• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Wednesday, 9 October 2013
South African Hiking Trails

Day Hikes of the Drakensberg

Send to Kindle

The Drakensberg Mountain Range is one of South Africa’s most spectacular natural wonders, showcasing a selection of the most breath-taking vistas imaginable. It is the highest mountain range in the country, reaching an impressive 3 482 metres above sea level. Incredibly, its extensive nature means that the range spans the provinces of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal as well as Lesotho and Swaziland.

The Drakensberg is a hiker’s dream destination as it offers so much in the way of trails – ranging from relatively short, easy walks to far more challenging, even technical, hikes reserved for the experienced. These allow hikers to take in the wonderful vistas, smell the fresh South African air laden with the scents of the mountain vegetation, feel the sunshine and take fantastic photographs. There are also a number of sites that showcase the original drawings and paintings of the hunter-gatherers that once inhabited the caves and mountains of the region.


The magnificent Drakensberg


Here are some excellent day hiking opportunities for those with a desire to get the muscles working:


  • At the foot of the mountains and near the Mpofane River Valley are a selection of great day walks and hikes. The Hlathikulu Forest Trail boasts some stunning forested areas in some places as well as carpets of wild flowers in others. It takes one along the river and promises the perfect resting spot at Nandi’s Falls. This is an easy walk, ideal for those that are not seasoned hikers.
  • Follow the trail up past the Mpofane River Valley’s sandstone rock faces until you reach the vast savannahs at the base of the Caithkin Peak. This is a stunning spot for those who love wildlife, as it is abuzz with different antelope and bird species who call this home. This is also relatively easy.
  • For the fitter hikers, climb to the top of Sterkhorn, which has an elevation of almost 3 000 metres. This takes about four hours to accomplish and involves plenty of scrambling over the rocks. The views from the top are breath-taking, and include Devil’s Tooth and the Giant’s Castle.
  • The hike to the top of Champagne Castle (3 336 metres high) takes a tough 10 hours. However, for those with the strength and stamina, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get these incredible views of the South African landscapes. There is a drop of about 1 000 metres and, for those sitting at the top of it, the rare bearded vultures can be seen from above as they circle and soar through the air.


Hiking in the Drakensberg


Of course, in addition to these, there are countless other trails and paths to explore around the Drakensberg. Bear in mind that winters can become extremely cold in the mountains, presenting a host of unique problems to those that are not absolutely prepared for the harsh weather conditions. Always drink plenty of water and apply a high-factor sunscreen when hiking or walking outdoors. Ensure that your group knows where you are and that you have some form of communication while venturing out into the mountains before embarking on any Day Hikes of the Drakensberg.

Drakensberg Pages of Interest and to help you plan:


Drakensberg Day Hikes


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

You are reading Popular Hiking Trails and Walks in South Africa Series Read more from this series of articles.