Situated in the beautiful 27 000-ha Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve, 36 km north-east of Graskop
and about 50km from Pilgrims Rest
, both these trails start and end at Bourke's Luck Potholes.
They are routed east of the potholes, along the Inselleberg Plateau, through grassveld, bushveld, montane and gallery forest. The diversity of vegetation is mainly the result of micro-climates within the plateau system.
Wildlife is also plentiful and among the ferns, cycads, wild figs, mobola plums and orchids, hikers may spot baboon, grey rhebok, duiker and klipspringer on the krantzes. The bald ibis, a threatened species, as well as raptors and the Knysna, purple crested and grey louries, are found here.
Attractions include Bourke's Luck Potholes, the mountain sourveld, indigenous rain forests, spectacular lowveld views, including that from the escarpment at God's Window.
Bookings must be made at least three weeks in advance. Beware - there is a danger of lightning in the area approaching the Op-de-berg hut. Fires are strictly prohibited. There is a limit of 10 people per trail at any one time.
From the potholes at Bourke's Luck the trails run eastwards together before forking. The longer trail, the Protea Trail (previously known as the Muilhuis Hiking Trail), winds for approximately 12,5 km along the upper slopes of the Belvedere Valley to the first overnight hut, Muilhuis.
The next day the trail continues for 6,5 km among indigenous forest to Op-de-berg, the second overnight stop. The third day is an 8,5-km walk to Eerste Liefde hut, and on the last day the trail takes hikers back to the potholes once more.
The southern track, the Yellow wood Trail (previously known as the Eerste Liefde Hiking Trail), leads for approximately 14 km along the Belvedere Valley to the Belvedere power station.
Hikers then make a gradual descent to the Eerste Liefde overnight stop on the banks of the Belvedere River. The next day leads for approximately 11 km back to the start. Hiking conditions are especially pleasant in autumn and late spring.
Permits can be obtained from The Officer-in-charge at the Blyderivierspoort Nature Reserve.