Drakensberg, South Africa
7 Days
Age recommendations

Best Drakensberg Trekking Adventures in South Africa!

The Drakensberg Mini Traverse hike is a 7-day itinerary which includes 5 full days of backpacking across the escarpment that forms a natural border between South Africa and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. The trek takes as along wild rivers, and through virgin mountain passes in an incredible and virtually unexplored area of the Drakensberg. The hike can be very challenging given the distances traveled daily and the average elevation of 3000m/9842 ft. Having said that, the hike offers some truly magnificent mountain scenery and the only other people you will encounter are the occasional Lesotho Shepard  looking after his sheep. Wild horses and the endangered Cape Vulture are also abundant on the hike. We spend 5 days on the mountain in some of the most wildest part of the Drakensberg. This has prompted us to instill a rigid safety policy for the entire trek to cater for any kind of potential emergency situation. Overall though, a really spectacular hike for those of you up for the challenge.

7 Day mini traverse Drakensberg trek - recommended!

Drakensberg FAQ


Day 1

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

Drakensberg Mini Traverse Hike start to finish:

Distance: 76km / 47miles 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 Clarens which is the closest town to the starting point of the hike.

The rest of the day is at used to explore this quaint Free State Town. We will have a climb briefing in the afternoon and check all the equipment before dinner in one of the restaurants. Maybe a beer or two to carbo load for the long hike ahead.


Day 2

After breakfast we will drive through to the starting point of the hike situated at the base of the massive bulk of the Sentinel.

The drive takes about 1.5 hours and takes us through the spectacular area of the Golden Gate National Park 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 from Sentinel to Ifidi Pass. The route takes us up to the escarpment via the Tugela Falls (the second highest waterfall in the world). Once on top, the hiking is pretty easy and flat for about 5km.

Climb Summary
End: Ifidi Pass 2950m / 9,678 ft.
Elev gain: 700m / 2296 ft.  Elev loss: 245m/ 800ft.
Time: 7 hours on average
Distance: About 12km, 7.4miles


Day 3

After an early breakfast we pack up camp and start the trek to Fangs Pass, our second camp. Instead of following the traditional route that veers inland, we try and stick to the edge of the escarpment as much as possible.

Yes it does make the hiking a lot more challenging as we have to negotiate the man cutbacks and undulating terrain, but the scenery is mind-blowing and well worth the effort.

The camp site is aptly called ‘Fangs Pass’ as the spires of rock formations resemble the fangs of a Dragon. Even more so if you have had a dash of whiskey.

Climb Summary

End: Fangs Pass 3037m / 9,963 ft.
Elev gain: 467m/1532ft. Elev Loss: 298m/977ft.
Time: 6 hours average
Distance: About 12 km, 7.4 miles


Day 4

Today is probably one the longer days in terms of hiking. The distance as the crow flies is only 8km but we need to navigate around what is known as the Mnweni Cut back.

This part of the trek will take us to the highest point of the tour where there are some spectacular views of the Hanging Valleys over Kwazulu Natal over 1000m below.

The final part of the hike will see us descending into our campsite for the night, Ledgers Cave with is situated in a beautiful valley close to the Rockeries. A really scenic camp site and is perfect spot to watch the sun set.

Climb Summary

End: Ledgers Cave 2987m / 9,799 ft.
Elev gain: 367m/1204 ft. Elev Loss: 264m/866ft.
Time: 7 hours average
Distance: About 15 km, 9.3 miles


Day 5

We carry on the trek hugging the escarpment wherever possible to afford you the last views of Lesotho and the incredible valleys below.

After about 5 hours hiking we will leave the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and descend into the South Africa again. A steep descend will take us into our humble abode for the night, Twins cave.

Climb Summary

End: Twins Cave 2966m / 9,730 ft.
Elev gain: 567m/1860 ft. Elev Loss: 598m/1961ft.
Time: 7 hours average
Distance: About 16 km, 9.9 miles


Day 6

Today we will tackle what is probably one the most spectacular and scenic parts of the Drakensberg. The route is known as the Bell Traverse and winds its way along narrow mountain paths through to the base of Cathedral Peak.

If you have the energy we can climb to the summit. The climb involves some pretty steep scrambling but shouldn’t take more than an hour to summit. From the top you will get a perfect view of the entire Northern Drakensberg and will be able to see the starting point of the Mini Traverse hike over 60 km away.

A nice way to realise the accomplishment of the hike. The trek down from the base of Cathedral Peak takes about 3 hours and drops in altitude pretty quickly. We should be down by 15H00.

We then take the 1.5 hour drive through to the Northern Drakensberg where we will spend the night and sit around a roaring fire and celebrate the successful trek.

Climb Summary

End: Cathedral Peak Hotel 1450m / 4,747 ft.
Elev gain: 229m/751 ft. Elev Loss: 1678m/5505ft.
Time: 10 hours average
Distance: About 15 km, 9 miles


Day 7

After breakfast and drinking a few headache tablets for the hangover, we load the vehicle and take the 5 hour drive back to Johannesburg. We should be back by abou14H00.

Pristine, unspoilt and secluded mountain scenery

Endangered Cape Vulture sightings at the summit

5 days of remote mountain wilderness

We have an over 90% success rate on this route

An evening in the quaint town of Clarens before the hike

5 star camping experience


Return transfers Johannesburg to the start of the hike return
4 Nights in camping in the mountains
5 days hiking in the Drakensberg
1 nights’ accommodation in Clarens 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  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


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
Dinners on Night 1 and Night 6 in the hotel

Drakensberg FAQ

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Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 2 reviews
October 18, 2016

What an awesome trip! Really well organised professional experience made it all more fun and pleasurable.
Will definitely be back for more fun adventures.

October 19, 2016

Wow wow wow!!!! Scenery like I have never experienced before, views that take your breath away! I have to return, and it will be with South Africa Adventures ( professional, organized and loads of good laughs)

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