After exploring a few destinations further afield from White River in the previous four months we take a look this month at an epic hiking trail just a stone’s throw from White River. The hiking trail up Legogote Mountain from Petra College; situated next to the R538.
Legogote (Lion Rock) Mountain is an impressive landmark between Hazyview and White River. To the east stretches the Lowveld and to the west the escarpment foothills in the Peebles area. The pinnacle is a huge granite rock and stands at 1194 metres above sea level.
Since my arrival in the White River area three years ago my eyes have always wandered north towards Legogote. It is such a distinctive landmark that it can be seen from dozens of kilometers away on a clear day. I’ve seen it in fact a few times from the top of Nelshoogte Pass which is about eighty kilometers south of Legogote as the crow flies.
A friend whom I play squash against volunteered to show me the way up to the summit. We started just after eight on a Sunday morning from the Petra College entrance off the Numbi Road. The hike starts with a steep angle for the first hundred metres but then becomes much more tolerable from there onward.
The path is well trodden and easy to follow. It winds through two forests and after forty five minutes of hard hiking we reached the last section before the summit. There are two tricky rock scrambles before you reach the top. A 360 degree view of the Lowveld greets you once at the top. The summit marker was infested with gnats and we only spent a short while there before moving down to the bottom tier.
There was a bit of haze but we could still see Crocodile Gorge to the south east, the Barberton mountain range to the south, the Kaapschehoop escarpment to the south west, Spioenkop close to Sabie and the Graskop escarpment to the north.
We also visited the Bushman paintings in the rock overhang just below the summit. This little cave would make the perfect overnight location for some stunning night photography. We hung around a bit longer to enjoy the views and then decided to make our way back as the humidity and temperature were rising fast.
We arrived back at the car park before noon. A small piece of advice though. Don’t underestimate the hike by not taking enough water with you. The humidity of the Lowveld means you expend much more liquid than at the cooler high altitudes of for instance the Drakensberg. If you’re a Lowvelder or an avid hiker passing through the area this is an absolute must-do hike.