uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains
are located on the southwestern flank of KwaZulu Natal
in South Africa
Essentially a 250km long escarpment bordering the eastern fringes of the mountain kingdom of Lesotho
, these dramatic mountains plunge precipitously down across rolling foothills to scenic high-altitude farmland.
This wonderful landscape is a paradise for outdoorsy people, with spectacular hiking in particular, but with a huge range of other activities such as mountain-biking, horse-riding, river-rafting.
We divide Drakensburg into three areas …
is centred on the Royal Natal National Park. The scenery here is exceptional and the mountain hiking is second to none. The most famous feature is the Amphitheatre, a massive encircling escarpment cut by the Tugela Falls.
The hike up to Mont Aux Sources is a strenuous and dramatic 20km day, but there are plenty of easier but still fabulous half and full day trails.
This section of the mountains is the most accessible from Johannesburg
and accommodation is focussed on weekend trippers coming down from Gauteng. The area is dominated by large and relatively low cost resorts which are of limited appeal for the majority of international visitors. But there are exceptions ...Montusi Mountain Lodge
... is probably the best higher quality option, a relatively small place in a nice remote location, although mainly aimed at the domestic market.Thendele Camp
... is an unusually good parks authority facility in a lovely remote location at the foot of the mountains.
is a near continuous escarpment fronted by foothills and backed by the mountains of Lesotho
. Trailheads and accommodation are mainly located at the head of three valleys.Cathedral Peak Hotel
... is one of the oldest lodges in the area, a traditional place which still retains a reasonably level of quality. Most importantly it procides excellent access to Cathedral Peak itself, one of the best and most strenuous day hikes in the Drakensberg.Ardmore Guest Farm
... provides access to Champagne Castle and Monk's Cowl, the most heavily developed area by far, with an array of large resorts and golf clubs. But this little lodge is quite a contrast, nothing particularly special, but a warm welcome, a nice location and decent accommodation.Inkosana Lodge
... is a decent lower cost option also in that otherwise busy Champagne Castle and Monk's Cowl area.Injusuthi Camp
... is a decent parks authority which provides access to the multiple day treks of the Giant's Castle area, via a network of remote mountain refuges to end at Giant's Castle Camp
may not have quite the same majesty of the great escarpments to the north, but the mountains remain impressive and provides some superb hiking routes, whilst the farmlands below are amongst the most beautiful in the country.
The Sani Pass up to Lesotho
is a famously precarious route which ultimately leads to 'the highest pub in Africa'. Horse-riding, mountain-biking, river-swimming and river-tubing are among a whole range of outdoor activities on offer. The area also contains some really good accommodation options, the best of which are farmstead facilities such as these ...Penwarn Country Lodge
... is probably the best option in the area, a lovely farm with homely accommodation.
For more hardcore hikers and campers there are some excellent remote facilities further into the mountains.