Alongside the corridor of the Loskopdam Nature Reserve in a pristine area, hardly touched by man, is the Idwala trail, offering unsurpassed views of the dam, the surrounding hills and the Steenkampsberge near Lydenburg. The grandeur of the mountains overlooking the Loskopdam, can only really be appreciated by standing on the edge of one of the high cliffs looking down on the water level several hundred metres below. This is but one of the rewards the hiker will receive on this very special trail situated in a malaria free zone.
The trail network, designed by EcoTourism Afrika, focuses on combining the unique hiking opportunities with the comforts of a trail camp specifically designed and built to enhance the various attributes of the farm. The trails are found in the mountains which are the first physical indication of the change in terrain which identifies the highveld from the lowveld. There are deep valleys and gorges which provide micro- habitats filled with ferns, pools and cascades. On the plateaus, zebra, blue wildebeest and other endemic game occur. Fauna and flora experts identified more than 85 bird species, 70 tree species and 40 veld flower species.
Geologically this area is very interesting as it forms part of the Waterberg Sandstone formation. The name Idwala, meaning in Ndebele "big flat rocks" is an apt description of the rocky ridges found before the cliffs. Within one of these ridges, the base camp is located consisting of three beautifully decorated chalets, a thatched cooking and dining area and an open boma which is known for its history as being the site where initiations were carried out generations ago. The view and the sunsets from this spot are dazzling and make a special end to a days' hiking. On the plateau, a conglomerate rock formation dating from 350 million years ago can be seen indicating a riverbed. Hikers have a choice of routes, ranging from shorter game walks, hikes along the cliffs or longer trails to the "Haelgeweer kloof" and "Loskop view". The water is exceptionally pure spouting from the depths of the mountain. In the rainy season the waterfalls offer exceptional scenery.
Situated in a transitional area, the bird- life is varied and many bird species found more commonly in the Lowveld areas of the country, are also found here together with the usual Highveld species. Even the cry of the Fish eagle can be heard from the cliff tops! The tree list is quite extensive and include many fruit bearing species, which the baboons in particular like. These include the stamvrug, sourplum, wild peach, klapper, wild grapes and wild medlar. The veld flowers are quite magnificent on the rocky ridges and the fern family is very well represented in the gorges with magnificent tree ferns of various heights cladding the mountain stream of the Varingkloof. Within an easy two hours drive from Gauteng and other major towns of the north, therefore being the ideal choice for a 2 - 3 day hike over weekends or during the week, if time permits.
Overnight facilities: Base camp: 3 chalets, 24 beds/mattresses. Lapa and braai facilities. Supply own charcoal/wood. Kitchen is well equipped with 2 x 2-plate gas cookers, pots, pans, three legged and flat-bottom potjies/pots. Ablutions: 2 flush toilets, showers with gas geysers and basins.
Location of trail: 180 km from Pretoria, 39 km from Middelburg.