Hiking in the world famous uKhahlamba Drakensberg mountains
orld class hiking, in the beautiful Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains.
We have easy access to the Ezemvelo KZN wildlife hiking trails, in particular the Monks Cowl and Champagne Castle routes.
The area is known as the Champagne Valley, not least for its many waterfalls and spectacular scenery, and consists of three impressive peaks – Monk’s Cowl, Cathkin and Champagne Castle.
An easy short walk from Mackaya Bella and into a beautiful indiginous fern forest, you can even have a swim at the end of the trail at Pat’s Pool. It will take you an hour, at the most, and doesn’t require much hiking experience. 1.8km there and back.
Reaching Injasuti from Monk’s Cowl is an arduous full-day hike. There are various paths linking the two. One option is to hike from Injasuti up Van Heining’s Pass, along Shada Ridge to the Vlei, on to Blindman’s corner and then down to Monk’s Cowl (you can do this in reverse as well). Another route, said to be the most difficult, is the contour path to Monk’s Cowl and then on to Injasuti. You can also do the hike as two teams – one leaving Monk’s Cowl, the other Injasuti, meeting half way to swop car keys. The route from Injasuthi has a well marked path.
Keith Bush Camp
It is a good seven-hour hike to get to Keith Bush Camp from Monk’s Cowl, taking the path to Blindman’s Corner and then along the contour path to Hlatikulu Neck. You then follow the path into the river valley, heading to the river and following its course until the base of Gray’s Pass. Keith Bush camp is close by.
Mhlwazini Valley Trail
This is a good nine-hour hike from Monk’s Cowl camp site. The route usually forms the first part of the Champagne Castle (a multi-day) hike via Gray’s Pass.
Stable Cave Trail
The most popular route to reach the cave is via Jacob’s Ladder, but one can also climb the Steilberg to the top of the little ‘Berg to find Stable Cave – a massive overhang that was used on horse trails to overnight. The views from here out over the northern ‘Berg are worth the climb.
Sterkspruit Falls (Nandies Falls)
An extension of the Fern Forest walk, this route is for the more adventurous, and there is some bush bashing. The rock pools here are worth the effort though. Takes three to four hours.
The Sphinx and Crystal Falls
This is an easy return walk that takes you past Crystal falls and up the Sphinx. You can add Breakfast stream to the mix as well, if you want to. To make it a little more difficult continue past the stream and on to Blind Man’s Corner with incredible views out onto Wonder Valley. For an even more strenuous a hike, head back from Breakfast stream via Kirtland’s Pass (taking roughly six hours).
Head uphill to the Sphinx (you reach the Sphinx after about 2 km), past Crystal Falls and up towards Blind Man’s Corner (a good halfway mark). A gradual climb takes you to the highest point of the hike at Hlatikhulu Neck.
The path to Zulu Cave from here is indistinct and others have created alternatives through the bush. The Mhlwazini River, in the area, offers the respite of a quick swim. Zulu cave sleeps up to 10 people and is a good overnight option. It has a waterfall that falls in front of the cave – a good shower and water supply. Return via the same route.