Adventurous souls looking for a a day out in nature will rejoice in all that Giba Gorge has to offer. If you decide to hike to Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge, you will be rewarded with not one, not two, but THREE beautiful waterfalls!
What’s fantastic about this is that you can stop at any point when you feel tired but still having seen a waterfall.
This makes the trail suitable for all fitness levels, ages and preferences.
Mackintosh Waterfall is the furthest waterfall I hiked to at Giba Gorge which was a total round trip of 8km. All hikes begin at the same starting point.
In this post I will outline each waterfall, the fitness level needed and what I recommend. But first, let’s start with the basics:
How do I get to Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge?
I drove here with my own vehicle (regular sedan). I do not recommend trying to us public transport to get here.
Furthermore, I always advise non-South Africans to rent a car when visiting the country for flexibility and safety.
Google Maps has TWO Giba Gorge location pins; choosing the correct one is key. You need to head to the mountain bike park and NOT the nature reserve. Yes you read that correctly. The correct pin can be found below:
All hikes start and end at the entrance to the mountain park which has toilets, a cafe, a shop and a picnic area.
Do not go to the nature reserve as you will get horribly lost.
You will start heading towards an area called Stockville Once you start seeing the signs for Giba Gorge and Giba Business Park, you will encounter around 2km of dirt road. This is manageable for all cars (unless your car is extremely low). You’ll eventually see the entrance to the mountain bike park where you’ll pay the entrance fee and make your way to the parking lot. The dirt road looks like this:
How much does it cost to visit Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge?
The cost of admission for doing any hike- or even just entering the property- is R40 per adult.
However there are different rates for other activities so I suggest consulting their website for more details.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge?
All trails start from the restaurant; you can ask the staff for help to point out your route. The path to Mackintosh Falls follows the purple route to Les Cascades and then becomes the yellow route to Mackintosh.
Waterfall 1: Giba Falls
A leisurely flat walk lasting around 15-20 minutes from the restaurant. Suitable for all fitness levels. The last 100m involve walking over rocks if you want to go closer to the waterfall. You can go all the way into the waterfall but the water is shallow.
Waterfall 2: Les Cascades
A further 15 minutes takes you to this gem. In order to get closer, you might have to leap over some rocks. The path to this waterfall has some inclines but isn’t incredibly taxing. Beginners can definitely manage the route but you cannot swim here.
Waterfall 3: Mackintosh Falls
It will take another 30-40 minutes to reach Mackintosh Falls. The terrain becomes more challenging and there are ladders and ropes involved. I still believe beginners can do this route however, it’s best to be mentally prepared. The route passes under the N3 highway. Eventually you make it to the falls even though there are some steep inclines.
You can go all the way into the falls and swim if you want but the water is cold! If you decide to go closer to falls (via the rocks) to try to go underneath it, be advised that the ground is mossy and slippery.
At Mackintosh Falls, the trail becomes a loop meaning that you will not go back the way you came. You will begin to follow the signs for “Trail Centre”. The return was a lot quicker as it had a much flatter terrain.
What to wear when hiking Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge?
Regular sneakers will be fine for these trails; in fact you could probably get away with flip flops for the first waterfall.
While most of the hike is shaded, there are some uncovered parts so you might want to bring a hat.
What are the ratings on the Panda Rating Scale?
A great day for the whole family, Giba Gorge has a ton to offer even for those who simply want to sit and enjoy a few beverages in the sunshine. Hiking to Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge offers visitors the opportunity to see stunning natural scenery including 3 impressive waterfalls. In my opinion, the entrance fee of R40 is well worth it, offering a fun morning/afternoon out for families, friends and couples.
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Have you visited Mackintosh Waterfall at Giba Gorge before? Or have I inspired you to visit? Let me know in the comments below!