5 Day Drakensberg Mini Traverse Hike

So what is all the hype about?

The mini traverse is the ultimate Drakensberg hiking adventure. To trek though the remote escarpment of the mountains, ascend the majestic spires of ancient basalt formations and feel the freedom of the mighty Barrier of Spears is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.Rated as one of the top 10 hikes in the world, the Mini Traverse hike needs to be done. The Hike covers 80km from the Sentinel in the Northern Drakensberg to Cathedral Peak in the Central ‘Berg’. The average altitude is 3000m and the hike traditionally takes 5 days to complete. If rugged mountain scenery, remoteness and a challenge  is what you are looking for then this hike is a screamer. Some of the really cool spots that we cover include a climb up the infamous chainladders at the Sentinel, the second highest waterfall in the world,The Mnweni Cut Back, Rockeries,The Hanging Gardens,  Cathedral Peak, the Bell Traverse, our guides bum and various caves that we stay in along the way.

The Mini Traverse Hike is very Challenging!!!!

Do we have to repeat that? Yes? Okie Doe Key then. Allow us to indulge you. The Mini Traverse hike is very challenging.  Understand? Savvy?Comprende?了解? The mini Traverse is not something you attempt if you have no previous hiking experience or are not physically, and, dare we say, mentally fit.The hike covers about 80km over 5 days at an average altitude of 3000m. That’s 16km on average per day with a 15kg backpack in some of the harshest mountain conditions the Drakensberg has to offer. Besides the physical pain, there is also the volatile weather to take into account. It is challenging. If you do not like a challenge or are going to give us a hard time on the hike, please feel free to not contact us.

Why hike with Soul Adventures?

As pioneers of guided hikes in the Drakensberg, Soul Adventures is recognised as a premier guiding service with a superb reputation for successful mini traverse expeditions and a whacked out sense of humour-A knife edge to walk if you ask us. Some our clients never get used to our dry humour. It is ingrained in us. Maybe take some exploring the rest of our site to get a feel for what we are all about. A mixture of fun and lightheartedness without compromising on our strict safety protocols. Here are few other reasons on why you should hike with us that we just whipped up:

  • The Soul Adventures  methodology and tactical approach to hiking the Traverse has seen us achieve the highest success rates and our extensive experience in the Drakensberg gives us the edge when it comes to safety on the mountain.  We provide a consistently high guide to client ratio, resulting in more support and backup for your experience.
  • Our guides are seasoned hikers with over 25 years experience in the Drakensberg resulting in a greater repertoire of skills that enables them to provide a dedicated level of support to you during the hike. The guide’s contribution is predominantly around making decisions to keep you safe and healthy and to avoid mishap. This is based on years of first-hand experience in the Drakensberg. This is in contrast to startup operators looking to learn the ropes at your expense or locally-led groups which are lacking preventative strategies and back-up contingency plans  in case of emergencies.
  • Our cook ( most of the time its my wife) are regarded as the best in the business, providing wholesome and appetising meals with an agreeable array of menus to suit all your food requirements. The meals you are served on the mountain are also of the highest standard and designed to sustain you for the rigours of the hike. For those with specific needs – we can cater to special dietary requirements.
  • In line with our objective to ensure you receive the best possible level of care while you are on the expedition, our guides are certified in level 3 first aid.
  • You can customise your hike by adding further service options to complement your trek. these include private expeditions, additional porter support, training schedules and much more. There is no doubt that an attempt at the Mini Traverse is a committing and serious undertaking. It takes a huge amount of dedication and determination to be successful.

The importance of equipment on the mini traverse hike

Please take careful note of this statement!!! We don’t want this hike to become a bad day in Bosnia. Having the right equipment is super  important in terms of your safety and wellbeing on the hike. The weather conditions in the Drakensberg are very unpredictable. The summer months bring with it hot weather, thunderstorms and mist. The winter months bring freezing conditions, snow, a shortage of water and a severe case of smallcox. Hikers attempting the Mini Traverse must ensure they are sufficiently prepared for the worst case scenarios in terms the weather. Here are some links that you may or may not find useful.

How to go about booking a hike with us

Do you accept invitations? “Invitations?” You know, pretty white pieces of paper with your names on. No.Not really. We prefer 120 bits of paper with the Mandelas head on. The mini traverse hike is a bargain. Treat the wife. Treat somebody else’s wife. Too late, too late” will be the cry when the man with the bargains has passed you by. Contact me on darren@souladventures.co.za for more information or to enquire about a booking.


Additional information

LocationDrakensberg, South Africa
DifficultyChallenging, Extreme
Duration7 Days
  • A challenging and unique Drakensberg experience
  • Enjoy 5 days/4 nights on the escarpment of the Drakensberg
  • Test your self on the infamous chainladders leading to the summit
  • A stunning hike though the Bell Traverse  (weather permitting)
  • 4 stunning campsites that include Ledgars Cave, Twins Cave, Fangs Pass and Ifidi Pass
  • No need to worry about logistics, equipment, food and tents
  • We know the answer to the first question ever asked before the thought of asking a question was thought about

Okay sports fans….let’s keep this simple. No need to get a cramping my fingers from all the typing. ave my energy for hiking I say. And let’s not get grumpy over the exact timing of the events shall we. Hold off on the Trip Advisor reviews. Nothing ever goes according to plan in life and the especially in the mountains.

Day 1:

We depart Johannesburg at 8am. We take the 4.5 hour drive through to the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge. Upon arrival, we check into the guest house, check equipment, have a beer and go for dinner.

Day 2:

Wake up at 6am. It’s then wees, poohs and breakfast before we leave for the start of the hike by 8am. We need drive up to the Sentinel Car Park. It’s an 8km road that takes about 45minutes due to the bad condition of the road. We then sign the mountain register and start the hike. The hike today will see us ascending the Chainladders to the escarpment of the Drakensberg. We then take a gander at the Tugela Falls ( second highest in the world) before heading off to Ifidi Pass for the night.

Hiking Distance: 14km

Duration: 6 hours

Day 3:

Wake up at 6am. Wee. Poo. Breakfast. pack up camp.Start hike by 8am. Today we head off  South towards Fangs Pass for the night.

Hiking Distance: 12km

Duration:5 hours

Day 4:

Wake up at 6am. Wee. Poo. Breakfast. pack up camp.Start hike by 8am. Today we head up past Rwanqa Pass to overlook the Mnweni Pinnacles at 3200m. A stunningly beautiful part of the hike. We are going to make our way around the Mnweni Cutback. A long day today sunshine. Our humble abode for the night is Ledgars Caves situated close the top of Mnweni pass ( 2km from Rockeries Pass)

Distance: 17km

Duration: 8 hours

Day 5:

Wake up at 6am. Wee. Poo. Breakfast. pack up camp.Start hike by 8am. We make our way through the valley on route to Rockeries before heading up Nguza Pass.We wills by a huge Cape Vulture Colony before heading down the top of Ntonjelana Pass, across the Kwakwatsi river and into Twins Cave.


Duration:8 hours

Day 6:

Wake up at 6am. Wee. Poo. Breakfast. pack up camp.Start hike by 8am. We have 2 options to choose from. We will have to make that decision on the day. Our decision is all dependent the weather conditions and how strong the group is feeling. If the weather is good and the group is strong we tackle the Bell Traverse. If not, head down Mlambonja Pass to the end of the Mini Traverse hike-cathedral Peak. Once done we take a drive through to our accommodation for the night.

Distance: 16km

Duration: 10 hours

Day 7:

Drive back to Johannesburg. Aim to leave the hotel by 10am to arrive at 3pm

  • Return Transport from Johannesburg
  • 1 nights accommodation before the hike at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge ( breakfast included)
  • 1 nights accommodation after the hike at the Cathedral Peak Parks Board Chalets
  • guides
  • Tents
  • cooking and eating utensils
  • Park fees
  • Transfer of luggage from the Sentinel to Cathedral Peak
  • Breakfasts on the mountain
  • Dinners on the mountain
  • free stone on the summit
  • crappy jokes
  • lunches on the mountain
  • Breakfast on Day 1
  • Dinner on Day 1 at the hotel
  • Dinner on Day 6 at the hotel
  • Porters ( can be hired at R400 per day)
  • Sleeping bags, backpacks and sleeping mats ( can be hired for additional fee)
  • Drinks
  • My wife

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