Overnight hiking trails in the Drakensberg Mountains

Overnight hiking trails in the Drakensberg Mountains

Overnight hiking in the Drakensberg seems complicated with information seemingly limited. However hiking trails with great options for one or more overnight in the Drakensberg are plentiful and very worth doing. The first rule is plan it yourself. There are limited options for organized hiking trails and besides Giants Cup I am not aware of any hiking trails that can be booked. You can of course hire a hiking guide but that can turn out to be an expensive option.But armed with a good topographical map, a GPS and a good idea of where to hike you will find the Drakensberg is a magical place and wonder when you will find the time to return for your next overnight experience in our magical mountains

Great overnight Drakensberg hiking trails

  • In the Monk’s Cowl area, spend a night behind a waterfall while camping in Zulu Cave and continue on to explore the beautiful Didima Gorge. Some of the best San (Bushman) Rock Art can be found nearby in Eland Cave. Or head to the top and spend the night on top of Champagne Castle. Watch the sunrise above the clouds over Cathkin Peak and Kwa Zulu-Natal. Experienced hiking parties can descend via the hectic Ship’s Prow Pass.
  • Around Cathedral Peak, try the three-day overnight hike – Bell Traverse. Begin with an ascent of Cathedral Peak and overnight in a cave at the base of the neighboring Bell mountain. The second day is spent winding your way through peaks at 3000 m and overnighting in spacious Twins Cave. The final day begins with a short trip up Mlambonjwa Pass to the top of the escarpment with magnificent views into Lesotho. Descend the pass, walking and rock-hopping down the Mlambonjwa river back to the valleys of the Little ‘Berg.
  • Starting at Giant’s Castle entrance, it’s a steep ascent to a mountain hut directly below the basalt cliffs of Giant’s Castle, and perched on the edge of a mountain lake. On the second day, a fairly easy walk takes you to the base of Langalibalele Pass. Once at the top, view the Carbineers’ Graves which date from the English occupation of Natal. Overnight at Bannerman Cave. The third day takes a spectacular high-altitude traverse past Gypaetus Point where the bearded vultures nest. Ascending an enormous valley one reaches the Injasuthi area with the highest points in the Drakensberg. The evening is spent in Injasuthi Cave. On the final day, the traverse concludes with ridge-walking over a 1000 m drop, culminating with the arrival at Leslie’s Pass, and a comparatively easy descent to the welcoming river valley. You may overnight in an indigenous forest or at Junction Cave. The final day needs just an easy two hour stroll to the Injasuthi entrance gate.

Drakensberg overnight hiking trail tips

  • A good set of topographic maps that are readily available and affordable to overnight hikers. Hiking trails exist even deep into the wilderness areas.
  • Water is safe to drink in the Drakensberg Mountains.
  • If you plan well you don’t need to carry a tent. There are lots of rock overhangs hat make for excellent shelters. The ones that are ideal for camping on overnight hikes are marked on the topographical maps.
  • Make sure you put the search and rescue service for overdue hiking parties into your phone. There is pretty good signal from most parts of the Drakensberg as long as you get out of the valleys.
  • Hikers should be prepared for the possibility of rain showers and cold nights.

The terrain can be very rugged and overnight hiking strenuous. Route finding and map reading skills are definitely required.

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