Jock of the Bushveld Trail, Mpumalanga
Did you know?
Jock was shot and killed by a farmer who mistook him for another dog.
Mpumalanga's Jock of the Bushveld Trail is a circular day-walk through montane grassveld that takes you up to the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment, treating you to stunning views overlooking Pinnacle Gorge.
These were the same routes that Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, then a lowly ox-wagon transport-rider and not yet knighted, rode and hiked along in the 1880s as he and his beloved Staffordshire terrier Jock delivered supplies to the Pilgrim's Rest goldfields all the way from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) in Mozambique.
Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, known as 'Fitz' in his book, used to tell the true tales of his and Jock's adventures as bedtime stories for his four children. His friend, Rudyard Kipling, encouraged him to write a book and so the much-loved South African classic Jock of the Bushveld was born.
The Jock of the Bushveld Trail offers several paths for you to follow. The office at the Municipal Holiday Resort in Graskop where you start and end your hiking trail will provide you with a useful route map that shows the way plus points of interest along the route.
Whether you choose the three- or five-hour trail, you'll pass into Fairyland, just 1km southeast of Graskop, where you'll see giant sandstone rock formations, described by Fitzpatrick as 'grey sentinels of fantastic shapes'. You'll have no trouble spotting the Sea horse, the Vulture, the Wolf and the Sitting Hen.
Then it's a steep climb up the escarpment – if you're walking-fit you'll easily manage it – along a stream called 'Tumbling Waters' by Fitzpatrick. He and Jock made their summer camp here on top of the escarpment.
There are superb views from the escarpment's edge, so sit a while and soak up the scenery before ambling back to the Municipal Holiday Resort.