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Sole to Soul: Trekking the Camino in South Africa


The Camino De Santiago walk in Spain has become one of the most popular routes for people seeking a spiritual journey and personal fulfilment.

This multi-day, introspective journey allows walkers to enjoy the diverse landscapes of Spain, its stunning natural scenery, and moments of self-reflection in the solitude of the great outdoors. Today, countless people travel specifically to Santiago de Compostela to complete this walk. However, who says that a spiritually enlightening walk can only be achieved in Spain?

One thing to remember about a Camino is that it is not a mere hike, but rather a sacred walking route.

As such, South Africa is home to one of the most diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna. With natural beauty unmatched elsewhere, countless trails and hiking routes are sure to provide the same experience, allowing the great outdoors to awaken self-reflection, spiritual awareness, and growth.

In this blog, we will delve into some suggested spots for you to embark on your very own Camino walk.


Caminos in South Africa

1. Baviaans Camino Slackpacking

The Baviaans Camino comprises a 94km hike, spanning 4 days. Starting in the Baviaans Region and concluding in Tsitsikamma, this trail promises hikers stunning mountain ranges and captivating scenery with each passing day.

You'll be relieved of the burden of carrying your luggage, tents, or firewood, as these essentials are conveniently transported throughout the journey. The accommodation is rustic, yet still comfortable enough so that you can rest after each day's strenuous activities.

This trail is somewhat isolated, allowing you to free yourself from the modern world for a few days, and completely lose yourself in nature.

2. The Cape Camino

Gabrielle Andrew, the founder of the Cape Camino, asserts that the essence of the Cape Camino resides in the sacred diversity of its community.

Known as The Way of Table Mountain, the Cape Camino epitomises South African diversity across 650 kilometres of mostly off-road pathways.

This 160-kilometre circular route allows pilgrims to commence their journey at any juncture along the way. Each leg of the pilgrimage spans approximately 12-25 kilometres, encompassing diverse terrains including peri-urban areas, beaches, winelands, mountain footpaths, and forests.

At the heart of the Cape Camino lies its ethos: 'Choose your way.' Pilgrims are encouraged to tailor their journey to suit their temperament, fitness level, and aspirations.


3. The Namaqua Camino

While most Camino journeys prioritise the spiritual aspects of the journey, the Namaqua route emphasises the scenic beauty of nature.

Following a rugged terrain, this challenging Camino provides walkers with the chance to experience stunning natural phenomena and spend 5 to 7 days fully immersed in nature.

You will only be expected to carry your day bags during the walks, as the rest of your luggage is transported for you. Namaqualand is best known for its springtime wildflower displays.

4. The Tankwa Camino

If you are searching for a challenging Camino trek, then the Tankwa Camino is the choice for you.

Founded by Danie Pieterse, this Camino was inspired by the European routes, but specifically designed to showcase the beautiful Karoo. Many say that this trek is much tougher than its inspiration - the Camino de Santiago.

This route is a 10-day journey and is approximately 256.6km. Each day consists of roughly 25-31 kilometres, making it a fair bit more demanding physically.

Similar to the above-mentioned Caminos, this too, is a slackpacking adventure, meaning that hikers need only carry their essentials, and the rest of their luggage is transported to their lodges for the night.

The gorgeous Karoo night sky is one of this Camino's main attractions, alongside the unique desert vegetation and absolute solitude.


 What To Pack for a Camino

Preparation is essential, so before you hit the trails, here is a short guide on what to pack:

1. Comfortable Footwear: It’s no secret that your daily walking route is bound to be long and even challenging. Add footwear that pinches your feet, and it is enough to make you miserable! Merrell footwear promises out-of-the-box comfort, therefore, even if your order only arrives a day before your trip, you are still guaranteed comfort.

2. Weather protection: Always pay attention to the season and weather predictions for the duration of your journey. The gorgeous African sun is known to be quite harsh, so you want to ensure you pack sunblock and protection wear. On the other hand, colder conditions have also proven to be uncomfortable in the wrong gear, therefore packing in waterproof attire is necessary.

3. Hydration: The key to completing any long-distance outdoor activity, is to ensure that you are well-hydrated throughout. This will help keep your body going and play a role in preventing heat and exhaustion.

4. First aid supplies: It never hurts to be well-prepared for any emergency. Packing in wound care, or insect sting supplies is always a good idea.

First Aid

Share Your Story

Feeling inspired to embark on your very own Camino journey? Let us know which destination is your route of choice. Merrell lives by the ethos of enjoying all that nature has to offer, because the healing power of the great outdoors is unmatched.

Therefore, if you have not done so already, we challenge all of our Merrell family to take on a Camino of your choice and remember to tag us in your story online!

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