There is something intensely humbling and hauntingly beautiful about mountains. Exploring their breath-taking heights and investigating the tiniest of crevices makes for a very special holiday experience at almost any time of year. South Africa’s landscape is one that is almost as diverse as its people.
Extensive mountain ranges scrawl their way across the terrain; inviting hikers, walkers, campers and those with a love for the outdoors to be a part of the natural mountainous magnificence of this country.
Some of the best mountain getaways in South Africa
The majestic Magaliesburg Mountain Range is situated between Pretoria Accommodation (Gauteng) and Pilanesberg (North West Province). Its highest point is 1 852 metres high and its length measures some 120 kilometres. Cliffs, valleys, waterfalls and wooded slopes all make for stunning views and near-perfect camping conditions.
Attractions and activities in the Magaliesburg include hiking, walking, fly fishing, shopping, visiting Monate Sitruskelder (a cellar that makes citrus wines), tanneries, Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, abseiling, river rafting, rock climbing, swimming, kloofing and quad-biking. The Mountain Sanctuary Park is an unspoilt piece of paradise.
Another major attraction that is part of the Magaliesburg is the Sterkfontein Caves, which contained ancient relics that have led archaeologists and anthropologists to believe that this is the cradle of humankind; that is, the geographical point at which all humans began and evolved.
The Cederberg Mountain Range is situated about 300 kilometres north of Cape Town and is known for its San cave art, left on and amongst impressive rock formations. The nearest town is Clanwilliam, which is small and quiet but has a very distinct culture and heritage, and Citrusdal.
This range covers 100 square kilometres and includes the Sneeuberg and Tafelberg mountains. Summers are very hot, with practically no rainfall to speak of. In winter, though, the area is cold and wet. So, the best time to visit is during spring and autumn.
Rock climbing, caving and hiking are recommended during your time in the spectacular Cederberg Mountain Range because of the incredible rock formations and, even more exciting, the illustrations left on the rock faces by ancient African tribes. There is also an astronomical observatory, where the billions of stars that litter the night sky can be seen.
As one of the highest mountain range in South Africa, the Drakensberg lures nature-loving tourists and naturalists from all over the world. At its highest point, the Drakensberg measures 3 482 metres, or more than 11 420 feet.
It is so large that it covers KwaZulu Natal, Lesotho, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Limpopo. There is a high rainfall throughout most of the mountain range, which has created a number of free-flowing streams and rivers. Winter snowfall is common in the higher peaks of the Drakensberg.
There are many cave paintings, left on these caves walls centuries ago, which reveal the secrets of the African way of life of yesteryear. Popular attractions in the Drakensberg Mountain Range include the Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak and Didima Valley, the Cathkin and Champagne Valley, Lost Valley and Middledale Pass, and the Boer War battle sites.