Pretty much South Africa’s Zambezi River. Runnable all year, high class and fast, gorge like, clean and action guaranteed! Only difference is, it is icy cold and of course, much smaller in volume. The town of Clarens adds to the experience a great big deal too. In the morning you will be out there in the freshness of the Free State. In the afternoon you will be back in town for any combination of pizzerias, burger experts, coffee shops, pubs and whatever else this hip town has to offer. A ten out ten day out on the river!
Berg to Bush explorer – Berg to Hluhluwe
Touch down in sunny South Africa! Meet the Itchyfeet SA crew and get on the bus. Destination Drakensberg here welcome, yeah! Big beautiful, wild and rugged! Just like the name suggests. Your first stop is Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge. Kick back, enjoy the last bit of comfort and get ready for mountain wildness. Day 1 will take you to the Amphitheater and beyond. Day 2 will take you to the beautiful Mnweni, ‘at the fingers ‘. Day 3 it is off to the Cathedral Range. Day 4 is down and out the spectacular Bell Traverse. Well done! As soon as you’re off the mountain it is none other than a hot shower, bed, proper cooked meal and a cold one. Up next is the interesting drive to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. The drive is not that long which will enable you to enter the reserve early. Welcome, to a very very special part of South Africa. It is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in the whole of Africa. This is where you rhino, and many of them. And for you bird lovers out there, this is where you find them. Day 1, game drive. Day 2, game drive. Day 3, game drive. Day 4, off to your next destination.
Berg to Bush explorer – Berg to Kruger
Touch down in sunny South Africa! Meet the Itchyfeet SA crew and get on the bus. Destination Drakensberg here we come, yeah! Big beautiful, wild and rugged! Just like the name suggests. Your first stop is Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge. Kick back, enjoy the last bit of comfort and get ready for mountain wildness. Day 1 will take you to the Amphitheatre and beyond. Day 2 will take you to the beautiful Mnweni, ‘at the fingers’. Day 3 it is off to the Cathedral Range. Day 4 is down and out the spectacular Bell Traverse. Well done! As soon as you’re off the mountain it is none other than a hot shower, bed, proper cooked meal and a cold one. Up next is the long and enjoyable drive to the Kruger National Park. A pitstop will be made at a cool convenient spot, setting you up nicely to enter the park early. Welcome to the one and only… a South African icon of note. This place in its entirety will take your breath away. What goes on within its fences is a work of art, not just from a natural point of view but from a management point of view as well. Day 1, game drive. Day 2, game drive. Day 3, game drive. Day 4, off to your next destination.
Bergville to Spioenkop Dam
This is our comfortable and classic one-day white water rafting session. Where else, than the Tugela River? This is truly one of South Africa’s best white water destinations. The trip starts in the town of Bergville and finishes where the river flows into the Spioenkop Dam. You are looking at a trip of about 5-
6 hours. This piece of the Tugela River is surprisingly big, fast, continuous and very friendly towards the person who is not the everyday rafter. Rapids up to Class 3+ can be expected. Depending on group composition we run this section with either 2- man inflatable rafts (or Crocs) and/or 6- 8 man inflatable rafts. The first half is mellow and very easy! Half way we stop for lunch and immediately afterwards the real action starts and keeps going until we reach the dam.
Cathedral Peak Abseil
This abseil has ‘stunning’ written all over it. It is a fantastic way to see this part of the ‘Berg. It is quick to set up, safe, high enough (45 metres) and really exposed. It is about a half-
day outing. No experience is required!
Dalton Bridge to Moor Park
If this is your thinking, this stretch is for you: I am keen for some white water today, but not that rough and tough type stuff. I want to be out there with the family, with the kids and all. The thrills and spills I am not interested in, the small bumps the beginner paddler would experience as exciting is what I am after. I don’t want to sit out there for hours either, just an hour or two will do. Bottom line, anyone can do it.
Drakensberg Grand Traverse
The Drakensberg Grand Traverse is a hike along the entire length of the Drakensberg Escarpment. In other words, all along the international border between South Africa and Lesotho. It can either be done in a north to south direction or south to north direction. It can be done in any length of time too. We have refined it down to a standard 14-day hike. The longest day is roughly 22 kilometres and the shortest around 8 kilometres. The average distance per day is roughly 15 kilometres. It starts at the Sentinel Car Park in the Northern Drakensberg and ends at Bushmans Nek in the Southern Drakensberg. It is roughly a distance of 230 kilometres with a total height gain of roughly 8000 metres. Six peaks are also summited which include Mont-Aux-Sources (3282 metres), Cleft Peak (3277 metres), Champagne Castle (3377 metres), Madafi (3450 metres and the highest point in South Africa), Giants Castle (3314 metres) and Thabana-Ntlenyana (3482 metres and the highest point in Southern Africa). Due to the length of the hike encountering a wide range of weather is good. Therefore we aim for the best time of the year to take it on, which is roughly from mid March to the end of May. The weather is then quite stable. Three resupplies are used to help share the carrying load. The most you end up carrying on the entire trip is only for four days. There are ample opportunities for viewing. Some of the peaks you will be climbing and a lot of the walking you will be doing is right on the edge of the escarpment. In addition, those deep and very far off valleys in Lesotho will also be seen, like the Yodlers Cascades. And to top it all, you are way out there in wild country, just the way we like it. It certainly is a thorough physical and mental challenge, but definitely a very big accomplishment when completed successfully. You have to be fit and you have to be use to carrying a backpack.
Together with Eagle’s Head, Mooihoek Mountain and Mount Everest are the other two main climbing areas at this venue. Climbing is mostly sport. Currently there are 140 bolted routes, with grades ranging from 9 to 28. Good multi-
pitch climbing can be done at the three main climbing areas with single- pitch climbing and bouldering on the underlying boulders. Accommodation consists of an excellent campsite and chalets.
Mafadi Summit Hike
This is one of the Berg’s big ones. The main objective of this hike is to summit South Africa’s highest point, Mafadi (3450 meters above sea level). You will sweat but you will be very, very well rewarded. This is another one of those way-out-there Berg areas. Up we go with Judge Pass and down we come Leslies Pass. Some of the Berg’s icons are located in this area. The Trojan Wall, Injisuthi Summit Cave, Injisuthi Greater and Lesser Buttress, Injisuthi Triplets, Molar, Scaly Peak and Old Woman Grinding Corn are all out there for you to see. And the view looking up to the escarpment from the Centenary Hut is one to remember. Look north all the way Cathkin Peak and all the way south to the Giant. This is nothing less than an accomplishment.
Mambasa to Alpine View
Our second regular one-
day white water paddle. A bit shorter but equally as good. Action packed from start to finish. When the Tugela River really gets going there is some enormous white water to be encountered. Rapids ranging from class 1- 5, no sweat. Depending on group composition we run this section with either 2- man inflatable rafts (or Crocs) and/or 6- 8 man inflatable rafts! And when you’re done you will be pulling in at the Pig and Plough farm shop for a burger, pizza or a pie!
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.
River and Rock
This is a three-
day outing starting on the rock around the town of Harrismith. Then for some Tugela white water on day two, and then a beautiful abseil in the Cathedral Peak area of the Drakensberg on day three. Remember this is just one version of it. Feel totally freed to arrange these activities the way you like it.