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.

Thamathu Pass Hike

tpassThamathu is a long pass up from Bushman's Nek up the ridge to the top of the escarpment. It is a relatively easy pass. The views on the way up and at the top are lovely.

Along the way you pass Thamathu Cave, a good place to have a rest and take in the views before doing the final 3 km's.

Location (Degrees)
29°49'14.4"S 29°07'58.9"E
Location (Decimal)
-29.820667, 29.133017
Cave Name
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
Pass Name

Bushman's Nek Camp to Thamathu Pass (9.3km - 807m 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 the cave head up the hill on your left looking from the cave (North West). After this first hill you gently climb for 3km to the top of Thamathu pass. The views are stunning and an a clear day you will see far into Lesotho.


GPX track map

Elevation (altitude) diagram of the track

Track length and Trackpoint information

Information Calculated value
Overall distance (metric) 9.3 km
Overall distance (imperial) 5.8 miles

Elevation / altitude data (metric)

Information Calculated value
Altitude range (highest-lowest point) 793 m
Minimum altitude (lowest point) 1755 m
Maximum altitude (highest point) 2548 m
Uphill (addition of positive altitude changes) 807 m
Downhill (addition of negative altitude changes) 18 m

Elevation / altitude data (imperial)

Information Calculated value
Altitude range (highest-lowest point) 2602 ft
Minimum altitude (lowest point) 5758 ft
Maximum altitude (highest point) 8360 ft
Uphill (addition of positive altitude changes) 2648 ft
Downhill (addition of negative altitude changes) 59 ft

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.