New 650km trail set to open in South Africa

A major conservation effort is underway in South Africa, where a new trail is set to open in 2010 that will become the first truly epic, long distance, hike on the continent, stretching from the West Coat of the country to the Outeniqua Mountains, covering 650km in the process.

Known as the Rim of Africa, this new trail follows a natural route through the mountains of South Africa, and has been designed to integrate with the natural surroundings, while protecting the local plant and animal life. The hike will pass through several nature preserves that are currently seldom visited, and will wander across privately held property, giving backpackers access to areas that have seldom been seen by outsiders in years.

Based off such long distance hikes as The Appalachian Trail and the The Continental Divide Trail, the Rim of Africa will eventually take roughly 48 days to complete. The plan is to offer four distinct stages, with each stage requiring approximately 10 to 12 days. But when it opens in October of next year, it will take a more modest 11 days to hike the first section. The first three treks will run from October 4th to October 15th, October 11th to the 22nd, and finally October 18 to the 29th of 2010. These will be used as fundraising hikes to help complete construction of the trail, and you can sign up to take part in one of those inaugural treks on the trail’s official website.

It looks like adventure travelers and backpackers will soon have a new item to add to their life list. This looks like it has potential to be an amazing hike, but you have to wonder though, will there be lions and other African predators around? That would make it even more challenging!

[via Best Hike]