So here’s a thing. Life is all about decisions right? Simple decisons. We have been involved in guided Tugela Falls hikes for over 15 years. We have accumulated some knowledge and wisdom about the mountains. If I could offer you only one tip for a hike up the Amphitheatre, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists. Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. All I can offer you is 2 pills. You take the blue pill, the Tugela Falls Hike ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe about the trail.You take the red pill, you stay on the Amphitheatre, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
About the Tugela Falls Hike
Okay, so now that we have got the wierd, philosophical stuff out of the way, let’s delve into the topic at hand shall we? What is the Tugela Falls Hike all about. Of course, we could include all the cliched words if you like to descibe the hike. From stunning, awesome, amazing, bucket list hike and all that jazz. But the hike is way deeper than that. It is a hike that you need to experience for yourself to fully grasp the extent of its beauty. The hike covers 12km in total from beginning to end. It is also the qickest and easiest route to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment. The hike starts at the Sentinel car Park and the route up is either via the Gully or the infamous Chainladders. Once on the top, you will be rewarded with the following:
- 3 orange Smarties
- Panoramic veiws of the entire width of the Amphitheatre from the Western to Eastern Butress
- The looming bulk of The Sentinel
- A gander at the highest waterfall in the world
- A 980m drop in to the valley of the Royal Natal National park below.
- The remote mountainous environment that is chracteristic of the Lesotho and Drakensberg escarpment.
Spend a night on the top
If you have the time, you should definitley look at joining our 2 day guided hike. We hike up and set up camp right next to the Tugela Falls. Although you would be hiking with a backpack, the duration into camp about 4 hours. That gives you a lot of free time on the top to explore the area. A great experience for novice hikers, families and is perfect for kids as well. And no need to stress about all the equipment and food!!! Soul Adventures will supply the following:
- 4 Season tents
- Sleeping bags suitable for the temperatures
- 70 Litre backpacks
- Sleeping Mats
- Breakfast and dinners prepared by our guides
- Eating utensils
Where is the Tugela Falls Situated?
The hike is situated in the Amphitheatre region of the Northern Drakensberg mountains. There is basically only one way in. Via the town of phuthaditjhaba situated about 45 minutes from Harrismith. The drive from Johannesburg is about 350km taking 4 hours.
How long is the Tugela Falls Hike?
The total distance from beginning to end is between 12 and 14km depending on what route you take to the top and how much rambling you do when up there. Although The Tugela Falls Hike can be done in 1 day, a better option is joining a 2 day overnight tour.
Where does the Tugela Falls Hike Start from?
The Tugela Falls hike officially starts from the Sentinel Car Park. If you are really bored, you could start from the Witsieshoek Mountain lodge situated 8km further down. But that is going to add another 16km to your hiking distance. If you choose this option, maybe not a good option for a day hike. That would mean a 28km hike in one day.
Can you hike Tugela Falls in one day?
Yes it is totally doable. As mentioned, the total hiking distance is only 12km. It is possible to make the top, have a picnic and make you way back down again in say 7 hours. ” 12km in 7 hours? How the heck to you work that out”, the man in the back shouts out. Well dear sir, allow us to indulge you. If you have been well behaved and read the whole of this blog, you will have learned that we have been involved in the guided Tugela Falls hike for over 15 years. This means we have accumulated some data sunshine. The average hiking speed for a hiker with average fitnness on this hike is about 2 km/h. Now if my university maths is anything to go by, that works out to 6 hours of hiking and say 1 hour to chill on the top. Of course, if you consider yourself to have above average fitness, then you would be able to do the hike a tad quicker.
What is the best time to the Tugela Falls Hike?
Ahhhh….the age old question that has haunted hikers for eons. The hike can be done throughout the year. It all depends on what your preferences. Winter months are freezing (especially in the evenings) with chances of snow. Summer months are hot with high chances of thunderstorms and mist. Of course, these conditons are manageble if you come prepared and have the right equipment. But we warned…..the conditions on the Amphitheatre are very volatile. Weather conditons can change so quickly. You must be prepared for the worst. Do not underestimate the seasons. Getting caught in a thunderstorm with freezing winds in summer can be fatal. A lot of hikers have been caught with their pants down thinking summer is associated with hot conditons. Why would I need warm clothing in summer right? Wrong!