at Zebra River Lodge

Hiking the Sabuta trail


The Sabuta Trail is a loop trail that starts and ends at the lodge and on average takes +/- 6 hrs.

Length: 10km

Duration: +/- 6 hours

Ascend: 400m

The Sabuta Trail is an extension of the Quiver Tree Trail and is +/- 2.5 hours longer.



Walk, past room 12 & 13 and slightly to the right. Turn left at the markers, walking up to the cliffs and follow the markers (piles of stone) along the face of the cliff for +- 20 min, running parallel with the road – road on your right-hand side. After that time, you will find yourself at the entrance of the canyon on your left, this junction is marked with 2 large cairns. The path splits here and you will see the cairns/markers going straight on and also left into the canyon. Follow the cairns into the canyon. The path leads alongside the dry riverbed towards a fig tree growing out if the opposite bank. Head towards this tree & walk into the riverbed. In front of you will see the fossilized remains of some algae that dominated the seabed some 555 million years ago. It is the large area of black/grey rock on the riverbed that appears to be ripple or tubed. In the bank opposite you can see the cross-section of these early life forms. These are called “Thrombolites” (for more information regarding these life forms read John Grotzingers report for the layman with is available at the lodge). These “Thrombolites” also contain the oldest shelly fossil in the world, known as Namacalathus or the Namagoblet. Next you follow the cairns/markers up the hill behind the river until you reach the saddle and then turn left and continue following the cairns/markers upwards. As you crest the ridge you will see your goal – the Quiver Tree Plateau – ahead of you & slightly to your right. Remember that you are basically walking in a loop and going to the left. Follow the cairns towards the plateau & eventually you will come to and old car track. (If you turn left and follow the car track you will end up back at the lodge), but then you’ll miss the fantastic views from the Quiver Tree Plateau itself). Cross the car track & head up a small gully 7 following the cairns/markers again continue towards the base of the Quiver Tree Plateau. The path takes you round the back (west-side) of the plateau and up to a saddle between the plateau & Nell’s Hump (large rounded hill opposite). There is a large cairn in the saddle. The Quiver Tree Plateau is now to your left & a quick 5m scramble will take you onto the plateau & to the tree itself where you will have a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. After you have rested at the Quiver Tree, start your homeward journey back down the saddle & continue following the cairns towards Nell’s Hump. After +/- 150 meters you will come to a cairn with an arrow next to it. Here the path splits into the direction of the lodge and the Sabuta trail. If you want to walk the Sabuta Trail follow the yellow markers/arrows. Having got to the point where the arrows/markers start, continue forward and upward in the direction of Nell’s Hump. After a brief climb you will reach a rock with an arrow on it pointing right. Now follow the markers along the side of Nell’s Hump till you reach the next saddle. At this point there is only one way to go and that is up! Go through the gab in the fence and head straight up. It is steep and there is no correct path; just head for the top. Once on the top walk along the ridge to the highest point, (+/- 1600 m above sea level). Take a good look around. You should be able to see the lodge some 250 m below. To your right in the hillside opposite a path down, which is the one you are going to follow… Follow the cairns with markers on them down and towards the edge or the canyon. When the markers run out just continue walking the canyon edge and you will pick up markers on the other side where they meet a car track. Turn left and follow the car track down. At one point the track appears to turn away from the main road at the bottom. Turn left and make your way back to the lodge for that well-earned beer.


Map of Sabuta Trail at Zebra River Lodge

Trail suitable for: