The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

Winona Griggs

The southern Drakensberg: your next hiking destination

Hey there! Are you in search of a great hiking destination? Look no further, because I’ve got just the place for you. Let me introduce you to the southern Drakensberg – a truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring location that will leave you wanting more.

When I think of the southern Drakensberg, the words “paradise” and “adventure” instantly come to mind. Picture yourself surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, vibrant green valleys, and cascading waterfalls. It’s a sight to behold, one that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

But it’s not just the stunning beauty that sets the southern Drakensberg apart. The region is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including rare bird species, playful otters, and even elusive leopards. Imagine the thrill of spotting these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

Now, let’s talk about hiking. The southern Drakensberg offers a wide range of hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge or a beginner wanting to dip your toes into the world of hiking, there’s something for everyone here.

One of the key highlights of the region is the famous Giant’s Cup Trail. This 60-kilometer trail takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever encounter. From rolling green hills to rugged mountain passes, every step will leave you in awe.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even embark on a multi-day hike and spend the night in one of the region’s cozy mountain huts. Imagine waking up to the sound of birds chirping and the smell of fresh mountain air – it’s an experience like no other.

But it’s not just the hiking that will leave you mesmerized. The southern Drakensberg is also home to some truly spectacular waterfalls. Cascading down from great heights, these waterfalls will take your breath away and provide the perfect backdrop for those Instagram-worthy photos.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. The southern Drakensberg is calling – will you answer?

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

I recently had the pleasure of exploring the Lower Lotheni area in the southern Drakensberg, and let me tell you, the views are absolutely breathtaking. This hidden gem is tucked away and offers a sense of serenity that is hard to find elsewhere.

Getting to this part of the berg is relatively easy. You can choose to drive past Underberg or take the road via Nottingham Road. I must say, though, the roads aren’t in the best condition. But don’t worry, even small cars like Polos and Suzuki Swifts can make it without any issues. Just be prepared to encounter a few potholes along the way. Take your time and savor the view as you drive.

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One Hiking Trail to Rule Them All – Jacob’s Ladder

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

You won’t believe the adventure that awaits you on the Jacob’s Ladder Trail! Get ready for a fantastic 5-kilometer hike through breathtaking mountains and alongside the magnificent Lotheni River. This trail is all about excitement and thrill, with a special suspension bridge that will test your nerves. Don’t worry, though – it’s perfectly safe!

Before you set off on your adventure, it’s a good idea to download a map on your cellphone. This way, you’ll have all the guidance you need to navigate the trail. And don’t worry about any tricky parts – the trail is well-marked and easy to follow.

Now let’s talk about elevation. You’ll be pleased to know that for most of the hike, the elevation remains steady. No need to worry about steep climbs or tiring uphill battles. There may be a few minor water crossings along the way, but they add to the adventure.

But here’s the real treat: the Jacob’s Ladder waterfall! Prepare to be amazed as the crashing water cascades into a beautiful natural pool, inviting you for a refreshing wild swim. This is the perfect spot to relax, enjoy some snacks, and take a dip in the rejuvenating waters. It’s pure bliss!

After your swim, it’s time to head back to the reception building. But don’t worry, the satisfaction of this incredible hike will stay with you long after it’s over. So grab your gear, download that map, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the Jacob’s Ladder Trail!

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

Welcome to Cypress Cave in uMkhomazi Nature Reserve!

I’m excited to share with you a hidden gem nestled within the beautiful uMkhomazi Nature Reserve – Cypress Cave. I recently had the pleasure of exploring this remarkable cave, and I must say, it truly took my breath away.

As you venture into the cave, you’ll find yourself surrounded by awe-inspiring rock formations. The stalactites and stalagmites create a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into another world.

Inside the cave, the air is cool and refreshing, providing a welcome escape from the heat of the day. The gentle drips of water echo throughout, creating a soothing symphony that adds to the cave’s enchantment.

Exploring Cypress Cave is an adventure like no other. The narrow passages and hidden chambers spark a sense of curiosity and wonder, making each step forward an exhilarating experience. You’ll find yourself immersed in the rich history of the cave, marveling at the evidence of ancient civilizations that once called this place home.

But that’s not all – Cypress Cave also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding uMkhomazi Nature Reserve. As you reach the cave’s entrance, you’ll be greeted with a panoramic vista that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds you.

When planning your visit to Cypress Cave, there are a few details you should keep in mind:

  • Rates: It costs just R50 per day to visit Cypress Cave.
  • Location: You can find Cypress Cave in the stunning uMkhomazi Nature Reserve, specifically on P277.
  • Contact: If you have any questions or want to make a booking, you can reach out to us at [email protected]
  • Website: For more information and to stay up to date, visit our website at
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So, if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure, make your way to Cypress Cave. Immerse yourself in the wonder of this hidden treasure and let its beauty captivate your soul. We can’t wait to welcome you!

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

When I went on this hike to Cypress Cave, it turned into a thrilling adventure. The climb up the mountain was intense, and we couldn’t help but feel the excitement building as we saw storm clouds gathering above us. We knew we had to hurry to make it back down before the storm hit.

But before all that, I had an incredible experience on this 8-kilometre hike. The trail started with a challenging ascent that left me breathless. It was tough, but I loved every minute of it. After about 1.5 kilometres, the terrain leveled out, making the hike more manageable. There were some parts where the trail was a bit overgrown, but it was still easy to follow.

The hike didn’t offer much shade or many trees, so it’s important to start early in the morning to avoid the heat. The lack of shade also means that you get to fully appreciate the beauty of the surroundings, with unobstructed views of the landscape.

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

Are you ready for an adventure? A hidden gem awaits you at the end of this amazing hiking trail. Picture yourself surrounded by nature’s beauty, with the sound of waterfalls echoing in your ears. It’s a mesmerizing experience that will leave you in awe.

As I walk along the trail, I can’t help but feel excited about what lies ahead. The trail leads to a pristine wild swimming haven, offering a refreshing escape from the heat. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a cave that serves as the perfect retreat from the scorching sun.

I always make sure to bring a water bottle with me, so I can fill it up with fresh berg water from the waterfall. The taste is invigorating, and it’s a small reminder of the power and purity of nature.

One thing to keep in mind is the weather. Afternoon mountain storms can roll in unexpectedly, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to return to your car before they arrive. Safety should always be a priority when exploring the great outdoors.

If you’re up for an overnight adventure, the cave is a great place to spend the night. It can comfortably accommodate up to six people, and you’ll have the luxury of fresh running water. Just be aware that the waterfall can get quite loud during the night, which may or may not add to the mystique of the experience.

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Here are some key details you need to know:

  • Rates: R50 per day
  • Location: uMkhomazi Nature Reserve, Lower Lotheni Road
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website:

So what are you waiting for? Lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and embark on an unforgettable journey into nature’s playground. The trail is calling, and it’s time for you to answer.

Hey there! I have an exciting suggestion for your next adventure. How about exploring some of the top hiking trails in Pretoria? Before we dive in, if you’ll be in Gauteng soon, it’s definitely worth checking out. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Alright, let’s get back on track.

A Journey from Lotheni Nature Reserve to uMkhomazi Nature Reserve

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

Are you up to the challenge of a 3-day, 2-night hike? Or maybe you’d prefer to take it easy and stretch it out over 4 days and 3 nights. Either way, this hike has something for everyone.

If you choose the shorter option, you’ll be covering around 11 kilometers each day. But if you prefer a more leisurely pace, the longer option will have you walking about 8 kilometers a day. So, take your pick and let’s get started!

The first day is a bit of a doozy, I won’t lie. You’ll be facing a 1000-meter climb over a 10-kilometer stretch. But don’t worry, it gets better from there. The rest of the hike takes you along a ridge, so the elevation remains pretty steady.

Now, remember to fill up your water bottle whenever you come across a fresh water source, as there aren’t many streams along the ridge. And keep your eyes peeled, because there’s no shortage of wildlife in this area. You might spot eland, blesbok, jackal, and if you’re lucky, even the elusive lammergeier, also known as the bearded vulture.

The southern Drakensberg your next hiking destination

If you want to hike to McKenzie Cave, just know that it will add a few extra kilometers to your journey. The hike itself is around 33 kilometers long and the trails can be old and overgrown. To make things easier, you can buy a map at the Lotheni Nature Reserve office or even download the route on your phone. Once you reach uMkhomazi, it’s important to notify the field guide in Lotheni that you’ve arrived safely. Just give him a call at the end of your hike.

  • Rates: R50 per day
  • Location: Lotheni Nature Reserve to uMkhomazi Nature Reserve
  • Website: [email protected]

Pictures: Jordyn Johnson

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