The best way, in our opinion, to really appreciate the natural beauty of Cata is on foot. Early mornings are punctuated by the call of the endangered Cape Parrot, foraging in the forests and along the yellowwood lined Cata stream, which flows below the village.
Trained guides are available to accompany you on hiking, mountain biking and heritage trails. These trails are an exeptional eco-tourism experience – developed to traverse through some of the most beautiful and scenic sections of the forests and grasslands surrounding Cata Village. Follow each trail’s different colour marker, in the shape of a Cape Parrot painted on a white background to show direction. There are hiking trails to suit any level of fitness:
ISIWANE TRAIL (BLUE) 2.5km Isiwane, translated means “forest undergrowth”. Starting just below the chalets, this trail runs in a figure eight and traverses through the Skafu forest, grasslands and sections of the Xhosa village. Follow the markers to the Yellowwoods, continue along to the waterfall, from here continue along the trail back to Yellowwoods (ideal picnic spot). From here, cross the small stream and continue back along the trail, keeping right and following the contours of the hillside with views of the old homesteads and kraals below. You will emerge from the forest futher along at the old gravesite and the last section of the trail takes you to Cata village, where you can interact with the villagers and their traditional ways, and then back to the chalets.
AMACHIBI TRAIL (GREEN) 5km Amachibi, translated mean “forest pan” – referring to the small pools of water that are found in the forests along this trail. The trail starts at the main gate to the chalets and some sections can be a little demanding with steep ascents and descents. It traverses sections of the Skafu and Nyanga forest, as well as a section of grassland with spectacular views of the Geju peak above you. A few small, revitalising streams are crossed along this trail. At the last portion of the trail you will arrive at a junction within the forest – you can either turn left onto the Ingxangxasi Trail (Red) to continue to Waterfall Forest, or alternatively turn right and continue back to the chalets.
INGXANGXASI TRAIL (RED) 3.5km Ingxangxasi, translated means “waterfall” – referring to the sound of the waterfalls cascading into clear pools found along the Cata River within the aptly named Waterfall Forest. This is an out and return trail with a short loop at the end with the option of continuing onto the Amatola Hiking Trail. This trail starts at the entrance to the chalets. Follow the markers to Nyanga Forest, exiting at the remains of an old cattle kraal, then winding your way down through grassland to Waterfall Forest with wonderful views of the valley and forest below. At the head of the trail you have the option of following the loop back to the chalets, or continue along to the Amatola Trail (yellow footprint markers) along to the Cata huts (you need to make prior arrangements with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries to utilise these). The trail follows the course of the Cata stream, with requent plunging waterfalls and numerous places to stop, rest or swim. The trail leaves the stream at an overhanging rock before climbing through scrub forest and grassland to join up with the main trail back to the chalets.
The more adventurous and fit hiker may want to walk part of the AMATHOLE HIKING TRAIL which goes past the waterfall on the Amachibi Trail.