Walking in the Drakensberg
75 walks in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park
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This guidebook presents 75 day walks of 1 to 26km in South Africa's Maloti-Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in KwaZulu Natal and easily accessible from Johannesburg, Harrismith, Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the region boasts dramatic cliffs, gorges and waterfalls, abundant wildlife and 2000 year old rock paintings.
- the walks in this book can be undertaken at any time of year. The limitations imposed by adverse weather conditions can occur in any month. However, snow is most common in June and July and there are frequent and sometimes severe thunderstorms in summer.
- The key centres for the walks are the entrances to the individual areas of the Park and usually have nearby accommodation of all types. They include the Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl, Injisuthi, Giant's Castle, Highmoor, Kamberg, Lotheni, the Himeville and Underberg districts, plus Bushman's Nek.
- These are all day walks from 1km to 20km, easy strolls to strenuous day hikes. A simple classification of difficulty is used which takes into consideration distance, height gain, expected duration and any physical issues such as scrambling, ladders and exposure.
- Must See
- A dramatic, exciting and unique mountainous region of South Africa nestling on the eastern side of Lesotho. Stunning scenery, towering basalt cliffs (eg the Amphitheatre), 3000m mountains (eg Cleft Peak), deep gorges (eg Thukela with the second highest waterfall in the world); abundant wildlife; 2000-year old Bushman rock paintings.
A guidebook to the Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. The book describes 75 day walks, between 1km and 26km long, in Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl, Injisuthi, Giant's Castle, Highmoor, Kamberg, Lotheni, the Himeville and Underberg districts, plus Bushman's Nek. Ranging from easy to strenuous, the walks take in the spectacular natural beauty of the area.
This range of huge peaks, towering basalt cliffs, massive sandstone outcrops and deep gorges forms the core of an area of unlimited potential for walkers, until recently little known outside South Africa. The area has a unique geological structure and a fascinating history as well as a large variety of antelope and other mammals and a regular bird list of over 200 species.
Written by a qualified Safari Guide, this book includes: descriptions of 75 graded day walks and scrambles in 11 areas of the park; lots of information about the local wildlife and about facilities in each of the areas; and inspirational photographs and clear route maps.
The Development of the Park
About the walks
Fuel, cash and permits
The climate – when to visit
Using this guide
1 Royal Natal National Park
Walk 1 The Cascades
Walk 2 Fairy Glen
Walk 3 Plowman’s Kop Loop
Walk 4 The Crack and the Mudslide
Walk 5 Gudu Bush and Gudu Falls
Walk 6 Witsieshoek via Mahai Falls
Walk 7 Thukela Gorge Walk
Walk 8 Policeman’s Helmet
Walk 9 Camel’s Hump
Walk 10 Sunday Falls
Walk 11 Surprise Ridge and Cannibal Cave
Walk 12 Top of Thukela Falls and Mont-aux-Sources (3282m)
Walk 13 The Sugar Loaf (2085m)
2 Cathedral Peak
Walk 14 Doreen Falls
Walk 15 Mushroom Rock
Walk 16 Rainbow Gorge
Walk 17 and 17B Ribbon Falls
Walk 18 Xeni Cave
Walk 19 The Tarn Hill Circuit
Walk 20 Tryme Hill and the Contour Path
Walk 21 Organ Pipes Pass and Cleft Peak
Walk 22 Baboon Rock
Walk 23 One Tree Hill
Walk 24 One Tree Hill and the Contour Path into the Mlambonja valley
Walk 25 Cathedral Peak (3004m)
3 Monk's Cowl
Walk 26 Nandi’s Falls
Walk 27 Hlathikulu Forest
Walk 28 Crystal Falls, the Sphinx and Verkykerskop
Walk 29 Blind Man’s Corner and return via Keartland’s Pass
Walk 30 Matterhorn (1995m)
Walk 31 Amphletts’ (2620m)
Walk 32 Sterkhorn (2973m)
Walk 33 Injisuthi to Monk’s Cowl via Van Heyningen’s Pass
Walk 34 iNtunja/Gatberg (2408m)
Walk 35 Blue Grotto
Walk 36 Van Damm’s Cascades
Walk 37 uMakhulumane Stream, the Little Berg and Hlathikulu Nek – The smugglers’ path
Walk 38 Poacher’s Stream
Walk 39 Van Heyningen’s Pass to the viewpoint
Walk 40 Grindstone Caves
Walk 41 Cataract Valley
Walk 42 Battle Cave
Walk 43 Marble Baths
5 Giant's Castle
Walk 44 Main Caves and River Walk
Walk 45 Langalibalele and Bannerman Ridges
Walk 46 Giant’s Hut: up via Giant’s Ridge and down via Oribi Ridge
Walk 47 Over Beacon Ridge to the viewpoint with an optional extension to Meander Hut
Walk 48 Foulton’s Rock
Walk 49 Aasvoëlkrans (Vulture) Cave
Walk 50 Caracal Cave
Walk 51 Giant’s Castle viewpoint
Walk 52 Game Pass Shelter
Walk 53 eMpophomeni Falls and Eagle Rock
Walk 54 Emadundwini Trail
Walk 55 Jacob’s Ladder Falls
Walk 56 Gelib Tree
Walk 57 Zwelele
Walk 58 Trout Beck and return via By-pass Ridge
Walk 59 Pinnacle Rock
Walk 60 Emerald Dome
Walk 61 Ndlovini
Walk 62 Pholela River Walk to Boundary Rock
Walk 63 Allen’s Shelter and Tortoise Rocks
Walk 64 Mzimkulwana Hut, Siphongweni Stream and Rock
Walk 65 Stromness Hill, Ngenwa Pool and the Gxalingenwa River
Walk 66 Nelson’s Column and Balancing Rocks
Walk 67 Salt ‘n Pepper
Walk 68 Hodgson’s Peaks (S 3256m: N 3251m)
10 Garden Castle
Walk 69 Sleeping Beauty Cave and Engagement Cave
Walk 70 Magnificent Valley and Swiman Ridge
Walk 71 Hidden Valley
Walk 72 Three Pools and Bushman Rock
Walk 73 Pillar Cave and the Annexe
Walk 74 Rhino Peak (3056m)
11 Bushman's Nek
Walk 75 Twin Pools
Appendix A Walk summary table
Appendix B Facilities within the Park areas
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Further reading
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After a short commission in the Army, Jeff Williams trained in paediatric medicine and worked as a consultant paediatrician in North Wales for 30 years. During that time he wrote walking and climbing guides for the Stubai, Silvretta and Ötztal Alps, as well as Cicerone's 'Walking in the Drakensberg'. Jeff also trained as a safari guide in South Africa and currently teaches new guides and lectures in North Wales on safari guiding and walking.View Articles and Books by Jeff Williams
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