South Africa holidays
Hiking in the Drakensberg is spectacular and there are both long and short self-guided walks along well-marked trails. Alternatively, you can pay to have a specialist walking guide accompany you; overnight hikes are also possible. The type of landscape you will be walking in depends, to an extent, on where you are staying. Drakensberg North is the area of the mountain range that is closest to Johannesburg and is centred on the Royal Natal National Park. The scenery is exceptional and the mountain hiking superb; the most famous feature is the amphitheatre, a massive encircling escarpment cut by the Tugela falls. The hike up to Mon Aux Sources is a strenuous and dramatic 20km day, but there are plenty of easier but still excellent half- and full-day trails. Montusi Mountain Lodge is our top recommendation for accommodation here, which is only 15km from the Royal Natal National Park itself. At Montusi, daily morning guided hikes on the 1,000 hectare estate are included, with coffee and biscuits thrown in. At Cathedral Peak Hotel you can enjoy free daily hikes (including to Bushman paintings and beautiful waterfalls). There are a choice of 18 different walks and hikes, ranging from gentle riverside ambles to the challenging hike and climb to the summit of Cathedral Peak itself. Drakensberg South does not have quite the same majesty of the great escarpments to the north, but the mountains remain impressive and provide some excellent hiking routes, whilst the farmlands below are amongst the most beautiful in the country. The Sani pass up to Lesotho is a famously precarious route which leads to 'the highest pub in Africa'. Moorcroft Manor is our recommended accommodation in the southern Drakensberg, with its location in the foothills of the mountains offering the perfect base for easy walking trails and exploring authentic rural villages.