Hiking in the Drakensberg

Name of venue Hiking in the Drakensberg

Information courtesy of Greg Devine

Brief summary of venue  Drakensberg hiking ranges from short day walks to long, hard multi-night trips over the escarpment. The scenery is spectacular, with beautiful flowers in summer or snow and ice on the escarpment in winter.
Permit/ permission info  Entry and permit is through one of the KwaZulu Natal Parks Gates.
Approximate travelling time from Johannesburg  4 to 6 hours.
Parking information  Parking is usually at the KZN Parks reception areas and is reasonably safe. Cost is included in the over-night hiking fee, currently R50 per night.
Info on walk in  The difficulty and length depends on the hike chosen.
Accommodation  Caves are sometimes used where convenient, but tents must be taken otherwise.
Availability of water for drinking  Most water is suitable for drinking and is plentiful most of the time, but can be scarce on top in winter and at any time on long ridges or north-facing slopes.
Climbing route guide  ‘Drakensberg Walks’ by David Bristow (Struik) lists 120 graded walks in the Berg, but you are free to select your own route if you wish. A detailed 1:50 000 map is a must.
Climbing information
Child friendly  This depends on the child, the grade of the hike and the leader.
Swimming  Yes.
Camp fires  No.
Other attractions  In addition to spectacular scenery and an abundance of plant and animal life, rock art can also be seen on some hikes.
Dangers  The local population can be light-fingered in some areas and there is a lot of cross-border foot and donkey traffic in others. Most travellers will be friendly and will simply ask for a sweet. When camping at night try to camp away from popular passes. Bring all your gear inside the tent and especially guard your boots. Try to go in parties of four or more. It is essential to be properly equipped as rain and snow is possible at any time of the year and winter weather can be extreme.
Contacts
  • Ask around the Club to find someone who has done the route before, if you feel you need more advice.
  • Make booking through the KwaZulu Natal Parks:www.kznwildlife.com.
  • The KZN section of the MCSA has info on hiking in the Berg, seehttp://kzn.mcsa.org.za.