See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on Hiking
in South Africa.
This is a 11 km circular trail, taking some 5 hours to complete. Permits must be obtained at the entrance to the New Agatha State Forest. A map and brochure is available on request.
Amenities include a picnic area, fireplaces and toilets located at the 6-km mark. Attractions include indigenous forests and plantations, impressive backdrop of the Wolkberg and swimming in the Bobs River.
In South Africa, dense, jungle-like forest is associated mainly with the southern coastal region, however, it also grows profusely in some parts of northern Limpopo. The New Agatha State Forest, 18 km east of Tzaneen, preserves such patches of natural forest, and here the Rooikat Nature Trail winds through 11 km of lush, evergreen woodlands along the Bobs River.
The trail is named after the rooikat, the Afrikaans name for the caracal, a large, long-eared, reddish-fawn cat. Being nocturnal, the caracal is seldom seen by hikers, although its spoor may be found. Bushbuck, duiker, baboon, verve and samango monkeys are easier to spot, as are the water leguaans.
Hikers should be on the alert for marnbas, berg adders and grass snakes. Much of this relatively easy walk passes through indigenous forest, where many of the trees are marked with their national tree list numbers.
Trees such as the forest cabbage tree occur in moist wooded ravines, and hikers will see the Natal mahogany and matumi.
The final part of the trail leads through a plantation before returning to the starting point at the forest station.