Drakensberg accommodation, Hiking trails and so much more.

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Drakensberg Hiking Trails

Drakensberg hiking trails are many which is not surprising given the huge area of potential Drakensberg hiking. Drakensberg hiking trails offer something for all levels of hiking experience. 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 following Drakensberg hiking trails have been categorised in Northern Drakensberg, Central Drakensberg, Southern Drakensberg and other trails.

Accommodation:
 - Northern 'Berg
 - Southern 'Berg
 - Central 'Berg
 - Giants Castle
 - Royal Natal
 - Champagne Valley
 - Injasuti
 - Kamberg
 - Sani Pass
 - Bergville
 - Winterton
 - Ladysmith
 - Estcourt
 - Weenen
 - Mooi River
 - Greytown
 - Nottingham Road
 - Rosetta
 - Howick
 - Underberg
 - Himeville
 - Kokstad

Hiking Trails in the Northern Drakensberg

Nearest Town Bergville
Duration 4/5 days
Layout one way
Grade Moderate
Distance 62 km

Drakensberg hiking trails northern Drakensberg - AmphitheatreAmphitheatre to Cathedral

The route passes parts of the Drakensberg including the Amphitheatre, Mbundini, Mnweni and the Rockeries, the Saddle and the Cathedral range. It is advisable to book this hike before arrival. Hike bookings and enquiries: KZN Wildlife (033) 845 1000


Nearest Town Bergville
Duration 1 hour
Layout one way
Grade Easy
Distance 3 km

Devils Hoek Valley

The hiking trail starts in Royal Natal National Park. The path gets progressively steeper and the views more spectacular as you continue along the trail. The route takes you from the Tugela River Carpark along the the Tugela Valley and then up the Devil's Hoek tributary. No bookings are nessesary for the hike


Nearest Town Bergville
Duration 1 day
Layout one way
Grade Moderate
Distance 22 km

Drakensberg hiking trails northern Drakensberg - AmphitheatreTugela Gorge Walk

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. It starts at the Royal Natal car park and follows the course of the Tugela river for some 11 km. The last few km can be difficult as the path is along the river and a certain amount of bolder hopping should be expected. Unfortunatly without going right to the end there is no view of the waterfall.


 

Nearest Town Estcourt
Duration 1 hour
Layout one way
Grade Easy
Distance 3 km

Giants Castle

Hiking Trails in the Central Drakensberg

Hiking Trails in the Southern Drakensberg

Nearest Town Himeville
Duration 5 Day
Layout one way
Grade Moderate
Distance 52 Km

Giants Cup

This trail goes from Sani Pass in the Southern Drakensberg to Silver Streams at Bushman's Nek. It is a 5 day hike over 50 kilometres but 2, 3 or 4 day hikes are also possible. Huts are equipped with bunks and mattresses. Hikers must provide their own food, sleeping bags, lighting, stoves, cooking utensils and first-aid equipment

 

 

Other Drakensberg hiking trails

drakensberg hiking trails Links

 

Drakensberg Boys Choir School | Hiking Maps of the Drakensberg | Drakensberg and Natal Midlands Weddings | Drakensberg day walks and walking trails | Fauna and flora of the Drakensberg - A treasure chest | Links to Drakensberg Tourism Partners

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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

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

Day hiking trails in the Central Drakensberg:

Hiking trails at Cathedral Peak

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

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 

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

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

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