Aloe Hiking Trail
- Port Elizabeth
- Port Elizabeth
Riverside Drive Blue Water Bay Port Elizabeth
- Longitude: 25.622988
- Latitude: -33.852367
- Rates may vary and reduced rates may apply to additional persons. All rates are indicative only, may be seasonal and are subject to change without notice.
About Aloe Hiking Trail
The Aloe trail comprises two trails one of 2 km marked with yellow arrows and a longer one of 7 km (3 hours) marked with red arrows. Both start at a gate at the top of Tippers Creek Road between Amsterdamhoek and Bluewater Bay. The trail takes a circular route via the escarpment overlooking Amsterdamhoek returning through valley bushveld on the plateau.
Amsterdamhoek is named after a Dutch man-of–war, the Amsterdam, which ran aground near the mouth of the river on 16 December 1817. The walks are suitable for reasonably fit persons, who are advised to walk in a group, wear stout shoes and take a sunhat and drinking-water.
No dogs are allowed.
The dense, stunted vegetation known as valley bushveld seen along the trail has adapted to the arid climate combined with the shallow clay soils on top of calcareous sandstone. Aloes, especially Aloe pluridens, at the start of the trail make a stunning show when in flower during June/July and attract many sunbirds.
Views from the top of the escarpment are excellent where the lower reaches of the Zwartkops estuary, a major recreational area can be seen. Estuaries are amongst the most productive ecosystems on earth where salt marsh vegetation provides food for mud prawn and other invertebrates living in the intertidal mudbanks, these animals in turn providing a food source for birds and fish. There is also a good view upstream to Redhouse, the Zwartkops Nature Reserve, saltpans and beyond to Uitenhage and Cockscomb, the source of the river.
The trail in places follows old game-tracks worn down over the centuries several centimetres below the level of the surrounding ground by animals. Note how the removal of the valley bushveld binding the clay slopes caused widespread erosion and also how the vegetation has adapted to withstand the dry conditions, different species storing water in leaves, stems or underground bulbs.
Other plants have tough, leathery leaves that do not lose much moisture and many have thorns to protect them from grazing animals. Grysbok are common, whereas bushpig and the rare blue duiker are seldom seen. Formerly this bush supported many game animals, including elephant. The only remaining evidence of the presence of these large mammals is well-worn game tracks and the old wallows. The trail passes through a series of these wallows which can be seen as bush-free depressions that hold water after good rains.
Note: use of the area is at your own risk
Map and Directions to Aloe Hiking Trail
GPS : 33° 51' 8.52" S / 25° 37' 22.76" E
- Take the N2 to the Bluewater Bay exit and turn inland.
- At the T-junction turn left into Hillcrest Drive and first right into Lynda Lane.
- At the T-junction turn right into Maureen Circle and second right into Ada Avenue.
- At the T-junction turn left into Riverside Drive. About 80m on your right are tennis courts. The trail starts here.