAY ONE: 14 km
Starting point after an overnight at Malekhalonyane chalet near Motseng village. The chalet is in open grassland with mountain views along which the trail traverses in a north-easterly direction. Cross over the Jordan river soon after starting the hike. Pause to inspect rock art paintings on the route which your guide will point out. Short steep climb up onto grassland ridge with easy walking descending down to stream crossing near Masupha village. Moderate climb with great views followed by a descent through Mpharane village to the chalet.
DAY TWO: 20 km
Descend through Mpharane village to cross the Seeta river. This can be deep in summer requiring careful negotiation. Thereafter a steady climb using footpaths and sled tracks to reach a long easy ridge with excellent 360-degree views. Through a neck and contour path to the protea level where the path meanders through open grassland with streams and incised valleys. A final moderate climb takes you to the chalet at Maboloka located below the Twin Sisters and Makalane peaks. A walk down to the stream and through Mountain Hard pear trees takes one to a panel of well-preserved rock art in the sandstone belt.
DAY THREE: 14 km
Moderate climb along stock paths up pleasant contour with interesting sandstone features. Descend to Kinira river (good clean water for drinking) and follow undulating terrain through Goxe and Pepela villages. Cross Makomoring stream (some wattle infestation) and climb up to the chalet located in protea grassland. The chalet at Madlangala is surrounded by encircling mountain peaks and has a sense of space and clear mountain air.
DAY FOUR: 13 km
Your last day’s hike is a pleasant contour walk with patches of indigenous forest, protea groves, fascinating sandstone features, and mountain grassland. Depending on the season, you will find many species of wildflowers and birdlife along this section. The trail ends near Qachas Nek (border post with Lesotho) where you will be collected by vehicle and taken back to Matatiele where your cars will have been safely parked.
Discover the Mehloding Adventure Trail for yourself!
For the fit and the adventurous …. a stunning guided trail into this lesser-known part of the Ukhahlamba / Drakensberg national park (a World Heritage Site).
Discover San rock art, protea and tree ferns, indigenous forests, wildflower gardens, and rare birds.
Pass through rural villages and be greeted by friendly local communities and experience traditional culture. At the end of each day be welcomed by your hostess at comfortable chalets where you can enjoy a hot shower, African cuisine, and an inviting bed!
Trail package includes:
• Twin or dormitory room accommodation
• Dinner, breakfast and free service tea/coffee
• Hot showers, linen, and towels
• Professional guiding
• Packed lunch
• Return transfers from Matatiele @ R 1300 per group
• Bag Transfers between Chalets at R 1200 per group
• Other trail options (eg self-catering)