Mpumalanga, with its spectacular landscapes and scenic natural beauty, is a hiker’s paradise year-round.

When the cooler months arrive, they bring with them a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to dry climates.

If you are planning a comfortable and enjoyable hiking in Mpumalanga experience during the colder months, we have a list of the things you need to pack and do.

Layering Up for Winter Warmth

The key to staying comfortable in the Mpumalanga winter is layering. Here’s what to pack:

  • Base layer: Opt for thermals made from wool or synthetic materials that wick away moisture. Avoid cotton, which absorbs sweat and chills you down.
  • Mid-layer: A fleece jacket or light down jacket provides excellent insulation.
  • Outer layer: A windproof and waterproof jacket is a must for protection against wind and unexpected rain, although rain in winter is rare on this side of the country.

Gearing Up for the Elements when Hiking in Mpumalanga

Sun protection is essential in Mpumalanga, even in winter. Pack a hat with a brim, sunglasses with UV protection, and sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Don’t forget lip balm with SPF to prevent chapped lips.

Naturally, you should also invest in a good pair of hiking boots that provide ankle support and good traction on potentially slippery trails. Pack gaiters to keep out dust, debris, and moisture.

Keeping Your Skin Happy

Dry winter air can wreak havoc on your skin. Here’s how to keep it hydrated and healthy:

  • Moisturise: Apply a thick, fragrance-free moisturiser to your face and body daily, and reapply throughout the day, especially after sweating.
  • Lip care: Pack lip balm with SPF and apply it liberally to prevent dryness and cracking.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated from the inside out.
Mpumalanga hiking trails in Winter

Essential Extras for Hiking in Mpumalanga

Beyond the basics, here are some additional items to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter hike in Mpumalanga:

  • Pack a headlamp: Even on day hikes, unforeseen circumstances can lead to delayed finishes, meaning you might just arrive back at camp in the dark. A headlamp with a fresh set of batteries ensures you have light if needed.
  • First-aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries with a basic first-aid kit, including bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Navigation tools: A map, compass, or GPS device is essential for safe hiking in Mpumalanga, especially in unfamiliar territory. Knowing how to use them is equally important. Familiarise yourself with your chosen trail beforehand, and let someone know your planned route and estimated return time.
  • Snacks and water: Pack enough high-energy snacks and water to fuel your hike. Trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars are all good options. Dehydration is a risk even in cold weather, so plan to drink water regularly, especially if you’re exerting yourself.

Making the most of the Winter Wonderland

Winter offers a unique perspective on the landscape of Mpumalanga. The crowds are thinner, the skies are often clearer, and the crisp air can be invigorating. If this sounds like the ultimate getaway, then be sure to book your hiking trip at Bermanzi today.