Vergezient Mountain Retreat and Trails
The farm on which the Vergezient Mountain Retreat and Hiking trails is situated is on the borders of Kwa Zulu Natal and the Eastern Free State not far from the border town of Harrismith. To reach Vergezient one takes the Bergville road past Sterkfontein dam and then takes the gravel road to Retiefs Pass.
The Vergezient trails consist of several connecting routes to suite the abilities of most people. There are basically three longer routes, three 1-3 hour rambles plus three short strolls.
We chose to do the 13,5 km "New Beginnings" on the Saturday and the "Razor Edge" trail on the Sunday.
The New Beginnings Trail
The New Beginnings trail starts off with a walk along the cliff edge until Yellowwood Kloof is reached, where the trail descends to the second terrace of the escarpment and to Folly Ridge falls. The well marked path then descends through a forested kloof until the "Old Opstal" is reached. From here the route follows an old road to "The Ford", where the Vergezient Stream is crossed. From the natural splash pools the hiker has a panorama view of the northern and central Drakensberg.
A short distance from here is the New Beginnings cave. Here can be viewed ancient bushman drawings of long ago. From the cave the trail ascends through a beautiful forested kloof passing the Vergezient falls and a lovely natural rock pool, after which a short walk takes the hiker back to the Barnhouse.
The Razors Edge Trail
The Razor Edge trail is not as difficult as the New Beginnings trail and can be easily accomplished in a morning. The trail starts with a climb down through Vergezient Kloof. From the base of the kloof the trail continues along the steep slopes of the mountain side until aptly named Razors Edge is reached. Here the trail once more takes the hiker to the top of the mountain. From the vantage point at the top one has an incredible view of the Tugela valley and also the surrounding sandstone hills of the eastern Free State. The trail finishes with an easy walk back along the ridge to the Barnhouse.
The Wingswept Trail
This trail, which is also 13,5 kms long, takes the hiker to the highest point of Vergezient and offers some incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains. The trail descends through the beautiful Oom Pieter se Bos and passes the 50m high Vergezient falls before returning the hiker to the starting point.
Hikers are accommodated in The Barnhouse, a well equipped and comfortable base from which to do the trails. Gas geysers provide hot water for the showers while fire places at each end of the covered stoop provide Braai facilities in all weather conditions.
The Vergezient trail is a very spectacular and beautiful trail and certain to become a favourite among hikers.
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