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Central Drakensberg hiking trails

Hiking trails at Cathedral Peak

Blue Pool and Nyosi Grotto
A easy 2 hrs or 5.5 kms hike
A short hike in the Cathedral Peak area, starting from the hotel and following the Nyosi River southwards.

Cathedral Peak Hike
An extreme 6 to 7 hrs hike - 10km.
A long arduous hike requiring a high level of fitness. Starts from Cathedral Peak Hotel, up the path to the Cathedral Ridge. Rock scrambling is often necessary due to rock slides on the gully below the peak.

Contour Path - Cathedral Peak to Ndedema
A moderate to severe hike of 3 hours or 3.5 kms
A long hard hike. Starts at Cathedral Peak Hotel, up to contour path below Cathedral range and follow it southwards. Hike passes underneath the main escarpment and back down the Ndedema Gorge.

Contour Path- Ndedema to Monk's Cowl
A moderate 2 day hike(27.5 kms)
A severe hike which starts at the contour path at the upper end of the Ndedema Valley. This is reached via the solar cliffs path in the Cathedral area, or via the Hikes' Pass route up to the contour path. The hike follows the contour path southwards traversing the Mdedela Wilderness area.

Ganabu Ridge and Baboon Rock
A severe 6 hr hike(15kms)
The hike starts on the Cathedral Peak route and then branches off to the right, going down into the Nxwaye valley, up the Ganabu Ridge and down Baboon Rock.

Mlambonja Pass to Twins Cave
A severe 6-8 hrs hike (11 kms)
From Cathedral Peak Hotel the path follows the river past the trout hatchery and up to the top of the little berg above the mlambonja river. The pass is consistently very steep and long.

Mlambonja Valley (3)
A moderate 30 mins - 2 hrs hike (1,5 - 5,2 kms)
There are three hikes, the lower valley 1,5 km, neptunes pool 4,2 km and marble baths 5,2 km. The Mlambonja Pass Route bypasses most of the lower river valley. All hikes begin at the Cathedral Peak Hotel.

Mushroom Rock
A fair 1 hr hike (2 kms)
This is a fairly steep hike, which leads up behind the hotel to a large mushroom-shaped rock.

Old Furrow Trail
There are displays along the route which makes the trail is convenient for school groups. The trail gives views of the Bushman's River and wild animals especially buck may be seen in the open grassland. Picnic sites are available.

Oqalweni Forest Walk
An easy 2 hrs hike (5.5 kms)
This route is ideal for hikers who prefer secluded outings. It starts from the Cathedral Peak Hotel, past the trout hatchery and along the Oqalweni River to a waterfall and pool.

Oqalweni Valley
A moderate 5 hrs hike (16.5 kms)
This hike gives you a grand tour of the valley. The path passes through a number of habitats. It starts at the Cathedral Peak path past Shermans Cave, but takes the left fork of the contour path around the top of the Oqalweni Valley and back down one tree hill.

Rainbow Gorge
A fair 2 hrs hike (5.5 kms)
This is probably one of the most picturesque hikes in the area. From the hotel skirt the base of Tryme Hill westwards, then eastwards on the path into the gorge. Once in the gorge itself the path follows the river.

Tarn and Tryme Hills
A hike of4 hrs (10 kms)
This half-day outing affords grand views of the escarpment and close up encounters with some high spires and butresses, as well as the possibility of exploring the forests around the available falls, all on the same stream, a tributory of the Mhlonhlo River.
Cathedral Peak, Central Drakensberg.

Tseketseke Camp Site
A moderate -severe 4 hrs hike (9.5 kms)
This hike takes one into the mountains directly below Cleft Peak which dominates the area betweeen Cathedral Peak and Champagne Castle.

Two Passes and Cleft Peak Escarpment Hike
An extreme 3 days hike (40 kms)
The route starts at the top of Mike's Pass near Cathedral Peak Hotel, up the long ridge and the very steep Organ Pipes Pass. Traverse the escarpment and descend via Mlambonja Pass. This hike is classified extreme and for good reason. Not to be undertaken by the unfit or inexperienced. Mike's Pass to Cathedral Peak Hotel via Organ Pipes.


Hiking trails at Monks Cowl and Champagne Castle

Champagne Castle Via Gray's Pass
An extreme 19 hrs hike (19 kms)
The trail goes up the Mhlwazini Valley, between Champagne Castle and Dragon's Back on the right and Monk's Cowl on the left, with views so dramatic that if the path doesn't take your breath away, the secenery surely will.

Contour Path- Monk's Cowl to Injasuti
A moderate 9 hrs hike (21 kms)
This hike is the longest, hardest and least used of three possible routes between Monk's Cowl and Injasuti Camp. The most commonly used path is the Van Heynigen's Pass & Shada Ridge.

Crystal Falls and Sphinx
A fair 1 hr 20 mins hike (3 kms)
The path leads south then west across to the Sphinx and further to Breakfast Stream. This hike is the beginning section of all hikes radiating from the Monk's Cowl KZN Wildlife office.

Fern Forest
An easy 30 minutes (1 kms)
This is a short walk along a forested stream to a waterfall and a picnic spot.

Mhlwazini Valley Trail
A severe 9 hrs hike (24 kms)
From the Monks Cowl Camp Site the route ascends the sphinx, and contours around the top of the Hlatikulu Forest. From there is heads down into the Mhlwazini Valley and along the river.

Stable Cave Trail
A moderate 4 hrs hike (9.5 kms)
The route ascends the Steilberg to the top of the little berg. The cave looks north from a narrow ridge of the Little Berg Plateau towards the Valley of Pools.

Sterkspruit Falls and Gorge
A moderate - severe 6 hrs hike (15 kms)
This is a pleasant outing involving some boulder hopping and river crossings. Start at Monks Cowl Campsite following the Serkspruit River into the gorge. The return route is further south, running eastwards across the little berg, down to the Sphinx and Loops down to the campsite. Long and severe.


Hiking trails in Giant's Castle Game Reserve and Injasuthi 

Bannerman Hut
A severe 4.5 hrs hike (11 kms)
A long hike from the Giant's Camp northwest along a clear path, with an early start it is easy to make the hut by mid-morning. The hut must be booked through KZN Nature Conservation Service.

Battle Cave to Injasuti Cave
A moderate 4 hrs hike (8.5 kms)
This is a guided tour of the battle cave where a pictorial display of bushman life In this valley complete with a taped guide to the paintings are seen. One can stay for a night at the Lower Injasuti Cave, but bookings must be made in advance for both this and the battle cave tour. Trout fishing, hiki, swimming, curios, charcoal, maps.

Berg view
A fair 2 hrs hike (5 kms)
A short hike from the Giant's Castle Camp to a popular view point, offering one of the best views of the escarpment, ranging from Giant's Castle to Cathkin Peak.

Centenary Hut
A severe 5 hrs hike (10 km)
Injasuti. Follow the path Pastfergy's Cave for 4kms to centenary of the contourpath

Champagne Pools
An easy hike (4kms - 1.5 hrs)
A circular walk starting 1km from Giant's Castle main gate. Secluded pools for swimming and fishing.

Giant's Castle Pass
An extreme 4 hrs or 6 kms hike (from Giants Hut)
The hike begins at Giant's Castle Camp and continues up to the top of the little Berg, up the very steep Giant's Pass. Not for the inexperienced.

Giant's Hut via Oribi Ridge
A severe 4 hrs hike (10.5 kms)
An alternative route to Giant's Hut just south of the two dassies stream route. It starts at the main Giant's Castle Camp, climbing steadily to the hut, which must be booked.

Grindstone Caves and Cataract Valley
A moderate 4 hrs hike (13 kms)
This hike begins at injasuti camp and follows a circular route via Grindstone Caves, the waterfalls and Cataract Valley. The path follows the Mhlwazini River back to the camp.

Grysbok Bush
A fair 2 hrs 30 mins hike (4 kms)
This hike, starting at Giant's Castle main camp, takes you up the Bushman's River to the largest forest in the Giant's Castle area .

Langalibalele Pass
A severe 3 hrs 30 mins hike (6.5 kms)
Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle Camp past the main caves. The path is consistently steep although the pass itself is one of the easiest and shortest in the berg.
Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle camp past the main caves.

Main Caves
An easy 40 mins hike
This hike leads from the camp, along the river near the edge of a forest, up to the large caves, which are crucial archaeological sites and have been turned into a museum showing the Bushman's way of life. Tours are conducted throughout the year at set times in the company of a field ranger.

Marble Baths
A moderate hike. (8.5kms - 6hrs)
From Injisuthi Camp follow the route to Fergy's Cave but take the right fork along the Injisuthi River approximately 4kms from the start. You can overnight at the Marble Baths Cave.

Meander Hut
A fair hike. (5.5kms - 2hrs)
There are two ways to get to this hut, which overlooks the Meander Stream from its perch on top of the cliffs of the Little Berg. The hut accommodates four people and it must be booked.

Old Kraal and Yellowwood Forest
An easy 1 hr hike (2.5 kms)
This is a short walk in the vicinity of the camp. From the office at Injasuti take the Cowl Stream fork. At the top of the incline turn left to the walls of the old kraal. And shortly after that left again to the old woman stream. After crossing the river turn left and follow the path back to camp.

River Walk
An easy 1.5kms - 30mins hike
this pleasant stroll has no specific destination and can join the forest walk for a most enjoyable ramble.

Spare Rib Cave
A severe 2 hrs hike (3kms)
Injasuti. Proceed up Bannerman Pass from Bannerman Hut. The cave is near the top of the escarpment on the left hand side.

Van Heyningen's Pass to View Point
moderate 3 hrs hike (8 kms)
This will serve as a hikers' orientation with the surrounding landscapes and major peaks.

Wildebeest Plateau
A moderate 6 hrs hike (18 kms)
This hike is perfect for a day's outing with opportunties to relax and swim, and to observe the surroundings at leisure.

World's view
A moderate 3 hrs hike (7 kms)
From the picnic area take the concrete path down to and across Bannerman Bridge. Follow the path to below Sugarloaf Kop and on up to World's View.


Acknowledgement: South Africa - Discover our Drakensberg