|Hiking in the Drakensberg

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.
    • Message from National Search & Rescue:Notice regarding Mountain Rescue during the COVID-19 lockdown

      We are all aware how Public Health guidelines have urged the public to 'flatten the curve' of the COVID-19 virus, and our President's announcement of lockdown is a welcomed show of courageous leadership that South Africa needs at this time.

      The Mountain Club of SA's Search and Rescue teams support this approach categorically.

      1) If engaging in some last minute pursuits this week, please engage in ultra-low-risk activities only. Please also respect closures already in place by SAN Parks and Ezemvelo.
      2) Please respect the lockdown unconditionally.
      Because it is the right thing to do.
      ...and accidents do happen, no matter how expert you think you may be.
      The MCSA's search and rescue team make themselves available because we believe in the value of responsible enjoyment of the wilderness, and in supporting our outdoor colleagues and community.
      Where life and limb is at stake, our members may still come to your aid.

      HOWEVER, during this crisis:
      - Healthcare infrastructure must be reserved for only the most critical, necessary cases.
      - Your own exposure to the virus will be significantly higher while being rescued and receiving healthcare.
      - Our search and rescue volunteers are not 'essential healthcare workers'. Don't be selfish!
      If our members must respond to a call-out during the lockdown period, they invalidate their and their family's quarantine activities during this critical time and that may have an impact on their ability to return to work.
      - S&R response may in fact be limited - our approach to incident management will be to coach and support self-rescue, or to send minimum-team responses.

      We look forward to a time soon where we can all enjoy our wilderness and natural areas together, assured of the safety and well being of our loved ones at home.

      Thank you.
      MCSA Search & Rescue


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