Walk your way to wellness: 4 spiritual journeys in SA
Can't get to Europe to make the famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela cathedral in Spain? Try one of these homegrown versions instead
1. CAPE CAMINO
Western Cape, 160km
This 160km circular route crosses the Cape Peninsula in a figure of eight. According to their website, it is "set between mountains and oceans ... offering space, adventure, meditation, fellowships, challenges and triumphs".
It was plotted by Gabrielle and Peggy Andrew after they walked to Santiago in 2011. The route is divided into seven legs, so do one or do them all. You can also start anywhere along the route but many choose the Schoenstatt Shrine in Constantia.
2. BAVIAANS CAMINO
Eastern Cape, 93km
Like most South African caminos, the Baviaans route is not about trekking from church to church but rather about having the kind of spiritual experience that walking in a wild place encourages.
The route goes from the Baviaanskloof - one of SA's great wildernesses - and over the Kouga Mountains to the south, traversing remote, undeveloped and mountainous country.
The organisers will transport your baggage between nightstops in farmhouses. You can also do it on horseback.
3. TANKWA CAMINO
Northern/Western Cape, 257km
Billed as a "modern-day Great Trek", this is the big, bad boy of local caminos - a long slog through the sun-baked Tankwa Karoo from Calvinia to Ceres.
With a 10-day duration, the average day's walk is 27km, so a good degree of physical fitness is required.
It's a kind of endurance trek through countryside with horizons so vast that you will feel tiny, which, when you're on a spiritual journey and looking for answers, is a good place to start.
4. DRAKENSBERG GRAND TRAVERSE
There can be few things as mentally and physically tough as walking the entire length of the Drakensberg. The route begins at the Amphitheatre in the Northern Drakensberg and ends at Bushman's Nek in the Southern 'Berg and takes about two weeks.
You will be entirely self-supported, which means carrying everything you need to stay alive. The traverse requires detailed planning and you should take advice from experts who know the mountains well.