Walking in the Drakensberg

75 walks in the Maloti-Drakensberg Park

By Jeff Williams

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

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.
18 Apr 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    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.

  • Contents

    The habitats
    Bushman paintings
    The Development of the Park
    About the walks
    Getting there
    Fuel, cash and permits
    The climate – when to visit
    Health matters
    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
    4 Injisuthi
    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
    6 Highmoor
    Walk 48 Foulton’s Rock
    Walk 49 Aasvoëlkrans (Vulture) Cave
    Walk 50 Caracal Cave
    Walk 51 Giant’s Castle viewpoint
    7 Kamberg
    Walk 52 Game Pass Shelter
    8 Lotheni
    Walk 53 eMpophomeni Falls and Eagle Rock
    Walk 54 Emadundwini Trail
    Walk 55 Jacob’s Ladder Falls
    Walk 56 Gelib Tree
    Walk 57 Zwelele
    9 Cobham
    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

  • Updates
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    We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our contact form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).

  • Reviews
    Pick of the Month - Adventure Travel

    This handy guidebook is jam-packed with 75 incredible walks set within the stunning Maloti-Drakensberg Park, in South Africa. A land of spectacular beauty, the Drakensberg is full of dramatic landscapes, staggering mountain ranges, captivating wildlife and intriguing plant life. The park is also home to some fascinating ancient history, including the Bushman rock paintings which are hidden away in remote caves and spread widely across the park. 

    The book includes detailed route information, maps, interesting facts, handy tips, and 'must see' recommendations.

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Jeff Williams

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.

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