Our flag ship route! This is a four to five-day outing in the very beautiful Mnweni area of the Drakensberg. Even though the whole length of the Drakensberg is superb for mountain walking (hiking), this area is widely regarded as one of the ‘Berg’s top destinations. This part of the escarpment makes a large cutback (called the Mnweni Cutback), and as a result adds much isolation while moving through the area. The mountain passes to be encountered are the Mnweni and Rockeries Passes. Steep stuff and hard work. Be sure that your efforts will be well rewarded. Look out for major peaks like the Inner and Outer Mnweni Needles and Pinnacles. The highlight of the outing is without a doubt a full view of the loose standing Mponjwane, or Rockeries Tower. This is one of the Berg’s legendary peaks. Additionally, two nearby caves are available for overnight camping.
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DAY 1 – Mnweni Cultural Centre to the Mnweni Pass
The rendezvous point is the Mnweni Cultural Centre. Here you can enjoy some true Zulu culture and hospitality. Arrive the day before the hike kicks off. This time is used for some pre-trip arrangements and packing. Once the hike starts, the goal is to reach the foot of the Mnweni Pass, setting you up for the ascent the following day.
DAY 2 – Ascend the Mnweni Pass and reach the summit of the escarpment
Once packed up, it is one-way traffic straight up a 1 000 metre ascent. The view from up there is absolutely breathtaking, and this is really what the effort is all about. Nearby are Ledgers and Mponjwane Caves, offering comfortable camping right on the edge of the escarpment. An additional day can easily be added here for further exploration. Up to you!
DAY 3 – Descend the Rockeries Pass and into the valley below
Take it easy down the very steep slopes of the Rockeries Pass. Here you will have the Rockeries and North Peak of the Saddle up close and personal. Camp once the valley floor is reached.
DAY 4 – Walk back to the Mnweni Cultural Centre
Pack up and head back to the Mnweni Cultural Centre. Another night can be spent here with a well deserved dinner included. Also up to you!
Region: Northern Drakensberg (KwaZulu-Natal).
Duration: 4-5 days.
When to go: All year. Best from March to May.
Itinerary rating: Moderate to extreme. Not suitable for children and persons with very low fitness levels.
Other information: Reaching the Drakensberg’s summit is one of those things you have to visit at least once in your life. It is proper expedition style where all the necessary gear is required. This is the Drakensberg at its best. Rugged, tough, isolated and spectacular. Certain pieces of equipment are a must and moderate fitness levels are required. As far as possible we encourage guests to cater for themselves. This proves to be much more cost effective and practically it makes a lot more sense. Porters are available on request. All the relevant information will be provided, once an enquiry has been made.
Points of interest: Mnweni Cultural Centre, Bingelela overnight spot and restaurant, Tugela Rapids Lodge, Three Tree Hill Lodge, Spioenkop Nature Reserve.