Drakensberg Hiking Trails

There are some incredible Drakensberg Hiking Trails to choose from. Routes include a variety of options from 2 day, 3 day and 4 day hikes.

Introduction to Drakensberg Hiking Trails

The quest to explore the various Drakensberg Hiking Trails has inspired a generation of hikers from all over the world. The Barrier of Spears offer a tremendous adventure in some of the most scenic and remote areas. Some of the trails demand great dertemination while others remain attainable by dedicated novices. Hikers of all levels of ability can aspire to complete a multitude of hikes on the various trail options available. Once you have done one Drakensberg hike, you will want to come back to do more. The fact that most of the trails are realistic and attainable makes them a lot more attractive. The collection of routes is a regional objective and not restricted to just one area hiking them requires travel to soem of the most wonderous corners of the Drakensberg.

One of the best Drakensberg hiking trails has got to be the Mnweni circuit route in the northern region of the mountains

A popular collection of Drakensberg Hiking Trails

Of the many popular collections of trails that hikers can try and complete, the Northern and Central Drakensberg offers the widest selection of experiences. Each of the peaks, towering basalt towers, valley and gullys in these regions are unique. The open expanse of the Amphitheatre which boasts the highest waterfall in the world, The Tugela Falls, commands the Northern Drakensberg. As the range extends south, it opens up to a series of valleys and  hiking trails from Mnweni, Cathedral Peak and into the Central Drakensberg made up of Champagne Castle, Injasuthi and Giants Castle. The highest of them all, Mafadi at 3,451m offers hikers the chance to watch the sunrise from the highest mountain in South Africa.

List of top Drakensberg Hikes

Here is the list of the top Drakensberg hiking trails in the Northern and Central berg that we offer. Of course we are flexible and can chop and change if you have a group that is looking for something else.

The majority of Drakensberg Hiking Trails can be found in the Northern and Central parts of the range

Self expression on a Drakensberg hike

Each of the various Drakensberg Hiking Trails gives hikers the oppertunity to express themselves through the route and style of their adventure. There is no fixed way of hiking in the Drakensberg mountains. There are the easy routes to the high berg via the chainladders to the top of the Amphitheatre. Or hikers can push up the odds by taking harder routes that include Mafadi, Champagne Castle, Mnweni, Fangs Pass or the highly acclaimed ‘Mini Traverse’. Others may attempt to hike in the winter months, learning to survive the harsh elements that include subzero temperatures, snow and wind. Hiking in the Drakensberg offers the oppertunity to define your challenge and tailor a trail to fits one’s ability and ambition.

The base level of difficulty on a Drakensberg hiking trail

Of course, self expression in the Drakensberg extends far beyond the various trails. Hikers have the freedom to determine how they hike,wether they wish to be led up with a mountain guide, or make a solo attempt of the a difficult route in winter. All of the Drakensberg hiking trails, have a base level of difficulty which is absolute. it is easy to make a hike more difficult than it is. But aside from proper preperation, it is impossible to make a hike easier. This base level of difficulty determines each routes status in the Drakensberg hierarchy. The Amphitheatre is an easy walk, while Mafadi is a journey to the edge of extinction. Okay maybe not that bad. Just had to add some over dramatisation to help with our marketing strategy to intice you into booking a hike with us. Or you could have alook at the below image and having assumed that you didn’t block the attack, you will be obliged to book with us.

The Levels of Difficulty in the Drakensberg

Here is a list of Drakensberg Hiking trails and there difficulty ratings. A list that wer are sure will provoke debate, but 3 things are certain. You will die one day. The Amphithearte hike is the easiest. And the toughest hikes are Mafadi, The mini traverse and Fangs Pass. The relative difficulty of the remaining trails are more fluid, based on each hikers personal experience, ability and perspective. The grades we use are not a recognized system. They are only intended to reflect the comparitive difficulty of each trail.  And of course we have to use the word ‘unrecognized’, to keep the lawyers away when hikers disagree with us. The rating encompasses technical difficulty, strenuousness, physical hardship, weather and terrain.

*Things to consider when looking at the grading-Hikers will be hiking with a backpack weighing between 15 and 20kg*

Hiking TrailGradingChallenges
Mafadi865km over 4 days, exposure up Judges or Corner Pass, volatile weather conditions, fatigue, river crossings  and altitude,
Amphitheatre2Chainladders and volatile weather
Cathedral Peak5Exposed summit section, and dangerous in rain
Champagne Castle743km over 3 days, 1000m elevation gain up Grays Pass,Volatile weather
Bell Traverse743km over 3 days, exposed sections by Twins Cave especailly in wet conditions, steep passes, Fatigue, volatile weather on the escarpment
Royal Natal Gorge walk2Possible fatigue if not fit
Mini Traverse987km over 5 days, volatile weather on the escarpment, compounded fatigue, wind, snow in winter
Mnweni744km over 3 days, steep Passes and volatile weather
Marble Baths2River crossings and heat in summer
Madonna and her Worshippers5Volatile weather conditions, chainladder
Fangs Pass752km over 3 days.Going up  Fangs Pass is a challenge, volatile weather

One of the best drakensberg hiking trails is to the summit of the Amphitheatre. Nothing better than a night under the stars we sayWhat we include on our guided Drakensberg hiking trails 

We understand how costly and time consuming getting the correct equipment for a Drakensberg hike can be. And we have also been through the learning curve with our beloved clients. Many a hike has there been with hikers rocking up with sub standard sleeping bags, backpacks that can ony carry a ping pong ball, 45 tins of frikken heavy baked beans and so forth. So…to alleviate this possible setback, we have decided to include the following in our tours:

  • 65/75 litre backpacks
  • Season rated sleeping bags ( yes we have -8 rated ones for a winter hike on the escarpment)
  • Sleeping mats ( just don’t wake them up please)
  • 4 season tents. The brand? No ways we saying. No free advertising on our site chaps.
  • Breakfast, dinner and hot drinks prepared by your friendly neighbourhood mountain guides
  • Eating utensils

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