Wolkberg Wilderness Area

Information for hikers

Last Updated 2014-06-05

PLEASE NOTE: The School for Mountain Leadership has no official affiliation with the Wolkberg Wilderness Area, which is managed by the Limpopo Department of Economic Develoopment, Environment and Land Affairs (LEDET). This information is posted here simply because neither LEDET nor anyone else seems to be able to get a simple web page together explaining a little bit about one of the most amazing hiking places in South Africa! Unless you want us to guide you in the Wolkberg, please don't phone us to try and arrange anything in the Wolkberg - we can't help you. We're just trying to make this information available.

What is Wolkberg? Wolkberg Wilderness Area is one of only 3 proclaimed mountain wilderness areas in South Africa, encompassing some 24,000 ha. It is a place where you can hike where you like, with no fixed trails of overnight facilities - you camp wherever suits you at the end of the day. The elevation range starts off at around 1000m ASL (Above Sea Level) and continues up as high as 2054m ASL on Serala. The vegetation ranges from indigenous forest through bush to alpine grasslands. This area is home to some very special species of bird, grasses and plants.

Where is it? Wolkberg is on the Northern end of the Transvaal Drakensberg, just south-west of Tzaneen.

How do I get there? These directions are from Johannesburg:
  • Take the N1 North
  • Just before Polokwane (used to be Pietersburg) and just after the Shell Ultra City take the R71 Turn off. It is now also marked as N1.
  • Cross two significant intersections then follow a stretch of road (probably more then 4km) until you see signs for the R71 to TZANEEN or HAENERTSBURG. Take the offramp and turn RIGHT at the bottom.
  • Follow this road for probably about 20km until you go down a hill and the roas sweeps to the right. Just after this is ZCC Moria.
  • About 2km after ZCC Moria is a turn-off to the right marked WOLKBERG. Take it. This is now GRAVEL road.
  • The gravel road becomes a tar road. Follow it until the tar road does a sharp bend to the right. Do not follow the bend - go straight on the gravel road. (About 24 01.224' S 029 49.200' E)
  • Follow the gravel road. It seems quite minor initially but soon becomes more significant. It climbs. A lot!
  • At a point the gravel road goes over a hill (big antenna about 2km on the left). The road bends sharply right and starts a steep downhill. (24 00.723' S 029 56.745' E)
  • Keep a look out for turn-off to the left with a small sign that says WOLKBERG (24 01.532' S 029 57.860' E). Follow it. It will take you to the gate. The total distace from the main R71 tar road is about 30km (I think)
  • There is a small camp-site at the main gate (24 02.830' S 030 00.149' E)

  • How do I book? The office can be contacted on 015-276-9909 / 015-276-9910. The office is seldom manned except early in the morning. Your best bet is to call at around 08h00. However, it is not necessary to book in advance.

    What does it cost? Costs are calculated based on a number of thiings. On arriving, you will pay an entry fee per person, per car and per trailer. If you stay at the campsite at the forest station, you will pay a camping fee per tent per night and if you go hiking you will pay a fee for going hiking. These fees are as follows:
    • Entry - Mini Bus : R 30
    • Entry - Car : R 20
    • Entry - Trailer : 50
    • Entry - Per person : R 10
    • Overnight at basecamp - per tent per night: R 50
    • Hiking - per person, per day : R 10
    In other words, a group of 6 who arrive in 2 cars with one trailer, who sleep in the base camp in 2 tents and then go hiking for 4 days will pay as follows:
    • R 40.00 Entrance for 2 cars @ R 20 each
    • R 50.00 Entrance for the trailer
    • R 60.00 Entrance for 6 people @ R 10 each
    • R 100.00 Camping at the camp site for 2 tents @ R50 each for 1 night
    • R 240.00 Hiking per day, 6 people x 4 days @ R 10 per person / per day
    • R 490 TOTAL

    What can I do there? Hike, climb, go bird watching.
    There are no hiking maps! You need to bring your own. The relevant 1:50 000 maps from the Surveyor General are 2330CC and 2430AA. You can find some routes which have previously been hiked here