No need to take leave!!!! Join us on this epic 2 day weekend Drakensberg Amphitheatre hike
A perfect hike for newbies and zombies alike
Dear oh dear oh dear…. Your boss won’t give you leave but you would love to go hiking in the Drakensberg. Well it would seem that we have a solution to your terrible circumstance. Our 2 day Drakensberg Amphitheatre hike is just what you are looking for. We leave on a Saturday morning at 5am and return on Sunday afternoon at about 5pm. The Tugela Falls Hike with a difference
Why join this Drakensberg Amphitheatre hike?
- It is perfect for novices-The hike only covers about 8km in total with 1 night spent on the escarpment of the Amphitheatre
- Enjoy some of the most spectacular Drakensberg scenery
- A safe and enjoyable Tugela Falls Hike- our groups sizes are between 10 and 15 people. Safety in numbers hey?
- Check out the second highest waterfall in the world-its plunges nearly 1000m over the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment into the valley below.
- Leave all the logistics, planning and food up to us.
- No need to take leave
- The quickest and shortest route to the Drakensberg escarpment-All other hikes involve 3 days and over 40km of distance to reach the top.
- Sometimes we get to see a coke can left by a hiker in 1998.
- You get a free stone from the summit.
An overview of the Amphitheatre hike
A calm as a coma we leave Johannesburg at 5am. We take the 4 hour drive through to what is known as the Sentinel Carpark. The first day involves a 4km hike to the Tugela Falls ( the second highest waterfall in the world) via The Gully. The 4km takes on average about 3 hours to hike. There are a few steep sections but nothing that cannot be accomplished. In fact we have never had anyone turn around on this hike.
And yes sunshine…you will have to carry a backpack with your sleeping bag and clothing in it. So cry us a river, build a bridge and get over it. Hiking in the Drakensberg is an interactive experience. Carrying a backpack in our minds is interactive and helps build character, leaving hikers with an overwhelming feeling of perspective and accomplishment. If, however…you still feel that you cannot hike with a backpack, we can provide a porter.
We will do the cooking for you on this hike. The cost includes the dinner and breakfast. We had chicken last week. It’s the toughest chicken I’ve ever known. It even asked me for a fight in the car park when we got back.
The evening is spent in tents. We camp along the source of the Tugela River about 100m from the edge of the escarpment. On the second day, we head back done again via the Chainladders. And yes, you are going to love these suckers. There are 2 of them that you need to climb down. We bring safety rope and harnesses for those hikers who feel the need for them. We usually get back down to the start of the hike by about 12pm. Back in Johannesburg again by say 4pm. Enough time to soak in the bath, have a cry and get ready for work on Monday.
About the Amphitheatre
The Amphitheatre is situated in the Northern Drakensberg mountains. It is the closest range from Johannesburg. The route is also the fastest and quickest way to the top of the escarpment. The massive bulk of the Amphitheatre wall stretches for 5km from the Western to Eastern Buttress. The views from the top of truly breathtaking. The vertical drop into the Kwazulu Natal valley below is nearly 1000m. And of course it is here that we find the second highest waterfall in the World. ( best viewed in the summer months when the Drakensberg gets most of its rainfall).
Best time to hike?
We say the best time to join a Drakensberg Amphitheatre hike is anytime. Depends on what you are willing to endure and forfeit. A bit like any other choice made in life hey? In summer from say October to March there is a high probability f rain, thunderstorms and heat. In the winter months from say May to September, there is freezing cold conditions, high wind and the occasional snow storm. But that is why mountaineering is all about. Enduring whatever conditions come your way and just enjoying the experience.
Why climb the Amphitheatre with us?
- Superior Safety standards
- Qualified guides trained in First Aid
- Guides are MDT accredited (South African Mountaineering Development & Training Trust) and Advanced Mountain Walking Leaders
- Over 200 successful guided hikes into Drakensberg over the past 10 years
- Intimate knowledge of the routes and environment
- Direct access to our Drakensberg guides and experts
- Fully catered hiking experience
- Low climber to guide ratio. 1 guide for every 3 climbers
- Our guides are active members of the Mountain Club of South Africa
- Pre climb support in terms of preparation and advice
How fit do you have to be for this hike?
Did we mention the word ‘fit’? Lets break that word down into context here. You don’t have to be super fit for this hike. In fat, I mean fact, most of our clients are novices who have never hiked before. Obviously if you are a couch potato and never partake in any sweat inducing activities, you make suffer a little. But the suffering is short lives. 4km is not too bad. And we take it super slow if need be. So just chill. The Amphitheatre hike is totally doable. If you are looking for a more challenging hike, then maybe have a look at doing the Mwneni Circuit.
What equipment will you need for the hike?
We supply most of the gear. No clutches I’m afraid. So stress not. We supply:
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Dinner and breakfast on the mountain
- Transport from Johannesburg
- Sleeping Mats. Or Peter’s if you so prefer. But Mat is pretty cool. He loves sleeping in the mountains. Unlike Peter who suffers from insomnia.
The basic equipment you will need is:
- 65 Litre Backpack
- Sleeping bag. ( we ask that you keep quiet on the hike in case you wake the sleeping bags up)
- Hiking boots or even trainers/trail shoes. (takkies for our South African clients)
- Hiking clothing for 2 days. Check out our equipment list for more details.
- Powdered water. You will need at least 2kg in case there is lack of water on the Amphitheatre summit.
Renting vs buying?
If you are new to hiking in the Drakensberg I’d say you start with renting first. We have backpacks, sleeping bags, walking poles, gaiters, rain ponchos and orange ping pong balls available to rent. And of course…if you are travelling from overseas and don’t want to travel with heavy hiking equipment, then renting is the way to go.
The most cost effective way to hike in the Drakensberg
So you won’t have to sell your dog to join this tour. Our cost includes transport from Johannesburg, park fees, breakfast and dinner on the mountain, a guide and all hiking equipment. All for the ridiculously low price advertised on the sight. Its a deal, its a steal, its the sale of the frikken century.
Imagine you had to do the hike on your own. Or with mates? It would work out way more expensive. And of course, you would have to do all the planning, driving, getting lost and feeling grumpy all by yourselves. Leave those worries to us we say. Call now for the best Amphitheatre hiking experience in the Drakensberg.
But wait!!!!!!! Don’t leave our sight. There’s more!!!!!!
Call within the next 5 minutes and we will give you 50% off the listed price. T&C’s apply. See explanation below.
Of course you are going to have to prove to us that you called within the 5 minutes agreed. How do you do that you may wondering? Well all you need to do is think of the Amphitheatre hike in the future. Take that thought and divide it into 2 equal parts.
Take the part that answers to the name of Dave and isolate it in a freezer. Once it has frozen, take the thought and throw it against the wall. It will shatter into many pieces. Take the smallest piece of the thought and speed it up by 34.6 and divide it by the past. The answer will give you the exact time that we made the offer of a 50% discounted rate. All you have to do then is call us within 5 minutes. Easy peasy…not Japanesy. If you do not agree with these terms, please dial 7 now or email us on
READ THIS NOW TO SEE IF YOU CAN PASS THE TEST!!
Thank you. You are so obedient and would therefore love to have you on our hiking tour. We love obedient clients-they listen to us when the weather conditions change or we need help building a snowman. So what we need you to do is this…. Take a stopwatch. See if you can hold your breath for 60 seconds. When you are done continuing reading to see the results below. WARNING!!!!DO NOT READ THE RESULTS BELOW UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE TEST!!!
I told you not to read this until you did the test!! But anyway, if you managed to hold your breath for 60 seconds the results are very favourable indeed. Our primary objective was to try and keep you on the webpage for as long as possible so Google ranks us higher on their search engine platforms. Your dedication to the cause will result in an influx of customer sales, massive profit margins and fame. And of course, the economies of scale produced will allow us to keep our pricing very competitive so you future generations can also enjoy hiking in the Drakensberg.
What time does our tour leave?
We’ve got a tough job us mountain guides and we need your cooperation. It’s pretty serious so I wont beat around the proverbial privet. Frankly we are too busy to be cluck-clucking like a decapitated feathered fowl, so I’ll get straight to the point. Time waits for no man as the proverb goes, and what I say is, Soul Adventures waits for no man. So with that in mind, I shall cut the bovine feces altogether. When it comes to leaving on time, we cut the niceties, we avoid irrelevance, disregard herrings ( red or otherwise), and above all, we do not fanny about. We leave at 5am from Johannesburg. The end.
Where does the tour depart from?
All of our hiking tours depart from a central point in Johannesburg. Namely, our current offices situated in Fourways. And of course we are willing to make exceptions. Namely for our oversees guests. We understand that transport in foreign country is a tad difficult. So we will pick you up form you hotel on route.
|Location||Drakensberg, South Africa|
from JohannesburgDinner and breakfast on the mountain
Cooking and eating utensils
Free stone from the summit
Advice on how to avoid getting into an argument with your toaster
Breakfast on route from Johannesburg on Day 1
Rental of backpacks, sleeping bags and other camping equipment
No need to take leave
The shortest and quickest route the Drakensberg Escarpment
A fully supported Drakensberg hiking experience
Transport from Johannesburg included
Authentic and interactive hiking experience
We depart from our offices at 5am. The pick up address is: The Stables Village Market. 212 3rd Ave , Chartwell, Fourways.
We then take the 3 hour drive through to Harrismith. We have a 45 minute stop here for breakfast, weehs, poohs and to buy a small orange ping pong ball from a shady character on the second road on the left. We then take the 1.5 hour drive through to the Sentinel Parking lot-the starting point for the hike. Once we have unloaded, packed and checked the backpacks, we start the hike.
We aim to be hiking by about 11:30am. The first part of the hike takes about 45 minutes. We stop at the view point for about 20 minutes. There is an incredible view of the Amphitheatre wall from here. And then its onwards and upwards old chap. After another 45 minutes of hiking we have a 3 minute lunch break at the base of The Gully. One we are powered up, we slog our way up the Gully.
This part of the hike is probably the most challenging as we ascend about 200m in height and involves quite a bit of bouldering style hiking. The views at the summit though are well worth the effort. We basically summit on the Western Buttress with the towing bulk of the Sentinel to the left. From there its a 45 minute hike downhill into the camp site for the knight-which is usually for King Arthur.
We set up camp next to the Tugela River and about 100m from the escapement edge. Then its nesting time. No hanky panky with a blankie in the tents please. We are a reputable hiking company, not an impregnation inducing facility. A scrumptious mountain dinner is served at about 7pm. We then tuck you into bed with your favourite teddy bear and a tell you a story about how my mom divided a packet of peanuts equally between 5 children in a snowstorm.
4 small red ants and a middle aged toaster will wake you up with a series of gentle overtures from Beethoven. The next 2 hours is dedicated to breakfast, making up camp and finding a suitable place for a pooh. We then take the journey back off the mountain. The first challenge will be the decent of the 2 notorious chainladders that always seem to bring a tear to the eye.
One we have climbed down, its a 1.5 hour hike back to he skating point of the hike. We then pile you back into the car and take the 4.5 hour drive back to Johannesburg. And stress not..we will stop in Harrismith so you can feed your pie hole. Back in Johannesburg by about 4:30pm
All you need to know about our 2 day Amphitheatre Hike in the Drakensberg
The pick-up location for the tour?
The tour includes transport from Johannesburg. The pick-up location for the tour is “The Stables Village Market” situated on 3rd Road, Chartwell. You will need to drive into the property. Don’t be scared and hang around the entrance. What about your car I hear you say? There is secure parking with security so chill Winston. It will be safe. Click here for the Google Maps Directions
Why we can’t pick you up from you home?
Because you are way too heavy. And besides that the pure logistics of driving around Johannesburg are to blame. We sometimes have over 12 people on a hike. So you can imagine the nightmare of driving all over Johannesburg to the various areas to pick up all of our guests. We would not only have some grumpy clients, (especially the ones we picked up first) but we would only get to leave Johannesburg 3 hours later. If you are not keen to drive to the meeting point, try blackmailing your family into dropping you off. But what if you are not a black male? Then try white mailing.
The departure time?
Just like a razor blade, the bus leaves at 5:15am sharp. You may have noticed that our website is www.souladventures.co.za and not lastminute.com. So please try get to the Stables by at least 5am. Gives us time to say hello, hear how you moan about how early it is and pack your luggage into the vehicle. We know it is early and you would rather be cuddled up with your favorite teddy bear, but we have a tight schedule to keep to so please could you not be late.
How long is the drive down?
The distance from Johannesburg to the Sentinel car park is 1,3777,952 inches. That is 348km for the more non imperial travelers. In terms of traveling time it is about 4.5 hours including a stop for breakfast enroute. The last 8km is on a really dodgy road that can take up to an hour to navigate.
What time do we return to Johannesburg?
As you hopefully have realized, we leave on Saturday morning and return again on Sunday afternoon at about 5:07pm. That is if everything goes according to plan. Please do not blame us for Big Bertha taking 6 hours to get down and making us late.
What Soul Adventures supplies on the trip?
This is what we supply on the trip. Please refer to the section on what you will need to bring
- 2 man tents
- Cup, spoon and bowl.
- Park Fees
- Breakfast on the mountain
- Dinner on the mountain
- Gold plated Rolls Royce (if you pay for it that is)
- Cooking equipment
Do I get my own tent?
Nope. If you do not have a partner you are going to have to find a friend. If you can’t make friends we will assign a friend to you. And of course the pairing will be kept gender based. So no ladies… we are not going to put you in a tent with a complete stranger. And no hanky panky in the blankie on this hike please. The tents are 3 man tents but we put 2 people in them. See how kind we are hey? That gives you space for your hiking bags, 145 ping pong balls and a small chinese man known as Creme Of Sum Yung Guy.
What about lunch?
No thanks we are on a diet. Our modus Operandi in the mountains is all about keeping the rhythm and momentum going. We take breaks every 30 minutes for about 10 minutes. That gives you time to fuel upon snacks, energy bars, nuts etc. We DO NOT supply lunch. We will supply unlimited praise for the incredible and lightweight lunch that you packed yourself though.
What do we suggest for snacks?
You are going to need snacks for basically 2 days. Now don’t go stock up on heavy, bulky stuff. We suggest a mixture of nuts, biltong, energy bars, and dried fruit. And try compartmentalizing the food into small zip lock bags for ease of use and convenience. You may want to also consider a powdered energy drink or rehydrate solution to help with energy. Just bare in mind you are going to be burning some serious calories. And for all you protein only type, may we suggest you drop that idea for this hike. Try and get snacks that cover carbohydrates ( 60% of your RDA), Fats (20% of your RDA) and protein (30 % of your RDA).
What equipment would I need for the hike?
Ok, so you are going to spending 1 night in the mountains. So you are going to need to have the correct equipment to survive in the mountains. Sounds dramatic I know but safety first. And please note that although the day time temperatures should be pleasant, THE EVENINGS CAN GET VERY COLD. EXPECT 4 DEGREES CELCIUS.
These are the basic things you will need, but please check out the following links for a more detailed description. And PLEASE, watch the Youtube video as well. It will give you a visual aspect on what to bring.
- A 55 litre backpack ( it must be able to fit your sleeping bag, clothing, snacks, water, sleeping mat). A 35 LITRE DAYPACK IS NOT SUFFICIENT (unless you can fit all your stuff in it. And good luck with that we say)
- Sleeping bag that can handle 4 Degrees Celcius. ( Of course you can sleep in all your fleece jerseys if need be as well. A good sleeping bag liner also adds a few degrees to the sleeping bag rating)
- Warm fleece and waterproof jacket. Even if rain is not predicted, we always prepare for the worst. Getting wet in the Drakensberg can be potentially dangerous and lead to hypothermia.
- 2 pairs of hiking socks
- Trail shoes or hiking boots
- Liner Gloves
- 2 x hiking shirts
- 1 x hiking pants
- Walking poles (optional)
- Wetwipes/toilet paper ( optional. you can use leaves if you like)
- Thermal underwear to sleep in ( optional)
- Warm jersey for camp
What should the weight of the backpack be?
The guideline is not more than a third of your body weight. The average weight is about 10kg.
*Please note. You will be required to carry your own backpack which contains your sleeping bag and clothing*
What are the hiking conditions, terrain and difficulty levels like on the hike?
So, mountains are not easy. There are going to be some challenging sections that are going to need you to dig deep mentally as well as physically. The paths are mostly single track and sometimes hug the edge of the mountain. And yes….there is going to be a lot of ‘uphills’. But stress not. It’s not the mountain you conquer but yourself. We will mentally guide you through the tough sections to help you get to the top. But for the most part, the hike is pretty easy and a moderate level of fitness will see you survive with maybe a few sore leg muscles as a reminder of the awesome hike you just completed.
WARNING: We are going to be descending via the Chainladders. So if you have a severe fear of heights please could you let us know. There are 2 chainladders to climb down.
What if it rains?
So what if it rains you ask? Well then we dish out a big dollop of sympathy and carry on with the hike. Obviously you are going to have to ensure you have all of your bags and yourself waterproofed.
How do I go about waterproofing my gear?
Okay so the first thing you will need is a rain jacket to keep yourself dry.
What we suggest for your gear is pretty simple. You will need 3 waterproof bags. (Either thick plastic bags or the more expensive waterproof bags that can seal-you can get both from a reputable hiking or outdoor retail shop). The first bag you use for your clothing. It must be large enough to fit all your clothing. The second bag is for your sleeping bag. You do not want to get this wet!!!!. The third bag is for your sleeping mat.
And over all of this you will need a backpack rain cover for extra protection. And also a few zip lock bags to keep your cell phone and toilet paper dry.
Do I need Gaitors?
If you are asking ‘what are those?’ then probably not. In fact I have never worn them and I have been up there like 250 times. Gaitors are used to keep snow out of your boots. And rain. But I find my hiking pants cover the boots so they keep the rain out. And the possibility of snow is minimal.
Do I need hiking boots or are trail shoes sufficient?
Yeah you can get away with trail shoes. Just bear in mind that if it rains you are going to get wet feet. If you cool with that and promise not to bleat in our poor guides ear about wet feet..then we cool with it.
Water bottles vs bladders
If you are looking for approval on a bladder then you’ve come to the wrong place. I have spent way too much time in the mountains to see the disadvantages of a bladder. They are squishy. They are difficult to pack in your backpack. They leak. The mouth pieces break. And they are not easy to fill with water which is sometimes a freezing trickle from a rock. And you never know how much you have drunk. I prefer 2x 1 litre Nalgene water bottles with a wide mouth- Easy to fill up-Easy to drink from- Versatile. Easy to clean.
Do we need water purification tablets?
No. The water in the Drakensberg is pure. No human settlement and no animals to pollute the water. Sometimes you get a few floating things like grass and the likes but nothing that will kill you. And water purification drops are not going to dissolve the grass particles either. We have never had an upset stomach from the water.
Where do we get water for the hike?
There is pure mountain water from the source of the Tugela on the top of the escarpment. This means you will have a plebty supply of water . However…. there is NO water at the bottom. So please make sure your water bottles are filled up prior to the hiuke. You can buy in Harrismith on the way down if you like.
What about wees and poohs?
Okay so there are a few rules and procedures when it comes to this wonderful human experience in the mountains. First of all let us star of by telling you that there are no toilets in the mountains. Eish. So you are going to have to find a suitable spot for your business. The modus operandi? Dig a whole and a) burn the toilet paper or b) keep it in a ziplock bag and carry the paper out with you. We leave the mountain as we found it!!!! No trace that we were ever there. And of course you are going to have to bear with us in terms of where you can go. The mountain is pretty limited in terms of space due to the terrain. And privacy is also a big concern. So we will work out a plan on the mountain in terms of how where and how. All part of the experience right?
How do I wash or keep myself clean?
There are obviously no showers in the mountains. And we can’t fit any in our backpacks . So you are going to have to live with the fact that you are going 3 days without a shower. And there is no bathing in the rivers allowed either!!! Unless you are brave enough to jump in without soap. We respect our rivers and would like to keep them as pristine as possible. Having said that, there are no rivers really on the hike big enough to swim in. So…..its wetwipes and hand sanitizer to keep you all fresh and lovely smelling I’m afraid. And bear in mind you are going to be sharing a tent with a possible stranger so keep those smelly feet under control.
What are we going to be eating on the hike?
So we are going to be bringing our very own mountain chefess Emma, who has worked out the art of creating tasty and nutritious food in the mountains.
Breakfast: oats with peanut butter, honey and cinnamon.
Dinners: Depending on her mood, Emma will conjure up a really cool meal. We keep things pretty healthy. So no 2 minute noodles. She will create stews with quinoa, couscous, potatoes, onions, vegetables and a secret sauce with either smoked chicken or tuna. Obviously if you are vegetarian there will be a vegetarian version. We have your booking forms with your requirements so stress not. And please be kind to Emma. Cooking in the mountains is not easy. And we don’t want you to get the ‘special’ order
What happens at meal times?
You will be assigned a plate, spoon and cup at the beginning of the hike. It is yours for the duration of the hike. At meal times you present yourself in an orderly fashion please ( no biting, scratching or pushing allowed) and help yourself to Emmas delicious food. Buffet…. but mountain style!!! After you have finished eating, there will be a bowl of hot water for you to clean your bowl, spoon and cup with. Then of course……put them away safely for the next meal. You don’t want to be eating with your hands from a rock if you misplace them. At the end of the hike we will collect the mountain cutlery from you again.
It’s my first overnight hike ever and I pretty freaked out!!!
That’s super cool. In fact 80% of the people joining the group are also on their first overnight hike. So there will be a lot of people walking the same path as you. So take it easy and enjoy the experience. Of course there is going to be pre-climb anxiety. That is super normal. We have been taking people up mountains all over the world and it is normal. Let’s face it…you are on an adventure. It’s not meant to be predictable. Adventure is all about stepping out of your comfort zone into a world of uncertainty. And that is what mountains are all about- Uncertainty. We deal with whatever comes our way. Bad weather, cold, smelly socks etc etc.
Please be kind and understanding to our guides.
Sometimes things cannot go according to plan in the mountains. Sometimes there are things that are beyond our control. Sometimes decisions are made or change of hiking plans. We are in the mountains. Please be patient and understanding with our guides. I promise you they will be trying their best (sometimes under some hectic conditions) to make you experience the best ever.
Can I bring alcohol on the hike?
Okay so a debatable topic. We are inclined to say yes but in limited quantities. Not some messed-up skunk, class A, can’t-think-let-a-lone-move stuff. And no glass bottles please . Decanter the wine or whisky into a plastic bottle- It’s lighter to carry and you can just squish the bottle when empty.
Is there cell phone reception:
Yes. On 80% of the hike. It’s not the best signal but you should be able to make a call or wottsup. But please be considerate to fellow hikers. No late night heavy breathing calls to your loved ones.
I’ve hired a backpack or sleeping bag…when do I get it?
If you ask like that sunshine, the answer is never. Foe the more polite clients… we will make sure the rental gear is packed in the trailer. You would just need to pack you stuff in a small bag. We will then transfer your stuff into the hired backpacks when we arrive at the start of the hike. Don’t stress. There will be plenty of time to pack. We do not deliver backpacks prior to the hike.
Music on the mountains?
Absolutely not!! We are here to experience the peace and quiet that the mountains so freely give. And of course there is the courtesy factor as well. The chances of everyone liking your music are pretty low. So we rather go with the ‘no music policy’ to keep the peace.
Should I invest my money in the stock exchange?
Will I make the hike?
Sure you will. Just solve the below equation and you are pretty much guaranteed of making it.
Find all the roots, real and complex, of the equation x3 – 2×2 + 25x – 50 = 0.
x= 2, 5i, –5i. First, factor the equation to get x2(x – 2) + 25(x – 2) = (x – 2)(x2 + 25) = 0. Using the multiplication property of zero, you determine that x – 2 = 0 and x = 2. You also get x2 + 25 = 0 and x2 = –25. Take the square root of each side, and