Have you been on a hike recently in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park get in touch with us, become a blogger and share your adventure on this page.

Didima mini-traverse: Camels and Elephants Didima mini-traverse: Camels and Elephants

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

I often say that the most beautiful part of the Drakensberg is the part you are in at the time of answering the question. The logic is simple – anything else is just a photo. Sadly no photo will ever do any justice to a mountain.

The Didima region of the Northern KZN Drakensberg has always been a special area to me. When I recently prepared a list of the top Drakensberg passes, four out of seven were at Didima. So when the forecast included 40cm of snow on Mafadi, and only 12cm on Cathedral Peak – it was an easy choice of where to move the hike.

It was Ross’ first time hiking to the top of the Drakensberg, so there were lots of unknowns. His recent running form had been very good, but road running and hiking are completely different sports with different challenges.

Xeni Pass/Bell Traverse loop in a day Xeni Pass/Bell Traverse loop in a day

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

For many years Didima Nature Reserve has been my personal favourite region of the Drakensberg. With the Cathedral Peak ridge, the Column and the Pyramid, the Organ Pipes and the Didima Cutback - it is truly a special area. I could list many reasons why Didima is my first choice in terms of beauty, but one small area stands head and shoulders above the rest - the cutback between Cockade Peak and the Elephant.

Having made three different trips that included Cockade Pass, its northern neighbour continued to elude me. Seeing as it stood as the only pass marked on the Geoseries Maps that I had not completed, I knew I needed to head out and bag the notorious Xeni Pass.

Xeni Pass is definitely not suitable for everyone, there are a few scrambles where you have to be careful not to bring a lot of rock down on yourself.

Copyright: Clarissa Hughes Mehloding Adventure Trail

Drakensberg Hikes

A stunning guided trail into this lesser known part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park. Discover San rock art, protea and tree ferns, indigenous forests, wild flower gardens and rare birds.

Pass through rural villages and be greeted by friendly local communities and experience traditional culture. At the end of each day be welcomed by your hostess at comfortable chalets where you can enjoy a hot shower, African cuisine and an inviting bed!

Rhino Peak: climbing the S Route Rhino Peak: climbing the S Route

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

Rhino Peak is a 3056m peak, traditionally hiked up, but does include a few rock climbing routes. The S Route and Eastern Arete Route are both considered classics.

The route is described as 6 pitches, which go at (South African Trad Grades) E3, F1, C, D, C, F1 per the latest guidebook, or F1, F1, E, E, B and F1 per the original route description. Seeing as I am relatively inexperienced at rock climbing, Carl agreed to lead all the difficult pitches, and I would see how I felt about leading the 3 easy ones.

We started walking just before 5AM, and sat in Pillar Cave Annex waiting for it to get light enough to head off.

Mnweni Hike Mnweni Hike

Treverton College and Preparatory School

This past weekend a group of Treverton College boys, girls and teachers went to the pristine Mnweni area. We walked about 8km up into the Mnweni valley, above the Mnweni pools, where another set of pools offered a beautiful setting to set up tents.

Treverton Boys’ Hike to Mafadi Treverton Boys’ Hike to Mafadi

Treverton College and Preparatory School

A group of five pupils accompanied by three staff members - Travers Pellew; Derek Brown; and Craig Robinson - headed off to Injisuthi to do two passes that were new to every member of the group. This hike formed part a students Venture Award and as such it was their duty to lead the group.

After navigating the Injisuthi road, we were greeted by a brief storm on our arrival and we headed off at 4:30pm and ended up taking refuge at an unmarked cave in the Mbomvaneni Valley. The following day had us ascend the not insignificant heart-break-hill before getting to Centenary Hut.

Visiting rock art sites inside Monk's Cowl - Visitor's Book and Permit System Visiting rock art sites inside Monk's Cowl - Visitor's Book and Permit System

Drakensberg Hikes

A permit system is going to be implemented at Monk’s Cowl (23rd April) to solve the problem of illegal visitation at rock art sites and problems accompanying this.

For example, making fires inside shelters and caves containing rock art that causes soot to accumulate over the art and the art to start exfoliating, making candles “stand” on “steps” of the parent rock that results in waxy blotches that causes chemical weathering to the parent rock and destroys the rock art, throwing water over the art to take “better pictures or clearer photos”, this causes mineral accretion and white blotches over the art that finely leads to pigment deterioration and exfoliation, littering inside rock art sites and writing or scratching over irreplaceable rock art.

New Ladders to access the Amphitheatre New Ladders to access the Amphitheatre

Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge

The Sentinel Peak Chain Ladders that are used to access the Amphitheatre route to Tugela Falls from Sentinel Car Park are going to be replaced with newly constructed ladders. This is happening because the engineers involved in the rehabilitation of the pathways have concerns about the safety of the current ladders. Time, weather and many thousands of hikers have taken their toll on the metal construction and it’s time to replace them before there is a problem.

A complete new build has been chosen because the professional view is that repairs will not be good enough, and that the safety of hikers cannot be compromised.

Bannerman Pass Hike Bannerman Pass Hike

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

Bannerman Pass was named after former British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. It is said that, when viewed from the right angle, the cliffs just south of the pass resemble the profile of his face. Personally I have never been able to see it, but nonetheless, that's the origin.

Risks: the pass can get iced up after a major snowfall, making it very dangerous. There is also a minor risk of rock falls.

Cobham to Mzimkulwana Hut and Lakes Cave Cobham to Mzimkulwana Hut and Lakes Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Cobham to Mzimkulwana Hut and Lakes Cave
Distance: 30 km (circular route)
Duration: 14 hours (three days)

Day 1: From Cobham (North is Ndlovini Peak and to the right is Grandma Peak then Emerald Dome)

Cobham Parking Lot ->  Tortise Rocks (2.8km – 225m up) -> Bathplug Cave (4km) -> Mzimkhylwana Hut (8.64km)

Giants Castle to Bannerman Hut and up Bannerman Pass Giants Castle to Bannerman Hut and up Bannerman Pass

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Giants Castle to Bannerman Hut and up Bannerman Pass
Distance: 35 km (curcular route)
Duration: 20 hours (3 days)

Day 1 is 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 lunch time. The hut must be booked through KZN Nature Conservation Service.

Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave
Distance: 7 km (each way)
Duration: 5 hours (day hike)

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 up to 12 people. The cave is not very deep though and strong winds can be a problem.

Cobham to Gxalingenwa Cave Cobham to Gxalingenwa Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Cobham to Gxalingenwa Cave
Distance: 14,5 km (29 km return)
Duration: 7 hours each way (two days)

Gxalingenwa Cave Hike is a relatively easy two day hike in the Southern Drakensberg. On the hike you will pass Pinnacle Rocks, where the San Rock Art depicts spiritual ceremonies and the Sharma's transformation to other forms.

Kamberg to Game Pass Shelter Kamberg to Game Pass Shelter

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Kamberg to Game Pass Shelter
Distance: 3 km (6 km return)
Duration: 1.5 hours each way (day hike)

The three-hour guided trail starts at the Kamberg Rock Art centre, where you can watch a 20-minute DVD on the art and history of this famous rock-art site. As you walk, take heed of the poignant verse that is found on all the marketing brochures:  "No more do we Bushmen hunt in these hills. The fire is cold. Our songs are quiet. But listen carefully. You will hear us in the water. Look carefully, you will see us in the rock." And you will.


Highmoor to Aasvoëlkrans Cave Highmoor to Aasvoëlkrans Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Highmoor to Aasvoëlkrans Cave
Distance: 4.5 km (9 km return)
Duration: 2.5 hours each way (one day)

Aasvoëlkrans Cave is an easy day day hike in the Central Drakensberg. The cave is unsuitable for young children as high drop-offs in front of the cave require considerable care.

Cobham River Walk (Pholela River) Cobham River Walk (Pholela River)

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Cobham River Walk (Pholela River)
Distance: 2 km (4 km return)
Duration: 2 hours (day hike)

The trail leaves from the camp and follows the Pholela River. The trail offers views of the Giant's Cup and passes through grassland and patches of indigenous forest further along. There are a number of large pools which are ideal for swimming, return on the same route after having a swim and lunch.

 

Drakensberg Sun to Blue Grotto Pool (return via Barry's Grave) Drakensberg Sun to Blue Grotto Pool (return via Barry's Grave)

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Drakensberg Sun to Blue Grotto Pool (return via Barry's Grave)
Distance: 3 km (6 km return)
Duration: 3 hours (day hike)

This is a great 3-hour moderate walk through an indigenous forest onto a magnificent grotto with waterfall and pool.The hike starts from in front of the Drakensberg Sun Time Share Units past the timeshare swimming pool.

Highmoor to Caracal Cave Highmoor to Caracal Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Highmoor to Caracal Cave
Distance: 5.3 km (10.6 km return)
Duration: 2 hours each way (day hike)

Caracal Cave easily accommodates 8 people and is approximately 5.3km's from the Highmoor Reserve parking area. This is a relatively easy hike to the Cave and a bit of a climb back to the parking area.

Bushman's Nek to Cedric's Pool Bushman's Nek to Cedric's Pool

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Bushman's Nek to Cedric's Pool
Distance: 5.3 km (10.6 km return)
Duration: 2 hours each way (day hike)

The pool is apparently named after Cedric Biggs, a former leader of the Mountain Backpackers Club. Cedric was known for plunging through the ice into the freezing pool.  Cedric's pool is also referred to as "Three pools" on some of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife maps.

How to plan an overnight hike in the Drakensberg mountains How to plan an overnight hike in the Drakensberg mountains

Kate + Ben (kateandben.org)

Rather than being about a specific adventure, it is about a place that we hold very close to our hearts: South Africa's Drakensberg mountains. It’s possibly our favourite place in South Africa.

There are two sides to the Drakensberg, the Midlands and the high Drakensberg. In this two-part series, we will describe exploring this mountainous world in Kwa-Zulu Natal, between Johannesburg and Durban. Part 1 will look at how to plan your own hiking adventure into the high Drakensberg and part 2 will look at exploring the Midlands and little Berg in a car and on foot.

Notes on Basotho Culture for hikers & overland travellers in Lesotho Notes on Basotho Culture for hikers & overland travellers in Lesotho

Philip & Christeen Grant

Christeen and I have been taking South Africans and overseas visitors on day and multi-day trips to Lesotho as professional mountain guides since 2006, sometimes two or three times a week.

These notes are an attempt to help hikers, when hiking over and along the top of the Drakensberg Escarpment, and overland travellers, understand some of the basic differences between their own and Basotho culture, and understand some of the ‘way things work’ in The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

A guide to Hiking in the Drakensberg A guide to Hiking in the Drakensberg

Drakensberg Hikes

You have decided to want to go on a Hike in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, what do you do next?

After assisting many people who have asked questions for a hike they would like to do and now knowing the types of questions asked we thought it may be helpful to outline the steps so that when you go on your hike you are fully prepared and know the type of hike that best suits you, how to get to your destination, what you need to pack, how long your hike will take, what to do in case of an emergency and most importantly how to get the most enjoyment out of your hike.

Organ Pipes Pass - Thuthumi Ridge Route Organ Pipes Pass - Thuthumi Ridge Route

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

Organ Pipes Pass is probably one of the most commonly used passes in the KZN Drakensberg. The name is derived from the very impressive wall of rock pinnacles near the top of the pass.

The ridge offers stunning views of the Cathedral and Cathkin ridges. This route is commonly used for smuggling activities and is best avoided at night. Do not camp near the top of the pass.

In terms of scenery, there are few passes that can compete with this one.

Hike to The Tugela Gorge (Drakensberg Ampitheatre) Hike to The Tugela Gorge (Drakensberg Ampitheatre)

Grace and Gaia (https://graceandgaia.com)

When I was a child, we used to go to the Northern Drakensberg every couple of months. My parents would attend meetings and work-related activities, and my sibling and I would roam around the resort. We played volley ball, rode horses, took the quad bikes for a spin and went on hikes.

This is where my love affair with hiking started…

Win a 2 night stay at Mont Aux Sources Hotel & Resort Win a 2 night stay at Mont Aux Sources Hotel & Resort

Drakensberg Hikes

Win a 2 night stay (including breakfast) for 2 adults at Mont Aux Sources Hotel & Resort. Entry is simple, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. an image or images of the Drakensberg showing any of the peaks, passes, huts, landmarks or caves with an accurate description or submit an short story of a hike you have done.

Competition entries are open from 24 April 2018 till 01 May 2018 (midnight). The winner will be randomly selected from all the entries and will be notified on 02 May 2018. Good luck and start looking for those pictures.

Spirit of the Drakensberg Spirit of the Drakensberg

A Photographic Journey Drakensberg Hikes

Spirit of the Drakensberg takes the reader on an evocative journey through the mountains. The twelve chapters are based on the demarcated Ezimvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife areas - a unique approach that informs the reader of the highlights and dramatic scenery waiting to be discovered in each particular section of the Berg. It took Richard Hunt six years to capture these Mountains in their changing moods and seasons; enticing one to take to the footpaths, if only from an armchair perspective, to enjoy the spectacular beauty that unfolds, page by page.

Pins Pass Hike Pins Pass Hike

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

If spectacular scenery and climbing a pass few people ever will is on your to do list then this difficult hike is the one.

The pass is approached via the trail to Mnweni Pass. It is very easy to get lost on this if you don't know the route, so best to take a guide from the Mnweni Cultural Centre, or hike with someone who knows the area.

Langalibalele Pass Hike Langalibalele Pass Hike

Jonathan Newman @ghaznavid

Old maps may refer to this as "Bushman's River Pass", as it was known in the 19th century. The exact date of the name change to "Langalibalele Pass" is uncertain, but makes reference to the arrest of the amaHlubi Chief Langalibalele at the top of this pass in 1873. Seven people died during this capture, five from the English and two from the amaHlubi, and were buried at the top of the pass. This grave sight can still be visited and is just south of the top of the pass, slightly up the ridge.

This pass is one of the easiest routes to the Drakensberg Escarpment. It tops out between the Sanqebethu and Durnford ridges. With a good path along the entire route and no exceptionally steep sections. This route is suitable for beginners, or fast-and-light day hikers provided they are fit and sufficiently knowledgeable.

Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave and Lammergeier Cave Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave and Lammergeier Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Bushman's Nek to Thomathu Cave and Lammergeier Cave
Distance: 35 km (circular route)
Duration: 20 hours (three days)

Day 1 is 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 up to 12 people. The cave is not very deep though and strong winds can be a problem.

Gudu Bush, Lookout Rock and Cascades (Circular route) Gudu Bush, Lookout Rock and Cascades (Circular route)

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Gudu Bush, Lookout Rock and Cascades (Circular route)
Distance: 6.1 km
Duration: 4 hours (day hike)

A 6.1km circular hike heading uphill to start and then through Gudu Bush where a small stream and pool will can be seen. An option is to turn right up the hill here which takes you to the top of Gudu Falls (this is a steep path about 700m long and 230m in elevation), else continue straight and when you exit the forest stunning views await you.

Highmoor to Giant's Viewpoint Highmoor to Giant's Viewpoint

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Highmoor to Giant's Viewpoint
Distance: 4.5 km (9 km return)
Duration: 1.5 hours each way (one day)

This is a pleasant walk that is pretty level with a path that is easy to follow. Cape Vultures, Blesbok and Eland are often seen and the Giant's Castle view is stunning on a clear day.

Injisuthi to Centenary Hut and Marble Baths Cave Injisuthi to Centenary Hut and Marble Baths Cave

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Injisuthi to Centenary Hut and Marble Baths Cave
Distance: 30 km (circular route)
Duration: 20 hours (3 days)

Day 1 is a severe 5/6 hrs hike (10 km) from Injasuti on the 1st day past  Fergy's Cave and then up the hill to Centenary Nut. Take you time up the steep hill, the views once there make the climb up worth while.

 

Giants Castle to Meander Hut (derelict) Giants Castle to Meander Hut (derelict)

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Giants Castle to Meander Hut (derelict)
Distance: 7 km (14 km return)
Duration: 2 hours each way (day hike)

Starting at the Hotel walk 100m along the road and then turn right up hill for 1km and follow the contours to the top. Walk on the left side of the ridge on towards the viewpoint at 2019m high and then down other side. About 1km and 150 drop from here and you will find the now derelict hut.

Bushman's Nek to Halfway/Slab Cave (Fisherman's Cave) Bushman's Nek to Halfway/Slab Cave (Fisherman's Cave)

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Bushman's Nek to Halfway/Slab Cave (Fisherman's Cave)
Distance: 5.25 km (10.5 km return)
Duration: 2 hours each way (day hike)

The hike heads up Bushman's Valley alongside the Bushman's River towards Bushman's or Ngwangwane Pass. The hike is not difficult and the path is easy to follow, unless done in the snow which is what we did.

Monks Cowl to Sterkspruit Falls Monks Cowl to Sterkspruit Falls

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Monks Cowl to Sterkspruit Falls
Distance: 1.5 km (3 km return)
Duration: 1.5 hours (day hike)

This easy walk starts at the Monks Cowl entrance. Take the well marked path down to the falls.

Giants Castle River Walk Giants Castle River Walk

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Giants Castle River Walk
Distance: 1.5 km (3 km return)
Duration: 1 hour each way (day hike)

Follow the signposted path going past "Rock 75" and the you will see the river walk signs just before the rustic bridge. You will now walk along the Bushman's River. Stop and have a picnic at many of the scenic spots along the way. Return the same way or continue ahead and follow the path that reads "Hutted Camp" to return.

Highmoor to Mount Lebanon Highmoor to Mount Lebanon

Drakensberg Hikes

Route: Highmoor to Mount Lebanon
Distance: 6 km (12 km return)
Duration: 2 hours each way (day hike)

From the Highmoor Reserve car park head North West towards a gate and turn right at the sign. After 250m going downhill cross the stream over the wooden bridge and after another 250m on after the stream crossing take the path to the right which leads to the small Kamloops Dam wall.