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THE DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS

from £2650
Take a guided holiday hiking in South Africa s Drakensberg Mountains and experience the incredible panoramic views that such amazing surroundings provide.
  • Product Code 48000
  • Holiday Type Special Selection Hotels
  • Grade Grade 6
  • Holiday Duration 16 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays - The Drakensberg Mountains

As you approach the Drakensberg the view sends tingles down your spine. The great rock wall which the Zulus call the Barrier of Spears rises up before you, awe-inspiring jagged peaks rising to 3300m. Its scale is overwhelming, leaving even the most seasoned traveller speechless.

You are spending two weeks inside this walkers’ paradise, based in two very different centres - Cathedral Peak in the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park and the family run Cavern Berg Resort on the edge of the Royal Natal National Park. Each centre has its own distinct beauty and character but both share the magnificent mountain views.

Cathedral Peak nestles into the hillside and is one of the best hotels we feature. It is a small ‘oasis’ set in the most stunning scenery. Your walks can start directly from the hotel and head out onto the surrounding peaks and hills to the Doreen Falls, Neptune Pools and Rainbow Gorge to name but a few. On the walks keep your eyes open for at least some of the 121 resident bird species.

At Cavern Berg you walk amongst fantastic flora and fauna, indigenous forests and equally spectacular scenery. The walks here have evocative names such as ‘Camel’s Hump via Cannibal Cavern’ and ‘The Silent Woman via Jackal Ridge’. You will see baboons roaming over the hills close to the Cavern and there are over 200 species of birds. We spend much of our time in the Royal Natal National Park where the San Bushmen have lived for over 5000 years. You will come across some of their ancient rock paintings on your walks.

On a couple of the days the walks may be nearer a grade 7. However there are alternative walks for those who do not wish to participate at this level.



By travelling with us, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can make a difference in the communities you visit. With your help, Heart & Sole is able to make a positive impact in less developed countries and communities in need.

Holiday Highlights

  • Savour views of The Amphitheatre, one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth and the world’s second highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls.
  • Experience beautiful scenic walking in an untouched paradise.
  • We will have the services of an English speaking local guide in addition to our leader in both centres to fully explore this wonderful area.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg (British Airways)
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      A local English speaking guide to enhance your experience
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 6

  1. Day 1

    Depart London Heathrow on the overnight British Airways flight to Johannesburg.

  2. Day 2

    On arrival in Johannesburg, we travel by road to the ‘Cathedral Peak Hotel’ in the Central Drakensberg region, where we shall spend our first week.

  3. Day 3 to 8

    Walking in the beautiful Mlambonia river valley surrounded by the majestic Drakensberg for the following six days.

     

    Some of the walks that we hope to include whilst discovering the Cathedral Peak National Park are as follows:

     

    BLUE POOLS’ (WITH AN EXTENSION TO ‘NEPTUNE’S POOLS’) This is a great walk to ease us in on the first day,  and serve as an acclimatisation walk. The path follows the course of the ‘Tsheketshe River’ toward the ‘Nyosi Falls’ on the ‘Nyosi River’ and offers lovely views, the opportunity to bathe in the cold mountain streams and perhaps the chance to see baboons. We may combine this walk with an extension to ‘Neptune’s Pools’ in the ‘uMlambonja Valley’. Access to ‘Neptune Pools’ involves crossing the river. 5 miles (8kms), ascent / descent 200m 3 hours.


    RAINBOW GORGE AND THE HANGING BOULDER The views on this walk towards ‘Cathedral Peak’, ‘Baboon Rock’ and over to ‘Didima Rock Art Centre’ are spectacular.  The route follows the course of the ‘eNdumeni River’.  Once in the ‘Rainbow Gorge’ there is much of interest to see: indigenous forest, wild flowers, fungi and beautiful waterfalls.  Our aim is to reach the ’Hanging Boulder’! This walk offers the opportunity for some members of the group to return to the hotel without having to attempt the rougher terrain in the gorge if they wish.  8 miles (12kms), ascent / descent 200m 5 hours.

     

    MUSHROOM ROCK’, THE ‘TARN’ & DESCENT VIA ‘RIBBON FALLS’ OR OVER ‘TRYME On a clear day this walk is one of the highlights of the holiday as it affords spectacular views of the higher peaks and gives the sense of being alone in a vast landscape. 6½ miles (10.6kms), ascent / descent 750m 5 hours.

     

    RIBBON FALLS’ AND ‘TRYME HILL This is a walk to some attractive waterfalls with a nearby cave, and an extension to go onto the plateau. This walk involves a long descent, but rewards us with superb views over ‘Rainbow Gorge’. 8 miles (12kms), ascent / descent 750m 6 hours.

  4. Day 9

    We travel northwards to the ‘Cavern Berg Resort’ and the ‘Royal Natal National Park’ region, our base for the second week.

  5. Day 10 to 15

    Exploring this breathtaking national park area, for the following six days. The Park acquired the ‘Royal’ title after a visit to the now demolished ‘National Park Hotel’ by the British Royal Family in 1947.

     

    Some of the walks that we hope to include whilst discovering the Cavern Berg area are as follows:

    THE SILENT WOMAN’ VIA ‘JACKAL RIDGE’ WITH POSSIBLE EXTENSION TO ‘BISHOP’S INKABA’ AND ‘ECHO CAVE This is a fairly easy walk, and a good short option to be combined with a free afternoon. Alternatively it can be extended by crossing the river just below the ‘Silent Woman’ and following a well-trodden path which swings round anti-clockwise to ‘Bishop’s Inkaba’ (river crossing), and then along to ‘Echo Cave to make this a good grade 6 walk. 4-7 miles (6-11kms), ascent / descent 250m or 700m, 4 or 6 hours.

     

    SUGARLOAF’ VIA ‘LONE ROCK’ AND ‘COLD HILL’ RETURN Sugarloaf’ is the rounded peak high up behind the hotel at 2,085m above sea level. The view from ‘Sugarloaf’ is spellbinding over the ’Little Berg’ and the Great Escarpment.  (from ‘Sugarloaf’ you can survey the area you have walked or will walk over the course of the week) on a clear day have views back over to ‘Cathedral Peak’.  The views of the ‘Amphitheatre’ from here are marvellous.  This walk requires a very slow pace especially as there is no shade on this route but with an early start you can be back at the hotel in time for tea and cake!, and to escape the midday sun.  It can be very windy on top of ‘Sugarloaf’ and along the ridge. 6½ miles (10kms), ascent / descent 750m, 6 hours.

     

    THE TUGELA GORGE The path is easy to follow and climbs very gradually.  The only part which may present difficulties is the last 2 kms in the gorge itself as this requires us to climb a chain ladder and some boulder hopping.  This walk ends at the chain ladder.  Members of the group not wishing to boulder hop may wait in the shade at the end of the trail and have their picnic here, whilst waiting for the remainder of the group to return. 7 miles (11kms), ascent / descent 450m, 6 hours.

     

     THE AMPHITHEATRE A real highlight of the trip! There are stunning views on this walk as well as beautiful flowers in the Spring/early Summer.  For those not wishing or unable to go up the gully/ladders, there are options to return back to where our transfer bus will be waiting. 8 miles (12kms), ascent / descent 412m to Tugela Falls or 700m to Mont-aux-Sources, 5 hours.

  6. Day 16

    We return to Johannesburg for our overnight flight back to London.

  7. Day 17

    Arrival in London.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg (British Airways)
  • Arrival transfer by road c.4hrs30mins
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Cathedral Peak Hotel, Drakensburg

The Cathedral Peak Hotel, is a beautiful resort hotel in the shadow of Cathedral Peak, the highest mountain in the Drakensberg. Open since 1939, Cathedral Peak offers traditional combined with luxury accommodation with spectacular views. It's one of our most popular hotels.


Cavern Drakensberg Resort, Drakensburg

The Cavern Drakensberg Resort, set at 1500m on the edge of the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg Mountains close to the magnificent Amphitheatre escarpment.


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