Drakensberg amphitheater hike with south africa adventures_1

Drakensberg Amphitheatre Hike

Drakensberg Amphitheatre Hike – 2 Days

The massive basalt formation of the Drakensberg Amphitheater is considered as the most famous landmark in the Drakensberg mountain range. The area has been crowned as a World Heritage site in 2000 due to its incredible biodiversity and cultural importance. When you do the Drakensberg Amphitheater Hike you will see the massive cliff walls rise nearly 1000m from the valley below in what is truly a magnificent sight. The entire width of the Amphitheater spans nearly 5km/3.1 miles from the Sentinel in the East to the Eastern Buttress South of that.

Our camp site on this hike is situated right next to the second highest waterfall in the world-The Tugela Falls. The waterfall which is best seen in the rainy summer months cascade over the edge of the escarpment into the valley of the Royal Natal National Park some 947m/3100ft below.

The hike is for hikers of a moderate fitness level who want to not only take in the incredible views but also get to experience a night of camping in the mountains. The hike up is relatively easy and is the quickest route up to the escarpment. All of the other routes to the escarpment of the Drakensberg entail a minimum of 2 days to summit. Access to the summit is via two options depending on your level of adventure and ability to handle heights.

The first option is summiting via two chain-ladders bolted to the cliff face. The first ladder is 40m/131 ft. high while the second one is 20m/65 ft high. Our guides will bring rope and set up a safety line for your safety. If heights are not your thing then we access the summit by hiking up The Gully. A steep scramble up a 150m/492 ft gully which although a lot more challenging physically does offer some rewarding views from the top.

Complete the Drakensberg Amphitheatre Hike with South Africa Adventures!

The 2-day Drakensberg Amphitheater hike requires a hiker with moderate hiking skills and the ability to use both upper body strength  and moderate fitness levels. The qualified guides provided by South Africa Adventures will be with you all the way.

Drakensberg amphitheatre hike
Tugela Falls

Day 1

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

Drakensberg Amphitheatre Hike start to finish:

Distance: 14km / 8miles in 2 days.

Elevation Gain: 500m / 2296ft.

Elevation Loss: 650m / 2657 ft.

Day 1: Travel day. Our scheduled tours leave from Johannesburg at 05H00. Hikers are picked up by our Drakensberg mountain guide from your hotel. Once all your gear is loaded up, we take the 5 hour drive through to the start of the hike with is situated at the base of the Sentinel Peak. We will have breakfast along the way in a town called Harrismith.

Once we arrive, we will have a quick climb briefing and check the equipment before we head on up into the Drakensberg mountains. The first part of the hike involves a steep scramble for about an hour before the path levels out for the next 2km/1.2 miles.

The next challenge is either ascending the final part of the hike to the escarpment summit via the Chainladders or The Gully. We can decide on the route on the day. We set up camp next to the Tugela Falls and watch the sun set over South Africa.

Drakensberg Amphitheater Climb Summary: 

End: Tugela Falls Camp 3,090m / 10,137ft.

Elev gain: 650m / 2296 ft.

Time: 6 hours on average

Distance: About 6 km, 3.7 miles.

Day 2

After breakfast, we take a 2 hour stroll in a Southerly direction along the edge of the Amphitheatre escarpment returning to the campsite. We then pack up the camp and hike back down to start of the hike.

The trek down will take about 3 hours. Once we arrive back at the 4×4 we will take a slow drive back to Johannesburg finding somewhere local for lunch along the way. We aim to be back in Johannesburg by about 18H00.

Drakensberg Amphitheater Climb Summary : 

Base of Sentinel 2600m / 8530 ft.

Elev gain: 1200m / 3900 ft.

Elev loss: 600m/1968ft

Time: 3 hours on average.

Distance: About 6km, 3.7 miles


  • Return transfers from Johannesburg to the start of the hike
  • 1 Night camping in the mountains
  • 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, dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain
  • Hiking equipment including 4 season tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, backpacks and eating utensils
  • Water for washing up daily
  • Dedicated Drakensberg Trip Planner
  • 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 of R500 daily)
  • Visas for South Africa
  • Health requirements (if any)
  • Optional but highly recommended travel and medical insurance.
  • Personal hiking/trekking gear
  • Snacks, personal medicine and water purifying tablets
  • Meals & drinks not specified
  • Pristine, unspoilt and secluded mountain scenery
  • Easiest hike to access the escarpment of the Drakensberg
  • We have an over 98% success rate on this route
  • Camp next to the highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Fall (9873m/3225ft.)
  • Experience the solitude and wildness of the Drakensberg
  • 5 star camping experience