drakensberg maps

When going on a hike please ensure you have a map which can be purchased from most of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife regional reserves or at the head office in Pietermaritzburg.

This guide to Hiking in the Drakensberg may also be of assistance especially if your first hike. A list of the caves and phone numbers that can be booked is available here and an example of the Mountain Rescue Register can be downloaded here.

Goats Cave Hike (via Thamathu cave)

1104Two routes are possible, one via Lammergeier Cave or via Thamathu Cave. The route via Thamathu cave is recommended as a path can be followed the whole way.

The hike via Lammergeier cave has no path for about half the hike and unless you know the area well and have a good map this route should not be attempted.

Location (Degrees)
29°49'50.2"S 29°07'48.4"E
Location (Decimal)
-29.830611, 29.130111
Cave Name
Max Number in Cave
Type of Hike
Day Hike, Overnight
Hike Grade
Hike Distance (Km's to destination)
Total Hike Distance (Km's)
Hike Duration (to destination)
Hike Duration (return)
Total Hike Duration (Hrs)
Caves, Passes, Peaks

Bushman's Nek Camp to Goats Cave via Thamathu cave  (9.6km - 888m elevation gain)

Start at the Bushman's Nek Office, where you fill in the mountain register. You pass the South African border post and then cross the stream twice and turn right (if you go straight you are heading towards Tarn Cave and would cross the stream a third time) thus walking with Bushman's River on your right. To your right on the other side of the river you will see Bushman's Nek Hut as you walk along a slightly upward path.

After 300m where you turned right after the 2nd river crossing the path has 2 options, straight ahead which takes you to Bushman's Cave and left up the hill in front of you, this is your route, turn left and start up the hill. After climbing the 1st hill the path flattens out for a short breather, then up the next hill. The path is visible all the way as you wind up this hill on the left hand side. At the top you have now done 3.2km, the views start to show themselves all around you.

A nice flat section is next and then up the next hill. You are heading in a West / North West direction all the way from here until just before Thamathu cave. The gradient over this next hill is pretty similar to what you have already climbed. At 5.8km (you only have 1.1km's to go) the path again has two options, a short steep uphill (this path is not well defined) of about 150m uphill or to continue straight along the contours of the hill you are on. Both will get you to Thamathu cave.

Choosing to go left and up the hill now means that after this uphill the rest of the hike to the cave is along the contour path. Choosing to go straight at this point seems easier but your last 300m will then be uphill to the cave. The choice is yours.

After Thamathu cave you gently climb for 2.7km and then turn left (South West). You will see a contour path along the slope which will take you to Goats Cave, about 900 meters away. There are a couple goat paths above the proper path to Goats Cave. Next to you at Goats Cave is the top of Lammergeier Pass and looking West is Devils Knuckles. Looking in the same direction in the distance you may notice buildings on the flats after the valley, this is Sehlabathebe Lodge in Lesotho.

GPX track map

Elevation (altitude) diagram of the track

Track length and Trackpoint information

Information Calculated value
Overall distance (metric) 9.6 km
Overall distance (imperial) 6 miles

Elevation / altitude data (metric)

Information Calculated value
Altitude range (highest-lowest point) 863 m
Minimum altitude (lowest point) 1755 m
Maximum altitude (highest point) 2618 m
Uphill (addition of positive altitude changes) 888 m
Downhill (addition of negative altitude changes) 36 m

Elevation / altitude data (imperial)

Information Calculated value
Altitude range (highest-lowest point) 2831 ft
Minimum altitude (lowest point) 5758 ft
Maximum altitude (highest point) 8589 ft
Uphill (addition of positive altitude changes) 2913 ft
Downhill (addition of negative altitude changes) 118 ft

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