This spectacular sandstone Mountain is a backdrop for the town of Zastron, in the South-Eastern Free State Province of South Africa. At 2207 m (approx. 7240 imperial feet), it is the highest peak in the province, and takes its name from the Cape vulture (Gyps Coprotheres) which favours its cliffs for nesting. In Afrikaans, 'aasvoel' = vulture, and 'berg' = Mountain. It is the site of the only colony, of Cape Vultures in the Orange Free State.
The Aasvoelberg is famous for its 'Eye', a hole of 9 metres (approx. 29.5 imperial feet) in diameter in a rocky crag. The Zastron storyteller Reinier de Winnaar, on whose farm the town was founded, took responsibility for making this. One day, so the legend goes, he was out hunting below the cliffs with his ancient rifle, when he met the devil. Mistaking his weapon for a pipe, the devil asked for a draw. De Winnaar loaded an extra powder charge and obligingly put the muzzle in the devil's mouth, lit the fuse and blew the devil's head right through the mountain. "Wraggies!" ("Damn it!", in Afrikaans) said the devil after a moment, "That tobacco is a bit on the rough side!"
The estimate terrain Elevation Above Sea Level is, 2182 metres. Variant forms of spelling for Aasvoëlberg or in other languages: Aasvogelberg, Aasvoëlberg, Aasvoelberg, Aasvogelberg, Aasvoëlberg.
The Aasvoelberg Hiking Trail in the South Eastern Free State Xhariep Region is a 23km circular 2 day trail that takes you from Zastron in the scenic Foothills of the Maluti Mountains up Aasvoelberg – the highest peak in the Maluti Range at 2207m on the border with Lesotho. The Route of this Hike is known for its sandstone rock formations – particularly a 9 metre hole in the Rock face above Zastron called Die Oog (The Eye Of Zastron) Aasvoelberg. Also Mushroom Rock, Face Rock and The Tunnel. The trail also takes you to natural Springs and several Waterfalls, and the views are beautiful and wide. The Zastron Area is also known for its diversity of bird species, including a number of raptor species such as vultures, kites and eagles. The Free State’s only colony of Cape Vultures is found on the Aasvoelberg, after which the Mountain is named! The Zastron Area is also famous for San Rock Art.
Overnight Accommodation, is a Hut equipped with basic amenities, bunks and mattresses and a braai area for cooking. Starting at the Zastron Municipal Caravan Park, the trail is rated as tough, moving through different Terrains, from Grassland to Mountains and is limited to 12 people. Permits are required!
Howcroft, P. (undated). South Africa Encyclopaedia: Prehistory to the year 2000, unpublished papers with by SA History Online. South African Place Names by Peter E. Raper