Explore the best Drakensberg hikes from the Northern to Central area.
There are many Drakensberg Hiking Trails to choose from. But which one’s are the best?? We have been involved in guided Drakensberg hikes for over 15 years. We might be able to enlighten you
Drakensberg hikes per region
Right then. Let’s start off by explaining the various areas of the Drakensberg. It will give you a better picture of the mountain range. Basically there are 3 main regions. These are known as the Northern, Central and Southern Drakensberg. The range here extends for over 220km with many hiking trails to choose from.
Smooth from far, but far from smooth
If you look at the Drakensberg from say 40km away, the mountains look smooth and flat. But this is far from the case. If you have ever been on a Drakensberg hike, you sill soon realize that the range is a a series of massive cutbacks, Passes, gulley’s and spires of rock. This is what makes these mountains so frikken amazing. In fact, the range from North to South is a series of pinnacles, cutbacks and valleys. These include the Amphitheatre, Mnweni, Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle, Injasuthi and Giants Castle.
The best time to tackle a Drakensberg hiking Trail?
We say anytime. Its all dependent on what you are willing to endure or enjoy. In the summer months from say October to late February you are likely to a variety of weather conditions from hot, thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind. In the winter months from June to September, be ready for freezing temperatures, occasional snow, wind and difficulty finding water. Whichever time you choose, you are always ensured of a great hike. After all….it is the Drakensberg!!!
What equipment would you need for a Drakensberg hike?
A very important aspect of any guided hike in the Drakensberg. Always prepare for the worst case scenario. Never underestimate the mountains. We have experienced 4 seasons in one day before. The conditions are super volatile, especially in the summer seasons. Make sure you have the right equipment. We have written an article on what we suggest you take. Click here to read it.
Choose your Drakensberg hiking trail carefully
Not all trails where created equal. Most of the multi day hikes are rated as challenging. It is best you find out what hike best suites your fitness levels and experience. A lot of people underestimate a Drakensberg hikes. Walking 10km in the mountains with a backpack, enduring the elements, the terrain, compounded affects of fatigue, and altitude all adds to the challenge. To give you an idea, we average about 2km/h on most hikes. So 10km can take up to 6 hours to complete. Give us a call to discuss.
What are the best Drakensberg hikes?
Right then. To the topic at hand. What are the best routes? Here they are. And of course we have included links to each of them so you can explore more.
- Amphitheatre hike- an easy 2 day hike covering 14km. the perfect option for novice hikers. The hike is relatively easy and hikers get to experience a night on the escarpment.
- Mnweni Circuit Hike-a challenging 3 day hike covering 42km. Hikers would need to be physically and mentally ready for this one. We spend 2 nights camping in the mountain with 1 night in Ledgars Cave. The last day is long covering 20km. One of the most spectacular Drakensberg hikes
- Cathedral Peak hike– a 3 day hike covering 24km. The first and last day being the shortest ( only 4km on these days). The second day covers 14km and includes summiting the peak. We make use of a base camp. So no heavy backpacks on day 2.
- Organ Pipes and Bell Traverse hike– a challenging 3 day hike covering 47km. The route to the summit is via the Organ Pipes Pass ( with a night in Rolands Cave). The second night is spent Twins cave. Many highlights in this hike. The last day includes the scenic Bell Traverse. Not suitable for those of you not used to exposed trails. You would need to be fit for this Berg hike.
- Champagne Castle Hike– A 3 day hike in the Central Drakensberg covering 43km. We set up a base camp at Keiths Bush camp. The second day is a summit of Champagne Castle via Grays Pass without backpacks. This a a challenging one. You would need to be fit.
- Mafadi hike- a 4 day hike to the highest mountain in South Africa. The route to the summit is via Judges with our descent down Leslies Pass. A very challenging hike covering 67km.