Hiking, Trails and Routes

ID #3376

Lower Guineafowl Trail, Sunshine Coast, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

The 7.5-km trail starts at the Third Avenue dip in Newton Park, leading down river to Settlers Park and Brickmakers Kloof.  The trail is not difficult for those that are reasonably fit.  However, the river is crossed on numerous occasions on stepping-stones and these may become hazardous or impassable after rain.  It is advisable to walk in a group, wear stout shoes and take a sunhat and drinking water. It is part of a 20-km trail running from near Brickmaker’s Kloof near the harbour to the N2 freeway at Rowallan Park. The trail runs alongside the Baakens River, which is about 23-km long and has its source in the Hunters retreat area, entering the sea through the harbour. The trail passes through a steep-sided valley below city suburbs for its full length.

On leaving the Third Avenue dip, the trail meanders along the river floodplain. Sections of the valley are infested with alien vegetation, the removal of which is a slow and costly process.  Look out for the biological controls introduced onto such plants – rust fungus on the Port Jackson, a gall wasp on the longleaved wattle and a weevil on the Sesbania. Also, keep a lookout for the varied indigenous birds and animals.

Where the path climbs above the floodplain the vegetation consists of Eastern Cape fynbos, which reaches its eastern limit in Port Elizabeth. There is also a good scattering of succulents.  Patches of valley bushveld, consisting of small trees and bushes can be seen, especially in the kloofs that enter from the northern side and act as seasonal tributaries of the river.  A high, sheer, knife-edge spur protruding into the valley from Linkside is crossed by a boardwalk of steps which descends to the boundary of Dodd’s Farm.  This is at present being redeveloped as a picnic area/arboretum.  Access to the trail can be gained through Dodds Farm from Ninth Avenue, Walmer.

Crossing the river near Bats Cave, the trail leads to the left and traverses open veld through the old Trollip’s Farm. It passes through a wooded section of valley bushveld and crosses the river twice before leading on to Target Kloof. The trail passes under the road bridge and crosses the river again to follow the floodplain below the Alsatian Club.  A steep path leads up to Wellington Park and descends into the Essexvale section of Settlers Park.  The trail then follows the main route through Settlers Park.  Before proceeding any further, look up at Lovers Rock, home of the rare Peregrine falcon.  The next river crossing, mostly dry, brings one to a choice of two routes – turn left up the tarred Jan Smuts Walk to reach the main car-park or carry on through Settlers Park to eventually reach Barnes Quarry and the Brickmakers Kloof entrance.  While in Settlers Park you might see guinea fowl, peafowl, mountain tortoise (leopard tortoise), dassies, mongoose and, if you are lucky, grysbok and the beautiful Knysna lourie.  Please remember that this is a nature reserve and the usual regulations apply (no dogs, do not disturb the wildlife, do not pick or damage the vegetation). BALower

Contct:            Parks and Recreation Department
City of Port Elizabeth   

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Last update: 2014-05-30 12:22
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.2

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