Most visitors to the Drakensberg underestimate the difficulty of terrain.  As a resort owner it is not easy to judge a person’s capability until they have been there for a day or two. Some guests are unassuming and very capable,  others are over confident. Please listen to our advice and follow it. Water from rivers is drinkable in most areas. Fires are not permitted. Please sign the mountain rescue registers.

Hiking in the drakensberg mountains
Hiking in the drakensberg mountains

An excellent set of 1:500 000 maps is available at park entrances and shops in all the areas. The scale does not allow for great detail and takes some getting used to for most people. These are more suitable for overnight hiking than day trips.

Please also see www.inkosana.co.za or Email  inkosana@inkosana.co.za for more  info on hikes, there are  also examples of  the sort of hikes that can be done.  Please note that we do not offer scheduled hikes. We can arrange a guide and work out a route, with or without a guide, for you. For day walks a guide is only necessary in exceptional cases.

It you are living in KwaZulu-Natal for a while, contact the Mountain Club of South Africa  mcsakzn@mcsa.org.za

(www.kzn.mcsa.org.za) You can arrange to get a newsletter and go on meets. There are the following guide books :

“Drakensberg 20 best walks in 10 regions” by Erwin and Nicolene Niemand. Published by Oshana.

“Best walks of the Drakensberg” by David Bristowe. Published by Struik.

“Walking in the Drakensberg” by Jeff Williams. Published by Cicerone.

Day walks

Most parks and resorts have simplified maps for their area, they are generally good and quite adequate for day walks.  Nevertheless, take care and acquaint yourself with the new terrain. Please make sure you get back in daylight. If you go wrong, retrace your steps and return by the way you came. Do not try to find a shortcut.

 Overnight hikes

As stated above the official maps take getting used to and the terrain will also be new to you. Signs are not permitted in the wilderness area, so after and hour or two you are on your own. You may not see another person for days.  There are usually well maintained paths in the lower park regions, but these may become no more than tiny tracks later on.  In the high ‘Berg there may not be any trails at all, some trails appear to be the correct one and then peter out or run off in the wrong direction. Some are animal tracks and others may have been made by herdsmen. The upper regions are much tougher than most expect. The gorges can be densely overgrown and often extreme boulder hopping is required to negotiate rivers. The weather is apt to change rapidly and you should be prepared for extremes. Guides are available for some routes, but tend to be expensive for a group of only 1or 2 people. You will in any event need basic gear such as a tent and sleeping bag and so on.

Climbing basalt
Climbing basalt

Doing Peaks in a day

There are a few peaks which can be done in a day, please  see the next section. The walk-in can be very long and the ascent up to 2000m. This sort of exercise should not be considered by novices. If you do not do this back home, don’t try it in a strange country. Once again guides are expensive for small groups.

Rockclimbing in the ‘Berg

Traditional ‘Berg climbing is very demanding and committing, obviously just as rewarding. Routes often took years to open and are not easy to find and follow. The rock is basalt and quite friable, sometimes special gear is required. It really is necessary for visitors to go with someone who has done the route before. There is one guide available in Piertermaritzburg, Gavin Raubenheimer.  gavin@peakhigh.co.za

If you are in KwaZulu-Natal for a while contact the Mountain Club Of South Africa.  mcsakzn@mcsa.org.za

You can get a newsletter and arrange to go on meets

There are three guide books available :

“Rock and Ice Climbs of the Drakensberg” Published by mcsakzn.

“A climber’s guide to KwaZulu-Natal rock” By Roger Nattrass. Published by Typestone.

“Serpent Spires” by Duncan Souchon. Published by Jonathan Ball.

 Ice Climbing

In the 1980’s Jeff Ingman, a Yorkshireman opened  numerous ice climbing routes in the southern ‘Berg. This is only possible where there is good runoff in autumn to the south in where the sun does not reach in June and July.

Since then the sport has grown and new routes have been opened.

Ice climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Ice climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Ice climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Ice climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Ice Climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Ice Climbing - Gavin Raubenheimer
Drakensberg - Gavin Climbing
Drakensberg - Gavin-Climbing