This would be hiking in the one and only: the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg, South Africa’s biggest mountain range. The name says it all! Big, rugged, tough, beautiful and spectacular! Outings can be conducted anywhere, any time and of any length. This includes the Little and High Berg.
High Berg: This is a place you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. The average height of this part of the ‘Berg is about 3 000 metres above sea level. You are literally standing on top of the border between South Africa and Lesotho, with KwaZulu-Natal at your feet. However, you have to work for it. It usually involves ascending one of the ‘Berg’s many mountain passes, which is relatively long and very steep. You are in true mountain country surrounded by giant loose standing peaks. To make this type of outing worth your while, you need at least four to five days (or longer). Your reward will leave you breathless and inspired. No question! Let us know if you have a specific route in mind or if you want us to plan a route for you.
Little Berg: The Little Berg is mostly the foothills of the High Berg. Amongst these hills you can expect more diverse fauna and flora, valleys with indigenous forests, caves, rivers, creeks and waterfalls. These types of walks are a lot more suited for all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels. Outings from a few hours to a few days can easily be arranged. Usually spending a bit of time in some of the Little Berg’s many caves is a high priority.
During the most favourable times of high summer (January/February), autumn (April/May), winter (June/July) and of course spring time (September/October), we will be scheduling an overnight Drakensberg hike, every year. Dates are to be confirmed well in advance before each outing begins. These are the times when you want to be in the Berg. These outings can take place anywhere in the Berg and the routes will differ from year to year. Please take note that our hiking outings will not only take place on these terms, hiking takes place on demand as well. In short, this is what our scheduled hikes entail:
Mnweni-Rockeries Pass Circuit Route
Bannerman-Langalibalele Pass Circuit Route
Giants Castle to Sani Mountain Lodge / via Bannerman Pass Traverse
Giants Castle to Sani Mountain Lodge / via Giants Pass Traverse
Mafadi Summit Hike
Sentinel to Cathedral Peak Traverse
Camel-Mlambonja Pass Circuit Route
Drakensberg Grand Traverse
Here we will be going for a couple of days in the Little Berg. It’s like paradise in summer. Walking is usually of moderate intensity on well defined and maintained footpaths. Our main objective is to hang out as much as possible in the valleys below the escarpment. It’s hot, so you can have a ball in all the rivers and rock pools along the way. The weather is usually also a lot more suited for opportunities to overnight in caves en route to the next destination. Due to frequent intense lightning, thunder storms and downpours, camping out in the Little Berg gives us a break from all this. During high summer the Little Berg is vibrant, and comes alive with the abundance of water, fauna and flora.
Hands down the best time of the whole year to hike in the Drakensberg. Here we want to maximise our time on the escarpment, simply because of the very favourable weather conditions. Typically, this hike will take the shape of an expedition. Like summiting a major peak along the way, spending a few more nights out there, and traversing longer stretches of the escarpment. Temperatures are mild, conditions calm, water is still abundant, the hills are still green and generally, you’re not being pounded by lightning, thunderstorms and downpours. Best time of the year to take on the big one, the Drakensberg Grand Traverse.
You might wonder why you would want to head out to the Berg when it is so cold, dry and arid out there. Well, those are the exact reasons you do want to head for the hills. The cold is something to experience, yes, but it allows for very suitable walking conditions. The mornings and afternoons are usually very calm and cool. Great for walking. Early morning and late afternoon colouring is spectacular, excellent for taking those champion photos. And of course, the prospect of snow is absolutely a major attraction.
We’re heading for the Berg simply because a dull landscape is moving into full bloom again. Experience the landscape going green, those large red flowers of the Glossy Bottlebrush and of course, those really pretty rosettes of the Highveld and Common Proteas. That is just to name a few. Temperatures are mild and generally very good for walking. It’s a time of contrast where the dull and dry makes way for the vibrant and green.