The Shale Trail is one of two hiking trails in the natural area of the Garden. The trail is fairly steep at the beginning. Named after the dominant rock in the Garden, Malmesbury shale, the trail is approximately 1 km long and will take about 30 minutes to walk. The trail starts near the upper parking area. It is a circular route that ends near the spring annual beds, slightly to the right (east) of where one started. See the map for orientation.
The trail is well worth hiking throughout the year.
In spring the whole area suddenly bursts into a colourful display of reds, yellows, pinks and purples. Vygies(mesembs) include Drosanthemum speciosum, Lampranthus haworthii and Ruschia caroli. Yellow flowering Pteronia incana and Haworthia herbaceaflower during the same period.
Summers can be colourful too – the botterboom (Tylecodon paniculatus) gives colour to an otherwise barren landscape. In summer temperatures can reach 43°C and it is recommended that visitors who intend to hike start early in the day.
Autumn flowering bulbs include Brunsvigia josephinae and Haemanthus coccineus. Conophytum ficiforme (Buttons) and various oxalis species in flower in May.
In winter Aloe microstigma brightens up cold winter days with its orange yellow inflorescence. The Hex River Mountains in the distance, along with most mountain ranges in the area, are usually covered in snow in the winter, creating a lasting impression.
Items to take with you when hiking include: water bottle, sunscreen, hat, hiking shoes, sunglasses and a long sleeved shirt in summer to stop your arms from getting sun burnt.
Both the Shale Trail and the Grysbokkie Trail in the natural area of the Garden are open to all our visitors. The trails are walked at visitor’s own risk. Please take note of the Gardens rules and regulations.