The rolling highveld surrounding Windhoek is often overlooked by visitors in their rush to clap eyes on Namibia’s more famous landscapes, but the opening of the new Khomas Hochland Hiking Trail may soon change that. Covering a 91km circular route over six days (or 53km over four days), the trail takes you across five farms, hiking through thornbush scrub, along kloofs and across grasslands, scrambling over boulders and even climbing down a rock ladder. It’s physically demanding but the rewards are ample: superb views at times, abundant wildlife, and the chance to sleep out under the stars. You’ll catch sight of plenty of kudu, oryx, mountain zebra, warthog, klipspringer and baboons, as well as countless small reptiles; the birdlife is prolific too, congregating round the Aretaragas and Otjiseva rivers, farm dams and precious sheltered pools of water in the kloofs, while the ever-elusive leopard keeps out of sight. For the hardcore version of the trail, you need to carry your pack with sleeping bag (one for cold nights), food, extra clothing, utensils, torch or headlamp and all the usual extras – a walking pole is advisable too, as parts of the trail are heavy on the knees. However, if that all sounds like too much hard work for a holiday, worry not, as there’s a slackpacking option too, in which you take a daypack, with water, snacks, your camera and not much else, while the rest of your gear – food and bedding (including mattresses, or even tents, if you want) – is transported for you from camp shelter to camp shelter.
Though basic, each campground has a toilet, wood- or solar-powered hot shower, braai facilities, a pot and a kettle, with the Monte Christo treehouse on the fifth night the standout overnight spot. Rather than confining yourself to light, easy-to-cook meals, you can tuck into a pre-ordered fresh farm meal-pack from each night’s host, which includes braai meat and veg as well as freshly baked bread, though you’ll need to carry anything you want to spice up the food. It’s even possible to request a few cans of beer to enjoy around the campfire. Obviously, this is all at extra cost, but the hike alone is strenuous enough; taking the weight off your back allows you to maximize your enjoyment of the trail.
The trail starts and finishes at Dürstenbrook Farm, located 46km broadly north from Windhoek – 30km along the B1 before turning west. A minimum of three hikers (maximum 12) is required, and the booking can be made online to do the trail between April and September (though experienced hikers are allowed in October and March).