Drakensberg Hiking

Drakensberg Cathedral Peak Hike tour with South Africa Adventures_1

Drakensberg Hiking Tours with South Africa Adventures

Guest authors Ashton Parker and Tyler-Amber Smith write about their experiences hiking the Drakensberg mountains with South Africa Adventures.

My memories of the pristine and pure Drakensberg hiking experience in June this year are incredible. The sensation of the pure mountain air filling my lungs was a perfect sensation that us city dwellers seldom get to experience. Besides the awe inspiring scenery and massive sandstone towers and spires that greet us, I had this beautiful feeling in my tummy that hiking in the Drakensberg surrounded by these majestic and ancient mountains was going to be life changing.

We are all motivated to get up in the morning. What is yours? Mine is the thought of hiking in the most incredible mountains of the world. And here I am facing the Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg. And man was I looking forward to the hike. Before I left for the trip people I had received a lot of information about Drakensberg Hiking from South Africa Adventures.

Drakensberg Cathedral Peak Hike tour with South Africa Adventures_6

They were brilliant and I could sense their passion was strong for the mountains. So yes I must admit I was a tad apprehensive and anxious about the hike. But like most humans we seem to worry about the future too much and create scenarios in our head that never materialize. Thoughts of what the weather would be like in the Drakensberg crossed my mind. Have I go the right hiking equipment for the 3 day slog up to the summit of the escarpment.  The hiking turned out to be on the best Drakensberg adventures ever. A trip that will be impossible to forget.

The first day of the Drakensberg hike

An relatively easy day as we head out for a cave called Shermans where we would sleeping for the night. I was so excited as I had never slept in a cave before.  The hiking took about 3 hours and wasn’t too strenuous. But looking at the looming peak of Cathedral in the distance I knew we had a hard days trekking tomorrow. The evening was a mixture of sharing stories, stupid jokes and just taking in the soul of the Drakensberg.

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The second day of our Drakensberg hiking experience

We were woken up by our really cool guides at 04H30. A scrumptious breakfast and some really appreciated coffee was waiting for us.  Eating breakfast in a cave? Wow. Was I dreaming?  It was pretty cold and well below freezing. June is the middle of winter in South Africa. But we decided on that time as summer in the Drakensberg brings the rain and thunderstorms. Our first challenge was up a steep hill.

Organs pipes Cathedral Peak Drakensberg trekking

I think we gained about 200m in altitude over just 1 km.  The views on top of the ridge of Cathedral Peak and what is called Organs pipes is incredible.

The next hour saw us trekking along the ridge and up the Orange Peel gap. After some light refreshments we traversed for about 3km to what the guide called’ heart break hill’. I wonder why he called it that. We soon found out. The altitude and gentle gradient started to take its effect on us. We eventually made or way to the base of some cliffs. Another hour to the summit. The guide set up some ropes and we scrambled up the mountain on our way to the highest free standing mountain in the Drakensberg that can be attained by the normal hiking fraternity.

At 13H10 we made the summit. The views were absolutely incredible. We could see about 80km to the North and about 40km to the South. A really unique and panoramic view of the entire central and Northern Drakensberg was our reward for our challenging hiking effort. After lunch at 3100m we made the 4 hour hike back down to our cave for a well-deserved meal. The first thing to come off was my hiking boots. Followed by a dip in the mountain stream that was out of this world. I’m surprised I never saw any fairies in the dense forest like bush.

Drakensberg Hiking Experience – Day three

We woke to the warm South Africa sun shining on my exposed face. My first glimpse as I opened my eyes was the clouds below us in what was the most epic sunrise ever. After breakfast we hiked down to the Cathedral peak hotel where a well-deserved beer was the first order of priority. Oh wait. Sitting down on a toilet was first. All in all an out of this world experience and something all hikers should do. The Drakensberg is rated as one the top hiking destinations in the world. I now know why!

Written by: Ashton Parker and Tyler-Amber Smith

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