Buffelsbosch hike - Jewel of the Midlands
8 February 2015

Report by Alistair Nixon and photos contributed by Alistair, Cathy Stevens and John Fourie

[CLICK ON PHOTOS TO VIEW FULLSIZE - or view pics in accompanying SIMPLEVIEWER Presentation]

Sometimes walks, like golf, have that perfect combination of everything that makes the outing absolutely memorable. Such was the walk, lead by John, known as Buffelsbosch hike (Jewel of the Midlands) in the Lidgetton valley. There were only 5 hikers as that was the ruling of the owners of the land we were about to walk on.

The starting point is very close to Blesberg Farm which is another excellent walk.

The first half an hour is an easy uphill hike along a well defined path and through a tree plantation. Right from the beginning the wild flowers were abundant with Watsonias in various colours. Once the top of the hill is reached there are spectacular views over towards Adamhurst, Midmar dam (The Midmar mile was taking place on the same day) and as far across to Karkloof. The valleys and fields below were “dressed” in KZN summer green - even the English would have been impressed! We descended onto protea farm and many of the proteas were just beginning to blossom. Adjacent to this was the start of the indigenous forest walk.

The contrast between the open plains of the grasslands and the lushness of the forest was staggering. Wild flowers of the plains versus the fungi and fragrance of humus. This forest is on private property and has been well protected which explains why only five of us were allowed on the walk. One can only think back to 19th century and the wholesale destruction yellowwood trees being felled for building purposes. As you come out of the forest one does so reluctantly as it is a cool and inviting environment. There is a short climb up to the lunch spot along a path that passes through more protea fields. We decided they are an ideal “crop” as the fields did not have to be meticulously attended to. The views from our rest point, a very well designed and constructed boma, were are also breathtaking. There was much scheming about spending New Year’s eve here!

The path from here swings back through the grasslands again with views out towards the Drakensberg. A lone buck startled us at it sprang from its cover and disappeared indignantly at having its peace and quiet disturbed. We joined up with our starting path, a view back towards Lidgetton village and descended back down to the car.

It is a beautiful walk. When it comes up again make a point of putting your name down.

Pic 1 - Start of walk
Pic 2 - Path up
Pic 3 - Wild flowers
Pic 4 - Looking towards Karkloof
Pic 5 - Proteas
Pic 6 - Protea farm & forest on right

Pic 7 - Forest path
Pic 8 - Forest stream
Pic 9 - Forest still-life
Pic 10 - Forest canopy
Pic 11 - View from boma
Pic 12 - Boma