If you are staying in the Drakensberg or thinking of a day trip there is an abundance of walks & hikes to suit all. If you are planning to stay over there is a huge choice of accommodation. KZN Wildlife manages many reserves with options including fully catered and self catering. Outside of the reserves there are hundreds of lodges, hotels & guest houses. As you may have read on my last visit I stayed over. I also visited two reserves as a day visitor. Where ever you choose to walk or hike please ensure you sign the register before setting off. Please also ensure you are prepared for changes in the weather. Storms in summer and snow in winter are common. Suitable clothing is essential along with fluids and food.

Monks Cowl

Less than an hour from the N3 Highway you will find Monks Cowl. Yet another stunning section of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage site. Mel and I were site seeing rather than hiking so we opted for the short Sterkspruit falls walk which is only 2.5kms long. At a leisurely pace it took us approx one and a half hours. You need to allow time to take in all that is around you. We were treated to clear blue sky and snow capped slopes and peaks. There is camping only within the reserve, either at the main camp site or in the pristine wilderness. There is also a tea room where snacks are available.

We took the R600, through the Champagne Valley, and visited the Thokozisa centre. Here you will find arts, crafts, curios, the tourist information office and a restaurant. We had a leisurely lunch which was well worth the wait. The Restaurant was very busy and the tables have a great view of the mountains.

Giants Castle

This is probably the most central reserve within the World Heritage site. From my base just outside of Estcourt I can see the sleeping giant daily. Last year I spent a day in the vulture hide. On previous visits I have walked to the Main Caves and Rock 75. On this visit I opted to walk the Bergview. I must be honest I did not find the signage for the walk too good. However it could have been me and my interpretation. The walk is 5kms and does contain a couple of steep slopes. I was shouted at by baboons who probably knew I had taken a wrong turn. Various buck are also common and it’s always good to see the mighty Eland.

The standard of accommodation is good and there is a pub and restaurant. The curio shop also stocks a few basic provisions. As said there is the world famous vulture hide and the Main Caves museum. A guide is in attendance at the museum and here you will find bushman rock art.

For more information visit www.kznwildlife.com and www.cdic.co.za


About Author

People say that Africa has an effect on your soul and Mark Henson the ‘author’ of this site is no exception. He first travelled to South Africa and the province of KwaZulu-Natal in 1993 and has been coming and going every year since. Twice now most years!

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