Drakensberg, South Africa
Destination
6 Days
Duration
8/10
Physicality
18-60
Age recommendations

6 Day Drakensberg Mafadi Hike – Highest Mountain in South Africa!

Dominating the top of the Drakensberg escarpment is the highest mountain in South Africa-Mafadi. Its flat table like summit curiously regards the famous mountains below that have gained a World Heritage status in 2000. The Drakensberg Mafadi route is well known for is majestic views and memorable challenges.

The peak attracts a year-round procession of boot-clad hikers looking at standing on the highest point in South Africa. The mountain, a remnant of an ancient range receives South Africa’s first rays of sunlight. An experience well worth the effort to get to. The Drakensberg offers a wealth of climbing opportunities in a variety of environments.

South Africa Adventures are proud to offer climbs to the highest mountain in South Africa: Mafadi which reaches a height of 3451m/11320 ft.  The classic route up to the summit is via what is known as Judges Pass. The final summit push being made from the Upper Injasuhti Cave which offers one of the best sunrises in the Drakensberg.

The hike up requires a moderate level of fitness and there are no technical climbing skills needed; but perseverance, physical exertion, teamwork and patience are all necessary for this climb. Many climbers find this to be the most challenging of all the Drakensberg hikes. Given the rigors of this hike, we suggest participants have previous trekking experience.

The 6-day package of the Drakensberg Mafadi hike includes a professional hiking expert that will take you to the summit and bring you back safely. Our Knowledgeable guides will share some of the greatest stories the highest mountain in South Africa has kept secret for years. The evenings under the African stars is definitely one of the big highlights of this hike especially after summiting this Drakensberg challenge.

Climb Mount Mafadi, Drakensberg!

Drakensberg FAQ

1

Day 1

Our tours begin and end in Johannesburg (self-drive options also available)

Drakensberg Mafadi Hike from start to finish:

Distance: 52km / 32 miles in 5 days.
Elevation Gain: 2,456m / 8,057ft. Elevation Loss: 3,678m / 12,066 ft.

Day 1 is travel day.

Our guides for the hike will meet you at your hotel in Johannesburg. We then take the 4 hour drive through to a camping spot relatively close to the start of the hike.

We will have a climb briefing in the afternoon and check all the equipment before a traditional South African dinner around a roaring fire.  Maybe a beer or two to carbo load for the long hike ahead.

2

Day 2

After breakfast we will drive through to the starting point of the hike situated in the Injasuthi Valley. The drive takes about 1.5 hours and takes us into a pretty remote part of the mountains where you will get your first glimpse of the magnificent sandstone formations that make up a lot of the Drakensberg range.

We then begin the hike the parks board. The first part of the hike is pretty flat and we have lunch at an ancient Bushman painting cave. Thereafter we introduce you to what we like to call ‘the burns’.

A long steep slog up to our campsite for the night: Centenary Hut. A pretty long day today especially the last 2 hours, but once at the camp a hot cup of coffee and the incredible view will soon lift your spirits.

Drakensberg Mafadi Climb Summary

End: Centenary Hut 2100m / 6,889 ft.
Elev gain: 820m / 2690ft.
Time: 7 hours on average
Distance: About 11km, 6.8 miles

3

Day 3

After an early breakfast we pack up camp and start the trek that will eventually see us topping out on the escarpment. The first 2 hours of the hike involves some contouring around the massive basalt cliffs that make up the Drakensberg until we reach the base of Judges Pass.

After a brief rest we climb up the Pass which is pretty steep and the effects of the altitude will most likely be felt.  The average time to summit the pass is about 2.5 hours. Once on the top we have quite a long rest to recover for the final part of the hike. The final stretch is pretty flat for about an hour before the route steepens.

Another hour or so up the slope until we reach our humble abode for the night, the Upper Injasuthi Cave situated at 3300m/ 10826, the highest cave in the Drakensberg. There are some incredible views of the Injasuthi Triplets below. Then it’s a hearty mountain dinner, a spot of whiskey for medicinal purposes and bedtime with your favourite teddy bear.

Drakensberg Mafadi Climb Summary

End: Upper Injasuthi Cave 3300m / 10,826 ft.
Elev gain: 1100m/3608ft.
Time: 8 hours average
Distance: About 13 km, 8miles

4

Day 4

Summit Day!! We wake up early, fuel up on hot coffee and a quick bite to eat and then we head west towards the summit. The hike from the cave takes about an hour and is not too steep although it will leave you breathless.

Most likely from the effects of the altitude or the incredible views. We try and reach the summit to take in the first rays of a South African sunrise. We spend about half an hour on the summit before making our way back down via Judges Pass to Centenary Hut for another night.

The descent down Judges Pass taking a majority of the time as we need to take is slow to avoid slipping and damaging you knees. Our guide’s will have safety ropes in case we need them.

Climb Summary

End: Centenary Hut 2100m / 6,889 ft.
Elev Loss: 1300m/4265ft.
Time: 10 hours average
Distance: About 15 km, 9.3 miles

5

Day 5

After breakfast we start tour hike back down ‘the burns’ heading towards the Injasuthi Campsite where we started the hike. We should be down by about 14H00.

Then we pile in the car and take the 1.5 hour drive through to the Northern Drakensberg where we will spend the night celebrating a successful summit of the highest mountain in South Africa.

Drakensberg Mafai Climb Summary

End: Injasuthi Camp Site 1400m / 4,593 ft.
Elev Loss: 700m/2296ft.
Time: 5 hours average
Distance: About 11 km, 6.8 miles

6

Day 6

After breakfast we pack the car up and take the 5 hour drive back to Johannesburg

Pristine, unspoilt and secluded mountain scenery

Summit the highest mountain in South Africa

Feel South Africa’s first ray of sunshine for the day

4 days of remote mountain wilderness

We have an over 90% success rate on this route

A chance to see some of the areas Bushman paintings

5 star camping experience

INCLUDED

Return transfers Johannesburg to the start of the hike return
3 Nights in camping in the mountains
4 days hiking in the Drakensberg
1 nights’ accommodation in Northern Drakensberg before the hike ( 3 star bed and breakfast)
1 nights’ accommodation in the Northern Drakensberg area after the hike ( 2 star Bed and Breakfast)
All Drakensberg National Park gate fees, camping fees and climbing permits.
Rescue fees (Mountain Rescue Team)
Basic first aid kit
Qualified mountain guide, assistant guides, and cook
Salaries for mountain crew
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain
Camping equipment (tents, & sleeping mat)
Water for washing up daily
Dedicated Drakensberg Trip Planner
Certificate for your successful summit attempt
Local Taxes

NOT INCLUDED

Flights and airport taxes
Items of a personal nature
Tips for guides, porters and cook
Porters (can be hired on a daily basis for an additional fee)
Visas for South Africa
Health requirements (if any)
Optional but highly recommended travel and medical insurance.
Personal hiking/trekking gear – you can rent some of the gear from us once in South Africa
Snacks, personal medicine and water purifying tablets
Meals & drinks not specified

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South Africa adventures_Hike the highest mountain in South Africa - Mafadi
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Tour Reviews

4.80 based on 5 reviews
October 18, 2016

A must do with your 75l backpack filled with the necessary items to keep you warm and your tummy full. Challenging but a good tester if your plan is altitude.

October 19, 2016

Hands down the most challenging hike I have ever done and definitely want to do it again. Thank you so much for this amazing adventure. We were well looked after and couldn’t have asked for better guides.

November 16, 2016

What a great experience: standing on the highest mountain in South Africa! When you get there, you know you deserve it: it’s a tough hike, but so worth it. Darren and his guides kept us going and made the trip highly memorable. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

December 10, 2016

Hands down one of the most challenging yet spectacular hiking experiences I have ever had. Food, service and equipment was impeccable. Loved every moment!!!! Scenery is unbelievable!!! If you love hiking, The Drakensberg is a must!!!

April 11, 2017

what an incredible hiking experience. Very tough second day up to Injasuthi Cave. But well worth the effort. Some epic scenery. Thankyou for South Africa Adventures for a truly memorable experience!!! Your organizing and professional skills are outstanding. And the guide Darren was absolutely the best guide ever!!!!

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