Definition of Slackpacking, by the author of Slackpacking in South Africa, Fiona McIntosh
"Most simply, Slackpacking is backpacking without the schlep.Slackpacking trails are a relatively new genre of multi-day hiking trails, which allow you to travel light, carrying only your water, lunch, camera and waterproofs in a day pack, while someone else takes care of transporting all your baggage to an overnight stop-over, where you can enjoy the comfort of being accommodated in luxury hotels or guesthouses"
|Front Garden at Pleasant Places|
“We'll get this up and running in January. The trails are 90% sorted and I've consulted and obtained permission from farmers, whose land the trail traverses. It's for people who want a challenging walk, but don't want to haul a heavy backpack around."
|Autumnal reflections at the dam|
“People don't know the extent of the activities on offer here. Many folk visit the Midlands Meander or come here to attend a wedding, have great jollifications, and then rush off home, oblivious to the beauty of the area they have just had the privilege of visiting. Guests attending weddings here seldom return.We live in a community and these trails will provide employment opportunities for some of the people in the local village. I'm driven to create new adventures here, giving some of our local youngsters a chance to get involved. They will assist with marking out and on-going maintenance of the trails. Many school-leavers struggle to find employment soon after finishing school and this will give them a vision and hope for a brighter future; it'll be great for this area too.”
|Looking back toward Pleasant Places from Swissland Cheese|
Slackpackers will cross rivers and streams, walk across pastures, through indigenous forests, climb hills and drop down into valleys.
|Cool, shady spot along the river|
After relatively easy walking they will arrive at hospitality venues en-route, such as Lythwood Lodge and Blesberg Farm Cottages. Dinner and breakfasts, either catered or self catered, will be available. All provisions, utensils, braais, charcoal etc. will be provided at self catering stops.
|Sixty cows being milked on a turntable|
Later we walked through a stunning section of indigenous forest and on to a dam where ardent fly fishermen will be able to cast a line on the beautiful Blesberg Farm dam. The last leg of the 44km trail will see a walk down into the picturesque Dargle Valley, with views to die for.
|Looking over the Dargle Valley with Midmar Dam in the distance|
|Cooling mist in the garden at Pleasant Places|
Well, as they say, the proof will be in the pudding/walking, but I get the impression that John’s passion will bring an exciting new aspect to hospitality in the beautiful Lidgetton Valley
- Environmental Impact Study
- Feasibility Study
- Construction techniques
- Maps and mapping
- More info on slackpacking: http://www.footprint.co.za/ and Dirty Boots
- Useful reading: Slackpacking: A Guide to South Africa's Top Leisure Trails, by Fiona McIntosh
- KZN Midlands accommodation, benchmarked by Portfolio Collection, is available at Pleasant Places. Contact Portfolio for reservations on +27 21 689 4020