Drakensberg Mountains
Drakensberg Mountains
5
About
The major portion of the 200-kilometer-long mountain range named the "Barrier of Spears" lies in the kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal.
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5.0
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zerwickrenatevictor
Centurion, South Africa2,358 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2017 • Couples
My husband and I have been annual visitors to the Central Drakensberg for the past 12 years. On our last visit (November/December 2017) our adventurous side got the better of us and we were set out to broaden our Drakensberg horizons to incorporate the Northern Drakensberg, which is the highest part of the Drakensberg mountain Range into our “berg” experience.

We could not contain our excitement as we drove along the R74 through the winding Oliviershoek pass to discover what was awaiting us at our destination (The Cavern Resort and Spa). Nothing could prepare us in advance for the moment we set our eyes on the rugged, majestic and towering mountains, the Amphitheater, lush vegetation, indigenous forests and water streams. The moment was sacred, utterly special and simply unforgettable.

Four nights later our journey continued along breathtaking scenery along the R74 where we took the road to Cathedral Peak Hotel nestled in a World Heritage Site. We were once again swept off our feet as we approached our destination crossing the Tugela River. Dramatic scenery begged us closer and the views of Cathedral peak left us speechless.

Our journey continued four nights later and Champagne valley smiled upon us and welcomed us back to the familiar views of Champagne Castle at Drakensberg Sun Resort.

The Drakensberg area lends itself to entertain a wide variety of activities. And for those simply want to recharge and rejuvenate – this is just the perfect place.

It is difficult to describe the overwhelming emotion along our journey as we took in the breathtaking beauty of the rugged, majestic and towering mountains, the sound of birdsong and rambling thunderstorms. We felt engulfed in nature, humbled and truly blessed to be part of this magical wonderland.
Written February 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zerwickrenatevictor
Centurion, South Africa2,358 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2015 • Couples
My husband and I had once again the absolute pleasure to spend a week in the Central Berg from 28 November to 5 December 2015.

The Drakensberg Mountains is truly spectacular, majestic and a sight to behold. Champagne Valley and Cathkin Peak boasts an array of magical and special wonders for the adventure seeker, nature lover or just to sit back and relax and unwind while you soak in the magnificent ambience the area has to offer.

There are many activities to do in the area. The Fern Forest trail,the Blue Grotto trail, the Lake Nkwakwi and the Ellis trails that start at the Drakensberg Sun Resort are spectacular. Each trail is special and unique and provides the opportunity to fully appreciate the true beauty of the magnificent nature. We also visited Monk’s Cowl in the Maloti Drakensberg Park which is a World Heritage Site and hiked to the Sterkspruit Falls and Rock pools. Entrance to the Park is R40.00 per person which contributes to the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife emergency fund. I can strongly advise anyone doing one of the eight trails at the park (which vary in length and difficulty) to read the information booklet thoroughly especially regarding safety precautions regarding the weather and snakes. Do take bottled water and a walking stick.

The trails offer an abundance of wildlife, birds and wild flowers to be seen on the many hikes that the Drakensberg Mountains boasts. Time seems to come to a complete standstill when you are in this magnificent nature. We were overwhelmed by the solitude and serenity which engulfed us.

There are also lovely restaurants in the area (see my reviews). A visit to the Falcon Ridge Birds of Prey Centre is also highly recommended for a thrilling and memorable experience (see my review). The performance of the Drakensberg Boys Choir is a very special and moving experience and in my opinion not to be missed.
Essential items can be bought in Winterton at the Spar store. Cedarwood Village along the R600 opposite Champagne Sports Resort boasts some interesting shops as well as a grocery store.

When it comes to accommodation you are spoilt with choice. Champagne Valley boasts an array of up market Resorts, hotels, self catering cottages and Bed & Breakfast options.

The Central Drakensberg is one of our favourite places in the world. With its magical and special ambience, spectacular views and scenic nature it provides the perfect hideout to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Written January 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

OphirB
Israel5,851 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
The Royal Natal National Park with the Thendele Camp should definitely have their own destination within the Drakensberg Mountains. The setting is simply fantastic and breathtaking. You usually get there from Bergville which is the nearest town. It borders with Lesotho's north-eastern mountain range, and though you can actually see all those mountain peaks, and hike towards them, there is no way to formally cross the border to Lesotho from there.You can either stay at the Thendele camp (bring your own food), or stay at one of the nearby locations outside the NP. Either way, the NP offers some wonderful trails that take you through this gorgeous landscapes, in which the views change quite significantly every few minutes. You cross small streams, you walk under the warm sun, and suddenly you're within a very cool forest, and then out again. One of the most popular trails which will take you around 6 hours back and forth (about 7 km each direction) is the Thukela Gorge. People walk there on a narrow trail which climbs only very gently along the gorge, believing they will reach the Thukela Falls. But those are actually at the very top of the ridge at 2972 m, and you can't really reach them, although the guy in the Thendele store who recommends this trail, doesn't tell you so. We met so many people who had the same misconception and tried to reach the falls. None of them succeeded, including those who did climb the chain ladder on the rocks at the Boulder hop. BUT - do go and reach the ladder. It's worth it, There's a beautiful pool next to it, and great views all along the way.You'll be passing underneath the Policeman's Helmet (1977 m), and you'll see wonderful flowers and butterflies on thway,and with luck, also some of the Baboons and Helmeted Guineafowls, who roam the Thendele Camp in the morning.
Written March 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janpumb
Durban, South Africa11 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Friends
We recently spent three wonderful days at the Fairways, Drakensberg Gardens. Our chalet was well equipped and beautifully maintained and serviced by the unobtrusive staff. The grounds are manicured to perfection and the only sounds are those of birds, the occasional swack of a golf ball and in the evening the sizzle of a braai.
The views are stunning, especially early in the mornings when the mountains are reflected in a lake that is mirror still. There are so many activities organised by the staff including horse riding, cycling, hiking. The eighteen hole golf course is a good test for any standard of golfer. Children are well catered for and made very welcome.
For those of a less active nature there are swimming pools, Jacuzzi, and spa.
We did not try any of the restaurants but the menus looked interesting and not overpriced.
Altogether a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in the city.
Written March 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

emma e
New York City, NY68 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2013 • Couples
Wait for a clear day to hike up the top of the Drakensberg - no guide needed. Path is clearly marked, perfect for a two-day trip along the top of the Amphitheater and Tugela Falls. Sign in at the hut at the start of the trail, and off you go! Doable in one day, but worth stretching it out over two.

We stopped in the town before and picked up provisions and water, and started our leisurely hike in the early afternoon. The single path is narrow but obvious, fairly easy, with few difficult portions. We took the ladder trail both ways - not for the faint of heart but sturdy. The set of two chain ladders scale the cliff face - allowing a quick route to the FLAT! and picturesque top of the amphitheater. Follow the water towards the top of Tugela Falls - the second tallest waterfall in the world. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around the edge - look for the wild horses and Lesotho herders. We didn't bother with the campsite at the top - it is a bit rundown and creepy to be honest. We pitched our tent on a ridge not too far from Tugela, and slept peacefully. Make sure you wake up for the sunrise!
Written April 10, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

patchy71
Colombo161 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Friends
For a country that offers countless vistas of stunning scenery, South Africa can certainly count the Drakensberg Mountains as simply one of its best attractions. No need to photoshop any pictures, you certainly cannot capture the beauty of this place. We chose to stay 3 days in the Northern Drakensberg to do a hike in the Royal Natal Park and to visit the Central Drakensberg.

The drive upto to Northern Drakensberg itself was simply worth it. We overnighted in Piet Retief from Kruger and from Piet Retief drove quite a distance, to get to N.Drakensberg. TIP: Leave plenty of time for stops at worksites if there is road work happening. Can really throw your travel schedule off target. The distance meant, that we arrived in Bergville in darkness and thats certainly not a recommended thing to do as we had quite an unpleasant experience at a fuel station full of minibus taxis and many locals just 'hanging around'. Anyway, it was our mistake as we did not follow the cardinal rule of not self driving at night!

The hike in the Royal Natal Park was fabulous - quite an easy hike (and we are not seasoned hikers nor are we very athletic) with very few tough climbs. Took us about 3 hrs to get to the start of the waterfall but only just under 2 hrs back. Start first thing in the morning before the sun gets too hot, take plenty of food, water in a backpack, layers of clothing which you can tie around your waist (keep your hands free for the tougher parts of the climb). Make sure your shoes have at least an average amount of grip (we travelled in August and the it was quite muddy, with even a bit of frost and snow in some parts of the mountain).
Written February 28, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lutchmee M
Ladysmith, South Africa1,238 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
Stunning Drakensberg Mountains
Truly a Majestic site.
Awesome hiking trails in and around the Drakensberg.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zerwickrenatevictor
Centurion, South Africa2,358 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
My husband and I have been to the Drakensberg (Central Berg) and Champagne/Cathkin Valley for the past 8 years on an annual basis (sometimes twice a year).

No pictures can do justice to the true beauty of the Drakensberg until you feast your eyes for the first time on this magnificent and majestic mountain range. We stay at the Drakensberg Sun Resort every year (see my review). Upon arrival at the hotel time seems to come to a complete standstill as you take in the serene and tranquil ambience and breathtaking scenery.

Like other reviewers mentioned, there are plenty of activities to do in the area. I can highly recommend the Blue Grotto walking trail as well as the Fern Forest trail at the Drakensberg Sun Resort. They are both breathtaking and provide a wonderful nature experience. Wear comfortable shoes, take a walking stick (this comes in handy even if you are fit) and some water along.

There are also some excellent restaurants in the area (Lihong's Chinese Restaurant for the best organic Chinese cuisine, The Black Scabbort Bistro for mouthwatering Portuguese cuisine as well as The Waffle Hut - see my reviews). All these restaurants can be found on the R600 road.

There is also a rug factory next to Lihong's Restaurant where you can see how the hand woven rugs are made by skilled workers and the masterpieces on display are for sale at very reasonable prices. They also sell beautiful mohair scarfs.

If you stay in a self catering resort I can strongly suggest to buy your essential items in Winterton. There is a big Spar store and liquor store (2), a butchery as well as a petrol filling station.

In Cathkin Valley itself (opposite Champagne Sports Resort) there is a small shopping complex called Cedarwood Village with a number of interesting shops to buy souvenirs (The Ugly Duckling) and a basic supermarket.

No visit to this area is complete without attending a performance by the Drakensberg Boys Choir!
The performances by these talented boys are deeply moving and world class (see my review)!!

The Drakensberg boasts a magical, romantic, idyllic and charming ambience. The wonderful combination of the breathtaking scenery and this wonderful ambience is a match made in heaven!

I can guarantee that you will fall in love head over heels with this magical place - we certainly did!
The Drakensberg is a peaceful haven and the perfect place to revive body, mind and soul!

We cannot wait to go back later this year!
Written January 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

thomas_abel
Los Gatos, CA2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2011 • Couples
My wife, Joshua (my 27 yo son) and I had the unique experience of hiking on the northern Drakensberg Mountains for five days. We were excellently supported by Ian Shooter and his team of five porters. The hike consisted of tent camping and hours of awesome vistas of the African terrain. The hike was not difficult and the initial ascent required climbing secured chain ladders which added to the excitement. Bring binoculars for bird watching. The last day of the trek was spent at the kraal of one our porters, Caifus, which introduced us to the daily life of the Zulu people. We were entertained by Zulu dancing that final evening; a real highlight of the trip. I recommend staying at The Cavern Lodge when staying in the area. As well consider starting your approach to the area from Durban rather than Johannesburg
Written July 5, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gautenger65
Johannesburg, South Africa74 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019 • Friends
As a World Heritage site the Northern Drakensberg are very understated, they don’t offer hip entertainment, however the raw majestic beauty reminds one that it is a privilege to be on this planet and enjoy the sheer tranquility of Mother Nature.
A place to take in the fresh air and scenery and on a cloudless night the majestic starry heavens are breathtaking. A place to walk and refresh ones mind. There are loads of self catering as well as hotels in the Champagne valley. Just over three hours from Durban and four hours by car from Johannesburg, if you love nature spoil yourself and your family, the evenings have time to bond and day time share a walk or an adventure together as a family. We have been regular visitors for the last 20 years and never tire of coming back to have peace on earth, far from the noise of life. Three night here is like three weeks holiday at a coastal resort.

Written November 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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