Unwinding in Drakensberg

Even though the Wild Coast shoreline of Africa is absolutely stunning, I was ready to get back to the mountains and explore some summits. I was going to spend the next couple days in Drakensburg exploring some hiking trails and making a trip to Lesotho.

Background on Drakensburg

Drakensburg is a mountain range that makes up the south-western part of the Great Escarpment. This stretch of mountains is over 1,000kms and separates the eastern side of Lesotho and South Africa. The mountains here are the highest in South Africa and house many great outdoor activities including Tugela Falls, which is the world’s second tallest waterfall. I would be spending most of my time here in Royal Natal National Park.

Ampitheatres Lodge

What I thought was going to be your average hostel ended up being a unique lodge. They offered accommodation for families, camping, and single traveler dorms. Inside this amazing lodge was a jacuzzi, bar, rock wall, and hang out areas. Also inside, is an eclectic restaurant that you can head upstairs and have an amazing view of the entire lodge. The lodge has hiking trails on the premises if you want to explore and not head far. This place was absolutely stunning and made it very easy to stay multiple days. They offered tourism, laundry, and food services. When I wasn’t exploring, I was usually up top watching the sunset behind the mountains.

Hiking Tugela Falls

My first day in Drakensburg, I went and took on the second tallest waterfall in the world, Tugela Falls. I started the hike at 2,500m and would make it up to 3,254m. We parked at Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek. From here you do some switchbacks to your first viewpoint overlooking the Amphitheatre. Next, we go up a rock scramble that will take you to the top peaks of the Great Escarpment. Here you’ll be greeted by local Lesotho people if it’s shepherd season. These mountains are home to the Lesotho shepherds six months a year and are very friendly people to talk to.

After the rock scramble, you walk around the top of the summits and you will see Tugela Falls in the distance. As you get closer, you will come to stand right on top of the waterfall. What a view! Leaving, you go down a 400m chain ladder to get down the plateaus of the Great Escarpment. I said bye to my new found Lesotho shepherd friends and made my way down back to the carpark.

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