Your Guide to the Drakensberg and Natal Midlands

Drakensberg Hiking Trails

Hiking trails in the Drakensberg offer something for everyone. Whether you prefer to stroll through secluded, shaded valleys, walk the rolling foothills, hike the upper reaches or take on the challenge of man against mountain, the Drakensberg is certainly a hikers paradise. The nicest thing about hiking trails in the Drakensberg is that there are so many fascinating landmarks that can be reached with a comfortable walk and the minimum of climbing.

Fires

While fires enhance camp-side atmosphere they are highly dangerous and are banned from the wilderness area. (Fires are allowed at official camp sites only.) The ecology of the Drakensberg is extremely sensitive to fire and an untimely fire could spell out extinction for some species

Most resorts, hotels and camps in the Drakensberg can recommend a wide variety of routes, from a short easy amble through indigenous fern forests to admire a nearby attraction, to more strenuous one-day hikes that trail over river and hillside - or head for the more imposing high ground. There is nothing to beat walking or hiking in the high country. You will breathe clean, crisp mountain air as you revel in the sights and sounds of nature.  I have compiled a comprehensive list of the available Drakensberg hiking trails below. Try one and you can have sensational memories of finishing an outing with an exhilarating dip in a clear crystal pool hidden in the sandstone bedrock. 

Our recommended Drakensberg Hiking Trails For first time visitors to the Drakensberg see my list on Drakensberg trails for tourists with limited time.

Drakensberg hiking trailsWalking and hiking in the Drakensberg is safe and secure - provided that a few simple ground rules are observed:

In winter, the higher reaches become spectacular snow-scapes, with the valley and peaks transformed into a wonderland of white. But if you are adventuring at this time of year, you need to be aware that glorious sunny days can quickly turn into misty, snowy conditions. So it is essential that you sign the hiking register at the beginning of the trail, before heading out.

In summer the Drakensberg is idyllic with bird-song, luxuriant grasses and wildflowers, and cool streams cascading through gorges and rock pools. But if you are setting out on a walk on even the most benign summer afternoon, be alert for sudden thunderstorms that seem to come from nowhere followed by short spells of unseasonal cold. So in addition to a camera, carry a jersey or rain jacket, preferably with a torch and some chocolate in the pockets

Overnight in a cave while on a Drakensberg hiking trailThe most popular starting location in the Drakensberg is Monks Cowl. However Giants Castle offers just even more beautiful scenery without being so touristy. The Southern Drakensberg is without a doubt best experienced at Kamberg where added to the stunning trails spectacular Bushman Paintings can be viewed. 

If you are interested in more information about the Drakensberg or accommodation in the Drakensberg then contact us and we will be glad to assist.

Recommended Hiking Tails

Day hiking trails in the Northern Drakensberg:

Hiking trails in Royal Natal National Park

  • A beareded vulture can be a delight while on a Drakensberg hiking trailAmphitheatre to Cathedral Peak
    4 to 5 days (62kms)
    The route passes parts of the Drakensberg including the Amphitheatre, Mbundini, Mnweni and The Rockeries, The Saddle and The Cathedral range.
  • Devil's Hoek Valley
    A fairly easy hike of 1hr(3km)
    The path gets progressively steeper and the views more spectacular. Royal Natal National Park. The route takes you from the Tugela River Carpark along the the Tugela Valley and then up the Devil's Hoek tributary
  • Mckinley's Pool, Gudu Falls, The Grotto
    Moderate distances, the route is well marked and fairly easy to hike and explore. There are many clear rock pools where you could enjoy a swim. Royal Natal National Park, numerous trails leading off from the Mahai Campsite up the river valley to Mckinley's Pool.
  • Mont-Aux-Sources via Basutho Gate and The Chain Ladder
    10hrs (20kms)
    The hike starts from the Mahai River Campsite, follows the Mahai River Valley, passes the Witsieshoek Mountain Resort, to the Sentinel carpark and up the Chain Ladder to the escarpment.
  • Caves

    The rock paintings in the caves in the Drakensberg are all we have left to remind us of the rich heritage of the Bushmen who once lived here. The paintings are acknowledged to be the most skilled examples of this type of paining in the world. These paintings are part of our national heritage and hikers are not permitted to camp in a cave with paintings.

    Otto's Walk & Bushman Paintings
    An easy walk of 1hr (2kms)
    The path leads up the Sigubudu Valley to some fine examples San rock paintings. Royal Natal National Park, begin at the visitor's centre and takes you along the Tugela River and continues towards the park gate.
  • Rugged Glen to Mahai
    5-6hrs (14kms)
    Rugged Glen is a nature reserve connected by road to the Mahai Campsite.
  • Sigubudu Ridge and Valley
    A moderate hike of 4-5 hrs (12km)
    The path takes you through Protea Veld, past Sunday Falls to Fairy Glen. Royal Natal National Park. This is a round trip from Mahai Campsite via Sigubudu Valley.
  • Tugela Gorge
    A moderate hike of + 2 hrs (7km)
    The route goes through alternative stretches of protea veld and forest, and the scenery beyond the gorge is rivaled only by the view from the top of the Tugela Falls.
  • Vemaan Valley
    A fairly easy hike of 1hr. 45mins (4.3km)
    A rare species of protea, known as protea nubigena has been found here. Royal Natal National Park. Follow the same route as for Devil's Hoek Valley, but 1 km after turning right at the junction leading up to Devil's Hoek, the Vemaan Path leads off to the left over the Devil's Hoek River.
Compasses

Some hikers swear by, while others scorn the use of a compass. Many people still blunder their way through the bush without a clue of how a compass works. And that fine so long as the paths are kept to. If you go off the paths then a compass and a 1:50 000 map are very useful tools and learning to use them is fun

Hiking trails at Mnweni

  • Icidi Pass
    An extreme round trip of a minimum of 3 days. The hike starts at the Isanlwana Police Post in the Mweni Valley and follows the Icidi River to the escarpment. It requires serious, potentially dangerous rock scrambling, and should only be attempted by experienced, competent mountaineers. In the Icidi Valley which is in upper Tugela area of the KwaZulu-Natal Northern Drakensberg area.
  • Ifidi Pass
    Ifidi Valley, Mnweni.
    An extreme round trip of a minimum of 3 days. From the Isandlwana Police Post follow the Mnweni River to its junction with the Ifidi River. The route then follows the Ifidi River and up Ifidi Pass. This hike should be led only by competent mountaineers with able parties, as it requires rock climbing. It is a potentially dangerous route.
  • Mbundini and Fangs Passes
    An extreme hike of 2 days (27 kms)
    Two steep passes in the Mnweni area leading to the top of the escarpment and enclosing Mbundini Abbey Peak. These passes are steep and dangerous and should not be attempted by the inexperienced. 
  • Mnweni via Rockeries and Mnweni Passes
    An extreme hike of 4 days (48 kms)
    An extremely long and difficult hike which begins at the Isandlwana Police Post in the Mnweni area. The first day would take you to the base of the Rockeries Pass, the second to the top and Mponjwane or Ledgers Cave, the third down the base of Mnweni Pass and the fourth back to the police post.
  • nTonyelana Pass
    An extreme round trip of a minimum of 2 days. A long route to the top of the escarpment from the Isandlwana Police Post, following the Ntonjelana River.

Day hiking trails in the Central Drakensberg:

Hiking trails at Cathedral Peak

  • Blue Pool and Nyosi Grotto
    A easy 2 hrs or 5.5 kms hike
    A short hike in the Cathedral Peak area, starting from the hotel and following the Nyosi River southwards.
  • Cathedral Peak Hike
    An extreme 6 to 7 hrs hike - 10km.
    A long arduous hike requiring a high level of fitness. Starts from Cathedral Peak Hotel, up the path to the Cathedral Ridge. Rock scrambling is often necessary due to rock slides on the gully below the peak.
  • Clothing

    There are 2 basic considerations to bear in mind on what clothing to take along.
    - the number of changes of clothing required
    - the size of your pack

    I take a change of two of underwear and a couple of T-shirts, a winter fleece and a jersey, 1 pair of shorts and 1 pair of jeans, a good lightweight raincoat. This way I am prepared for all types of weather.

    Socks are something not to be skimped on. Carry 3 pairs of light cotton socks and 3 pairs of heavy hiking socks. On long routes I wash my underwear on route and dry them on the top of my pack.

    Finally never ever forget a hat.

    Contour Path - Cathedral Peak to Ndedema
    A moderate to severe hike of 3 hours or 3.5 kms
    A long hard hike. Starts at Cathedral Peak Hotel, up to contour path below Cathedral range and follow it southwards. Hike passes underneath the main escarpment and back down the Ndedema Gorge.
  • Contour Path- Ndedema to Monk's Cowl
    A moderate 2 day hike(27.5 kms)
    A severe hike which starts at the contour path at the upper end of the Ndedema Valley. This is reached via the solar cliffs path in the Cathedral area, or via the Hikes' Pass route up to the contour path. The hike follows the contour path southwards traversing the Mdedela Wilderness area.
  • Ganabu Ridge and Baboon Rock
    A severe 6 hr hike(15kms)
    The hike starts on the Cathedral Peak route and then branches off to the right, going down into the Nxwaye valley, up the Ganabu Ridge and down Baboon Rock.
  • Mlambonja Pass to Twins Cave
    A severe 6-8 hrs hike (11 kms)
    From Cathedral Peak Hotel the path follows the river past the trout hatchery and up to the top of the little berg above the mlambonja river. The pass is consistently very steep and long.
  • Mlambonja Valley (3)
    A moderate 30 mins - 2 hrs hike (1,5 - 5,2 kms)
    There are three hikes, the lower valley 1,5 km, neptunes pool 4,2 km and marble baths 5,2 km. The Mlambonja Pass Route bypasses most of the lower river valley. All hikes begin at the Cathedral Peak Hotel.
  • Mushroom Rock
    A fair 1 hr hike (2 kms)
    This is a fairly steep hike, which leads up behind the hotel to a large mushroom-shaped rock.
  • Old Furrow Trail
    There are displays along the route which makes the trail is convenient for school groups. The trail gives views of the Bushman's River and wild animals especially buck may be seen in the open grassland. Picnic sites are available.
  • Oqalweni Forest Walk
    An easy 2 hrs hike (5.5 kms)
    This route is ideal for hikers who prefer secluded outings. It starts from the Cathedral Peak Hotel, past the trout hatchery and along the Oqalweni River to a waterfall and pool.
  • Oqalweni Valley
    A moderate 5 hrs hike (16.5 kms)
    This hike gives you a grand tour of the valley. The path passes through a number of habitats. It starts at the Cathedral Peak path past Shermans Cave, but takes the left fork of the contour path around the top of the Oqalweni Valley and back down one tree hill.
  • Equipment

    Stoves
    Essential for cooking and making tea for which ones body seems to crave in the mountains. Gas cartridge cookers are convenient and popular but are less efficient than benzene and paraffin stoves.

    Tents
    Beware of the cheap versions. Often the material and stitching is inferior, does not last long and you will find yourself feeling wet and cold and silly.

    Containers
    Put everything in plastic household containers. Especially the matches. 

    Don't forget a torch, Swiss army knife and a map.

    Rainbow Gorge
    A fair 2 hrs hike (5.5 kms)
    This is probably one of the most picturesque hikes in the area. From the hotel skirt the base of Tryme Hill westwards, then eastwards on the path into the gorge. Once in the gorge itself the path follows the river.
  • Tarn and Tryme Hills
    A hike of4 hrs (10 kms)
    This half-day outing affords grand views of the escarpment and close up encounters with some high spires and butresses, as well as the possibility of exploring the forests around the available falls, all on the same stream, a tributory of the Mhlonhlo River.
    Cathedral Peak, Central Drakensberg.
  • Tseketseke Camp Site
    A moderate -severe 4 hrs hike (9.5 kms)
    This hike takes one into the mountains directly below Cleft Peak which dominates the area betweeen Cathedral Peak and Champagne Castle.
  • Two Passes and Cleft Peak Escarpment Hike
    An extreme 3 days hike (40 kms)
    The route starts at the top of Mike's Pass near Cathedral Peak Hotel, up the long ridge and the very steep Organ Pipes Pass. Traverse the escarpment and descend via Mlambonja Pass. This hike is classified extreme and for good reason. Not to be undertaken by the unfit or inexperienced. Mike's Pass to Cathedral Peak Hotel via Organ Pipes.
Hints to help you enjoy your hiking

The secret to enjoyable hiking is to take it easy and slow. You have to find your own pace and forget about walking in step with others. In fact you should not consider walking with people who won't accommodate your pace. In the rush to get to the top of the mountain don't forget why you are there. Stop at your leisure, swim in the streams, make tea, look at the view, the birds, the clouds and just day dream.

Finally carry as little as you can, it makes the going so much easier.

Hiking trails at Monks Cowl and Champagne Castle

  • Champagne Castle Via Gray's Pass
    An extreme 19 hrs hike (19 kms)
    The trail goes up the Mhlwazini Valley, between Champagne Castle and Dragon's Back on the right and Monk's Cowl on the left, with views so dramatic that if the path doesn't take your breath away, the secenery surely will.
  • Contour Path- Monk's Cowl to Injasuti
    A moderate 9 hrs hike (21 kms)
    This hike is the longest, hardest and least used of three possible routes between Monk's Cowl and Injasuti Camp. The most commonly used path is the Van Heynigen's Pass & Shada Ridge.
  • Crystal Falls and Sphinx
    A fair 1 hr 20 mins hike (3 kms)
    The path leads south then west across to the Sphinx and further to Breakfast Stream. This hike is the beginning section of all hikes radiating from the Monk's Cowl KZN Wildlife office.
  • Fern Forest
    An easy 30 minutes (1 kms)
    This is a short walk along a forested stream to a waterfall and a picnic spot.
  • Mhlwazini Valley Trail
    A severe 9 hrs hike (24 kms)
    From the Monks Cowl Camp Site the route ascends the sphinx, and contours around the top of the Hlatikulu Forest. From there is heads down into the Mhlwazini Valley and along the river.
  • Stable Cave Trail
    A moderate 4 hrs hike (9.5 kms)
    The route ascends the Steilberg to the top of the little berg. The cave looks north from a narrow ridge of the Little Berg Plateau towards the Valley of Pools.
  • Sterkspruit Falls and Gorge
    A moderate - severe 6 hrs hike (15 kms)
    This is a pleasant outing involving some boulder hopping and river crossings. Start at Monks Cowl Campsite following the Serkspruit River into the gorge. The return route is further south, running eastwards across the little berg, down to the Sphinx and Loops down to the campsite. Long and severe.
Blisters

The surest way to ruin any hike and invite disaster is to get blisters. They are easily prevented by wearing 2 pairs of socks. If your boots are new rub dry soap on the heal of your outer socks. At the first sign of a blister STOP and put on a large plaster over the area. Little plasters don't work.

Hiking trails in Giant's Castle Game Reserve and Injasuthi 

  • Bannerman Hut
    A severe 4.5 hrs hike (11 kms)
    A long hike from the Giant's Camp northwest along a clear path, with an early start it is easy to make the hut by mid-morning. The hut must be booked through KZN Nature Conservation Service.
  • Battle Cave to Injasuti Cave
    A moderate 4 hrs hike (8.5 kms)
    This is a guided tour of the battle cave where a pictorial display of bushman life In this valley complete with a taped guide to the paintings are seen. One can stay for a night at the Lower Injasuti Cave, but bookings must be made in advance for both this and the battle cave tour. Trout fishing, hiki, swimming, curios, charcoal, maps.
  • Berg view
    A fair 2 hrs hike (5 kms)
    A short hike from the Giant's Castle Camp to a popular view point, offering one of the best views of the escarpment, ranging from Giant's Castle to Cathkin Peak.
  • Centenary Hut
    A severe 5 hrs hike (10 km)
    Injasuti. Follow the path Pastfergy's Cave for 4kms to centenary of the contourpath
  • Champagne Pools
    An easy hike (4kms - 1.5 hrs)
    A circular walk starting 1km from Giant's Castle main gate. Secluded pools for swimming and fishing.
  • Giant's Castle Pass
    An extreme 4 hrs or 6 kms hike (from Giants Hut)
    The hike begins at Giant's Castle Camp and continues up to the top of the little Berg, up the very steep Giant's Pass. Not for the inexperienced.
  • Giant's Hut via Oribi Ridge
    A severe 4 hrs hike (10.5 kms)
    An alternative route to Giant's Hut just south of the two dassies stream route. It starts at the main Giant's Castle Camp, climbing steadily to the hut, which must be booked.
  • Grindstone Caves and Cataract Valley
    A moderate 4 hrs hike (13 kms)
    This hike begins at injasuti camp and follows a circular route via Grindstone Caves, the waterfalls and Cataract Valley. The path follows the Mhlwazini River back to the camp.
  • Grysbok Bush
    A fair 2 hrs 30 mins hike (4 kms)
    This hike, starting at Giant's Castle main camp, takes you up the Bushman's River to the largest forest in the Giant's Castle area .
  • Langalibalele Pass
    A severe 3 hrs 30 mins hike (6.5 kms)
    Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle Camp past the main caves. The path is consistently steep although the pass itself is one of the easiest and shortest in the berg.
    Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle camp past the main caves.
  • Main Caves
    An easy 40 mins hike
    This hike leads from the camp, along the river near the edge of a forest, up to the large caves, which are crucial archaeological sites and have been turned into a museum showing the Bushman's way of life. Tours are conducted throughout the year at set times in the company of a field ranger.
  • Marble Baths
    A moderate hike. (8.5kms - 6hrs)
    From Injisuthi Camp follow the route to Fergy's Cave but take the right fork along the Injisuthi River approximately 4kms from the start. You can overnight at the Marble Baths Cave.
  • Meander Hut
    A fair hike. (5.5kms - 2hrs)
    There are two ways to get to this hut, which overlooks the Meander Stream from its perch on top of the cliffs of the Little Berg. The hut accommodates four people and it must be booked.
  • Old Kraal and Yellowwood Forest
    An easy 1 hr hike (2.5 kms)
    This is a short walk in the vicinity of the camp. From the office at Injasuti take the Cowl Stream fork. At the top of the incline turn left to the walls of the old kraal. And shortly after that left again to the old woman stream. After crossing the river turn left and follow the path back to camp.
  • Footware

    For long hikes in the Drakensberg you will need hiking boots. Keep the following in mind and you should cover many kilometers free from the agony of blisters.

    The best hiking boots are made of light-weight nylon and gortex with rubber soles. They give support but are light and comfortable.

    All boots take time to wear in so don't buy them the day before you leave

    Slipper or sandals are great to wear at the camp site and don't take up much space in a pack.

    Waterproof gaiters keep boots dry and socks free of burrs and grass seeds.

    River Walk
    An easy 1.5kms - 30mins hike
    this pleasant stroll has no specific destination and can join the forest walk for a most enjoyable ramble.
  • Spare Rib Cave
    A severe 2 hrs hike (3kms)
    Injasuti. Proceed up Bannerman Pass from Bannerman Hut. The cave is near the top of the escarpment on the left hand side.
  • Van Heyningen's Pass to View Point
    A moderate 3 hrs hike (8 kms)
    This will serve as a hikers' orientation with the surrounding landscapes and major peaks.
  • Wildebeest Plateau
    A moderate 6 hrs hike (18 kms)
    This hike is perfect for a day's outing with opportunties to relax and swim, and to observe the surroundings at leisure.
  • World's view
    A moderate 3 hrs hike (7 kms)
    From the picnic area take the concrete path down to and across Bannerman Bridge. Follow the path to below Sugarloaf Kop and on up to World's View.

Day hiking trails in the Southern Drakensberg:

Packs and Bags

There are many makes and shapes of packs and your pocket will most likely dictate your choice. My advice is don't get a pack that is too big. You just end up taking more than you really want to carry.

A sleeping bag is vital and it must be warm enough for below freezing conditions. Down bags are most common for mountaineering with prices varying with the amount of super fine down used. Down totally looses its insulating capacity when wet. New synthetic fiber bags overcome this problem to some extent but are heavier and bulkier.

I use a down bag, a thin inner sheet for hygiene and a good quality foam mat to insulate the cold from the ground.

Mkomazi Wilderness Area, Kamberg, Loteni, Vergelegen & Sani Pass

  • Ash Cave Trail
    A 4 hours hike (7.5 kms)
    A hike in the Loteni area leading to ash cave in a sandstone band. Follow the right hand fork in the path along the Loteni River. Cave must be booked - sleeps 6.
  • Cypress Cave
    A hike of 2 hours (4.5 kms)
    This is one of the few short hikes in the area a small party can use the cave, which has running water nearby and sleeps six to eight people, depending on the weather.
  • Eagle Trail
    A hike of 6 hrs
    The trail starts from the rest camp in the Loteni Nature Reserve. It is a circular route, taking some 6 hours. No facilities are provided on the trail therfore a lunch pack should be taken and warm clothing is recommended.
  • Gelib Tree Trail
    A hike of 2,5 hrs
    A short trail offering magnificent views. A descriptive leaflet is available from the camp manager.
  • Hlathimbe Pass and Cave
    A hike of 6 - 7 hrs (16 kms)
    The hike begins at Loteni Camp, follows the Ngodwini River path and ascends up to the contour path. It continues up the very steep Hlathimbe Pass and towards Redi then southwards several kms to the cave. Not for the inexperienced. The cave is situated very near to the top of the pass. Sleeps 4.
  • Jacobs Ladder
    A hike of 2km
    Follows the Lotheni River and leads to the spectacular Jacobs Ladder Waterfall.
  • Kamberg Nature Reserve Trails (2)
    A hike of 8 kms
    Two trails with rest spots located along the route. The Mooi River trail has loops each of which is planned to include the physically disabled. The Gladstone's Nose Trail is considered to be one of the most beautiful trails in the Drakensberg. Different species of antelope occur in the area . The trail passes through grassland and indigenous forests. 
  • Mhlangeni Pass and Cave
    A hike of 3 days (30 kms)
    Southern Drakensberg. The hike follows the Mkhomazi and Nhlangeni Rivers.
  • Yellowwood Cave Tarn and Waterfall
    A hike of 2 days (23 kms)
    From the Loteni Camp follow the Loteni River then left along the Masinhlonga Fork. The cave is south-facing and very cold in winter. The route continues up to the contour path, then eastwards back towards the camp.
Mountain hygiene

In Colorado's Grand Canyon, river rafters have to carry their own faeces to prevent degradation of the river ecology. You don't have to go to these lengths in the Drakensberg but there are rules you should follow.

Keep away form using rivers, paths, camp sites and steep slopes for your toilet

Never use soap, shampoo or washing detergent in streams or pools. Carry water from the river and do the washing there. Special detergents that are highly bio-degradable  are less harmful to our environment

Carry all your litter back home with you

Never forget the most important code of the wilderness is to leave as little trace as possible that you were there.

Mzimkulu Wilderness, Cobham & Garden Castle

  • Bushman's Cave and Ngwangwane Pass
    An extreme 6 hrs hike (11 kms)
    A severe hike from the Bushman's Nek Police Post along the Bushman's River westwards. The pass is long and steep. Mzimkulu wilderness area in the KwaZulu-Natal Southern Drakensberg.
  • Emerald Stream Hike
    A fair 3 hrs hike (8.5 kms)
    This hike takes one through fertile country with a magnificant view of Giants Cup.
  • Giant's Cup Trail
    A moderate 2 - 5 days hike (68 kms)
    The hike begins about 5kms beyond Sani Pass Hotel and follows a route below the escarpment southwards to Bushmans Nek, with most of the route at an average height of 1850m. Transport arrangements must be made for the end of the hike. This trail is ideal for the less experienced hiker as it is clearly marked and doesn't ever get that deep into the mountains. It provides great views, and is a very enjoyable trail. The serious hiking can be done in the mornings, and with your backpack in the hut, each hut has options for interesting afternoon side trips.
    Bookings essential.
    Gxalingenwa River Trail
    13 kms about 4 hours. The hike is good for bird watching and game viewing. It follows the Emerald Stream, past indigenous forest to a spectacular waterfall with pools suitable for swimming. It begins on the Sani Pass Road and has good views of Giants Cup. It leads to Gxalingenwa Cave.
  • Hidden Valley
    A moderate 9kms - 3hrs hike
    This hike begins at the Garden Castle main office, via Swimn Hut and along Hidden Valley, returning the same route.
  • Hodgson's Peaks
    A severe 2 - 3 days hike (19 kms)
    The hike starts at Cobham Camp and follows the main Polela River towards the escarpment, the path becomes less clear and the Masubasuba Pass is long and difficult.
  • Food

    The  principle here is light but tasty. Essentials like coffee, tea, milk powder, rice and chocolate should not be forgotten. Hearty and tasty meals can be made in the mountains by using dehydrated vegetables, meat and rice and by adding strong flavorings like cayenne pepper and herbs. Garlic also goes a long way to improving any meal. Onions, peppers and mushrooms are tasty.

    For breakfast muesli and powdered milk satisfy most hikers

    Salami and cheese are good for lunch and can be supplemented with fruit.

    Learn to make bread with self raising flour. This is easy and your status as a mountain gourmet will soar. See our page on becoming a "hiking gourmet"

    Chocolate and whiskey are essential emergency rations so don't skimp

    Lake District
    A moderate 8 hrs - 2 days hike
    There are many caves in the in the area. A network of parts connects the caves and places of interest and allows hikers to amble aroud the section of the Little Berg. Hikes begin from the Cobham Camp. Cobham State Forest area, which is situated close to Himeville.
  • Lammergeyer Cave
    A sever 6 - 8 hrs hike (16.5 kms)
    From the Buskmans Nek Police Post follow the jeep track westwards until the path crosses the Ngwangwane River, and heads up a ridge. Maps and knowledge of the area necessary and cave must be booked. Sleeps 12.
  • Monk and Sleeping Beauty Cave
    A moderate 2 hrs hike (4 kms)
    This is a shorter walk in this area, and rivers, mountain scenery and caves can be enjoyed. It starts at the Rengus Station and follows the Mashai River to sleeping beauty cave and engagement cave a little further on.
  • Pholela River Walk
    A fair 3.5 hrs hike (9 kms)
    A variety of walks start from the Cobham Hutted Camp and follow the Polela River, Emerald Stream and Trout Beck. Trout fishing is possible - with a licence.
  • Sani Pass
    A severe 7 hrs hike (14 kms)
    The hike up the pass begins in the car park 5.5 km past the Sani Pass Hotel. It is long and steep. Passports are necessary at the top.
  • Thomathu Cave and Pass
    A severe 4-5 hrs hike (10 kms)
    This hike follows a well-defined path on the northern flank of the Thomathu Ridge. The cave faces north-east and sleeps a large party. The cave is not very deep though and strong winds can be a problem.
  • Three Pools
    A fair 2 hrs hike (4.5 kms)
    This short walk has two variations; both lead to pools and the extra distance is more than worth the small effort. It starts at the rangers station and heads eastwards

Recommended day trails for beginners and tourists with limited time.

Our recommended Drakensberg Hiking TrailsThe Drakensberg Mountains present three very different perspectives to its hikers. And I recommend you see each of these aspects. I have selected the following as recommended trails because of their ease, spectacular scenery and last but not least they are well off the beaten tourist track. You probably will not even see a single other visitor while walking. And the place to stay while do all this is the Antbear Guest House which is also my favorite B&B in South Africa

1. Day trail through the lower reaches of the Drakensberg (Northern / Central 'Berg)
Walking the lower reaches below the Drakensberg escarpment is the reason you came to this area. This is the most impressive the Drakensberg has to offer and I recommend Giants Castle Nature Reserve. Try "Worlds View" an easy 3,5 hour hike (14 km) and ends with a spectacular 360 degree view.  More of this walking beneath the escarpment can be found at Injasuti, Monks Cowl, Champagne, Cathedral and Royal Natal. Its similar but the scenery is different and all spectacular.

2. To the top of the Escarpment and the 950m Tugela Waterfall
There is only one place you can reasonably get to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment and back down again in one day and that is at the Sentinel. The drive alone is spectacular. The walk is 5 hours 2,5 hours each way. You ascend the last 20 meters using a chain ladder and are rewarded with a view overlooking the Royal Natal Reserve. Also you are at the source of the Tugela river where it falls some 950m. 2nd highest in the world.

3. San (Bushman) rock art in the Southern Drakensberg
Kamberg offers the most spectacular examples of rock art to be found in South Africa. There are many places where Bushman rock art can be found but this is one of the few sites where your imagination is not a prerequisite. Kamberg is situated in the southern Drakensberg (More sandstone and valleys than the spectacular basalt of further North) which gives you another opportunity to experience a different aspect of our Drakensberg.

Drakensberg day walks and walking trails

 

 

 

 

Other Accommodation

Central Drakensberg

Winterten

 

Featured Accommodation

Guest house in the Drakensberg Mountains South Africa
This guest house is perfectly situated to explore the Central Drakensberg region

Central Drakensberg Links

The Central Drakensberg

Giants Castle

Champagne Castle

Cathedral Peak

Request information about accommodation in the Central Drakensberg

Accommodation in the Central Drakensberg from SafariNow.Com

Central Drakensberg South Africa

Central Drakensberg tours and accommodation  - South Africa Tours

Central Drakensberg

Drakensberg Boys Choir School

The towns and places of the Drakensberg

Estcourt - South Africa

My Favorite Hiking Trails in the Drakensberg

 

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