Monks Cowl in the Central Drakensberg is the most popular Drakensberg reserve
Monks Cowl is part of the Maluti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and is situated in at the head of the Champagne Valley in the Central Drakensberg. With breathtaking vistas of sweeping grasslands on the lower reaches, to magnificent towering cliffs and waterfalls cascading for hundreds of metres – Monks Cowl is the ideal place for camping, hiking, day walks or even just enjoying a light meal at the tea garden.
Hiking trails at Monks Cowl
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 Sterkspruit 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.
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.
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.