Five great Drakensberg hikes

2013-02-05 15:18

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As South Africa's quintessential majestic mountain range, the Drakensberg is every outdoor lover and hiking enthusiasts dream playground. Although the range is home to an astounding array of trails and routes, we've picked five of the most popular day hikes to add to your adventure bucket list. 

Cleo's Bath, Champagne Valley

Distance: 7,5?km
Time: about 3½ hours
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: Drakensberg Sun Lifestyle Resort

Highlights: If diversity is what you're after, this is an excellent choice. The trail takes you through grasslands, wattle and blue gum plantations and ends in an indigenous forest full of rock pools. 

Ploughman's Kop, Royal Natal Park

Distance: 7km
Time: about 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Starting point: Mahai campsite

Highlights: Seasoned hiker, David Bristow, calls it a short, sharp up and down affair shot through with incredible views of the Amphitheatre and the respite of gorgeous little rock pools along the way. 

Doreen Falls, Cathedral Peak

Distance: 4km
Time: about 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Starting point: Cathedral Peak hotel 

Highlights: If you're looking for a relaxing stroll, more than a intense clamber, this is most definitely for you. The trail will take you past wattle plantations, over a few streams and finally to a large pool where Doreen Falls tumble into. Here you can kick off your shoes and jump in. 

Rainbow Gorge, Cathedral Peak

Distance: 11km
Time: about 5 hours
Difficulty: moderate 
Starting point: Cathedral Peak Hotel

Highlights: Following the Ndumeni River upstream, this trail is pretty laid-back and perfect to take children on. Look out for the massive rock wedged between two sandstone walls, and if you time your hike just right, you may be treated to a breathtaking display of rainbows as the sun catches the spray from water cascading down the sides 

Makhulumane Rock and Forest

Distance: 9km
Time: about 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate 
Starting point: Monk's Cowl Camp

Highlights: This hike will make you feel like you got lost in Middle Earth, as it takes you through an oft-misty forest, over rivers, onto sandstone ridges and back again.

Read more on:    travel south africa

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