Route 1: Mnweni

Mnweni Circuit

This is a four to a five-day outing in the very beautiful Mnweni area of the Drakensberg. This part of the escarpment makes a large cutback (called the Mnweni Cutback) and as a result, adds a great deal of isolation. The mountain passes to be encountered are the Mnweni and Rockeries Passes. Steep and hard work. Be sure that your efforts will be well rewarded. Look out for major peaks like the Inner and Outer Mnweni Pinnacles and Needles. The highlight of the outing is without a doubt a full view of the loose standing Mponjwane, or Rockeries Tower, one of the Berg’s legendary peaks. Additionally, two great caves are nearby and you will have the opportunity to be right at the source of South Africa’s longest river, the Orange River.

Day 1 – Mnweni cultural centre

The rendezvous point is the Mnweni Cultural Centre. Here you can enjoy some true Zulu culture and hospitality. It is optional to arrive the day before the hike starts. Once the hike starts the goal is to reach the foot of the Mnweni Pass, setting you up for the ascent the following day.

  • Distance: 15,5km
  • Height gain: 640m

Day 2 – Ascend the Mnweni Pass 

Once packed up it is one-way traffic straight up a 1000 meter ascent. The view from up there is breathtaking. 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!

  • Distance: 4,5km
  • Height gain: 1000m

Day 3 – Descend the Rockeries Pass 

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.

  • Distance: 10km
  • Height loss: 1540m

Day 4 – Walk back to the Mnweni Cultural Centre

Pack up and head back to the Mnweni Cultural Centre.

  • Distance: 7km

More information

Core activity: Mountain walking (hiking).
Region: Mnweni, Northern Drakensberg.
Duration: 4 days.
Variation: Days 3 and 4 can be combined to make it a 3-day hike.
When to go: All year. Best from April to July.
Itinerary rating: Moderate to hard.
Other information: No experience is required. All the relevant information will be provided once an enquiry has been made.
Departure time (hiking): Around 08:00.
Arrival time (hiking): Around 11:00.