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Berg hiking takes off as South Africans head outdoors

Virus reignites passion for nature

The Berg's wide open spaces have never been so attractive. Pictures: Garth Johnstone

When the coronavirus struck SA for the first time in March 2020, most people thought that regular life would be affected for two- or three-months, tops.

The first lockdown was expected to last a few weeks and then our lives would gradually return to “normal” – so we thought. Well, more than a year on, that scenario clearly didn’t pan out, and it’s obvious we will be living with “Aunty Rona” for some time.

One of the upsides – along with some people enjoying spending more time with their families, people discovering new hobbies and a general slowdown in the mayhem of modern life – is that people have rediscovered a passion and appreciation for nature and the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors.

Quality time

Sure, a lockdown scenario doesn’t suit everyone and some have had serious mental health challenges during this coronavirus crisis, but the lack of international travel and shortage of cash has forced many to think local and factor in affordability when it comes to travel and getaways.

Resorts with their own wild areas, or close to nature reserves, are definitely benefitting.

Resorts with outdoors settings and (or near to) nature reserves are definitely benefitting, and we’ve seen first-hand that many of our Midlands and Berg reserves are busier than in the previous few years in terms of hikers, campers and holidaymakers. Many families would now rather spend quality time out in the open, in a healthy environment, than risk crowds in the cities. Mountain biking, hiking, trail running and fishing are just some of the activities South Africans are embracing.

Click on the links below to read our take on some of the better hikes and places to stay in the region, if you want to experience that fresh air, adventure sports and embrace the outdoors.

Lotheni Reserve, about 30km from Himeville

Lotheni Reserve.

Go hiking in Newcastle

Newcastle is focusing on outdoor activities in promoting tourism to the town. Picture: Supplied

Monk’s Cowl, a mission up the Sphinx to Blindman’s Corner

The hike to Blindman’s Corner.

Getting high on Highmoor: walk to Aasvoelkrans Cave

Aasvoelkrans Cave.

Boulder-hopping in awe-inspiring Tugela Gorge

Garth Johnstone during a walk to Tugela Gorge. Picture: Rhys Johnstone

Post lockdown, getting back to the Berg

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