HIKING SOUTH AFRICA: MOUNTAINS AND WILD COAST

10-Day Scheduled Lodge Hiking Tour

Pristine mountain ranges and empty beaches. Picturesque landscapes and unspoilt views of a seemingly endless ocean. If being active in nature is one of the keystones of your upcoming holiday plans and you want to hike through some of the most beautiful landscapes in South Africa, then this 10-day guided hiking tour is perfect for you. The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range stretches for approximately 200 kilometres and we have taken the most spectacular hikes in this impressive mountain region and integrated them into this tour. As a contrast to your time spent in the mountains, this hiking tour also journeys to the beach. The Wild Coast does full justice to its name and is one of the most immaculate regions in Africa. Hikes accompanied by an experienced guide, along a picturesque coastline and secluded sandy beaches can have a therapeutic effect and being in nature can be a very relaxing influence. Easy-going hiking days draw to a close by sitting around the campfire under a glorious starlight sky. Delicious food prepared on the campfire rounds off the perfect tour for those who love nature and want to unwind.

Don’t be intimidated by the sometimes-long hiking times, these represent the maximum time the hike should take and have been calculated to fit a relaxed walking pace.

Wild Coast Sunset

Highlights

Day 1-10; South Africa

  • Royal Natal National Park: Beautiful hike to the Mahai River cascades and to Lookout Rock, memorable hike to the Amphitheatre and the Tugella Waterfall
  • Witsieshoek: Exciting hike to Tiger Falls and hike up the foot of Sentinel Peak
  • Kamberg Region: Spot the bearded and cape vulture whilst hiking, hike to Mooi River in unspoilt landscapes and view San rock art
  • Giant’s Castle Game Reserve: Stunning hike with panorama views of the Drakensberg
  • Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve: Optional hike in a beautiful landscape
  • Wild Coast: Secluded, sandy beaches, untrampled hiking paths and evenings spent around the campfire, hike to the Msikaba Estuary, hike to the impressive Waterfall Bluff and to the Cathedral Rock

Facts

Scheduled safari:
Hiking South Africa Mountains and Wild Coast
Tourcode: SAEXP10HIK
From: Johannesburg
To: Durban
Min. number to guarantee tour: 2
Max number of participants: 10
Departure day: Wednesday, every four weeks from April until October
Price: from 42,750 ZAR
Single Supplement: from 4,200 ZAR

 

Itinerary

Day 1 | Johannesburg – uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Royal Natal National Park

Driving distance approx. 360 km; driving time approx. 4-5 hours
Hiking distance approx. 5 km; hiking time approx. 2 hours and elevation approx. 200 m↑↓

In the morning, you will meet your tour guide at the Safari Club near the Johannesburg Airport. Should you be arriving from an overseas destination, we recommend you spend a night at this accommodation before you start your tour. We can gladly assist you with this pre-tour booking if you like. Once your luggage has been stowed in the tour vehicle, your South African hiking tour can begin. By driving through the Free State province, you reach KwaZulu-Natal, one of South Africa’s most multifaceted provinces. Your goal is the majestic Drakensberg, and you can look forward to witnessing spectacular mountain panoramas over the coming days. The Royal Natal National Park forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and here you will find the Thendele Camp. After the check-in, you can admire a breath-taking view of the Amphitheatre. In the afternoon, you lace up your hiking boots for the first time and hike towards the cascades of the Mahai River and to Lookout Rock. With some luck, you can spot hartebeest and other inhabitants of this magnificent mountain region on your hike. Back at your camp, your guide will make a fire and prepare a delicious South African “braai” (BBQ) dinner for you. You spend the night at the Thendele Camp. Your South Africa hiking tour has begun!
Dinner

Day 2 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Royal Natal National Park

Hiking distance approx. 13 km; hiking time approx. 6-7 hours and elevation approx. 450 m↑↓

A good breakfast in the morning will be important as you have a long hike ahead of you today. So, once you have been fortified by your breakfast, your guide will give you a quick briefing before you set off from your camp. On easy to walk paths stretching along lush green mountain sides, you make your way to the Tugela River. You follow this often-dry riverbed in the direction of the Amphitheatre towering ahead and above you. The over five-kilometre-long and approximately 1000 m high cliff face lies impressively between two peaks: the Sentinel (3165 m) and the Eastern Buttress (3047 m), creating a natural amphitheatre. Here the grandeur of nature as well as the serenity and remoteness of your surroundings rule supreme. From the foot of the cliff face you will see the imposing Tugela Waterfall. In the dry season, it can happen that the waterfall runs almost completely dry and the waterfall subsequently disappears. Once back at your camp, you will have earned yourself a rest and you can put your feet up for a while. With a refreshing drink in your hand, watch as the last rays of sunlight disappear behind the peaks, while your guide prepares your dinner. Tonight, you will enjoy “potjiekos”, a traditional South African stew-like hearty meal. You will spend another night at the Thendele Camp.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 3 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Royal Natal National Park – Witsieshoek

Hiking distance approx. 12 km; hiking time approx. 6-7 hours and elevation approx. 600 m↑

After breakfast, it is time to store your luggage in the tour vehicle to continue your South Africa hiking tour. Then, armed with a lunchbox and a daypack, you begin today’s formidable hike. Your goal is the Witsieshoek Lodge, beautifully located at the foot of the Sentinel Peak.  The path leads past the enchanting Tiger Falls and as you keep ascending, the view becomes more impressive with every step you take. Before you know it, the imposing rock face looms directly before you. Through a narrow gap in the rock-wall, you then begin your ascent through the cliff. Once you have reached the top, you will be greeted with a terrific view of the Amphitheatre and the surrounding mountains. It makes for an unforgettable experience! From here you don’t have far to go. The last leg of today’s journey takes you over a mountain ridge to your lodge. You will find your luggage already waiting for you at the lodge as your tour vehicle in the meantime has driven around the mountain and up to the lodge. Reward yourself with some downtime and enjoy a sundowner with beautiful views of the red-tinged mountain tops. Dinner and overnight accommodation will be at the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 4 | Witsieshoek – uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Kamberg Region

Driving distance approx. 340 km; driving time approx. 5 hours
Hiking distance approx. 7 km; hiking time approx. 3 hours and elevation approx. 280 m↑↓

In case you did not spot the bearded vulture, which inhabits this region, yesterday then today is your chance. The Drakensberg is one of their last refuges. With an impressive wingspan of up to 3 metres, this vulture can be both captivating and intimidating at the same time. Your journey continues, past the Sterkfontein Dam towards the central part of the Drakensberg. Today’s hiking area lies in the Kamberg Region, along the Mooi River to well preserved San Bushman rock paintings. Your knowledgeable guide will explain parts of the history, the spiritual beliefs and the nomadic way of life of these ancient people to you. With a little luck, you might also come across some baboons on your hike. They like to think that they are the guardians of this mountain region. During your hike you should keep your eyes peeled for both the bearded and cape vulture which can sometimes be seen circling overhead. Subsequently, you will reach the beautiful Antbear Eco Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Giant’s Castle Game Reserve

Driving distance approx.100 km; driving time approx. 2 hours
Hiking distance approx. 8 km; hiking time approx. 3-4 hours and elevation approx. 320 m↑↓

 Another day in the brilliant Drakensberg mountains to look forward to. After a hearty breakfast, you drive to the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve, which forms another part of the greater uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Yesterday you learnt about the San Bushman and today you can explore this beautiful part of the territory which they formerly inhabited. The hiking trail initially follows a small idyllic stream and leads you to a lookout point. From here you have a stunning view of the over 3000-meter-high mountain ranges towering before you. Absorb the impressive panorama and breathe in the wonderfully invigorating mountain air. During your hike you may even come upon some eland, Africa’s largest antelope species. Towards the late afternoon, you will start to head back. Once back at your lodge, you can relax before turning in for another night at the Antbear Eco Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6 | Drakensberg – Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve

Driving distance approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 5 hours

After a tasty breakfast, you will have some time to admire the interesting art pieces which the lodge owner creates from superfluous building materials. Thereafter it is time to leave the picturesque Drakensberg behind and journey on. You make your way through the KwaZulu-Natal province in the direction of Durban and then continue further, driving along the Indian Ocean coastline towards the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve. If your feet are itching for another hike today, then you are welcome to go on a hike once you have arrived. The approximately one-hour walk takes you through an impressive landscape towards a beautiful lookout point. You can go on this hike alone, whilst your guide prepares you a scrumptious dinner. You overnight at the Oribi Gorge Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

 

Day 7 | Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve – Wild Coast (Pondoland)

Driving distance approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 5-6 hours

Your destination today is the Wild Coast – another highlight on your South Africa hiking tour. The name invokes images of a back to basics lifestyle removed from the large cities and urban centres of the world. The reality will not disappoint you. You drive through the beautiful former homeland Transkei, directly along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Your accommodation for tonight lies just a few metres from an almost dreamlike, sequestered beach. Kick off your shoes and step onto the sand. Feel the tickling of the fine sand between your toes, a delightful feeling. Of course, you can also take a refreshing dip in the ocean. After supper, make yourself cosy around the campfire. As you listen to the crackling of the fire, let your eyes wander upwards. You will be greeted with countless stars decorating the night sky. You overnight at the Lambazi Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 8 | Wild Coast (Pondoland)

Hiking distance approx. 18 km, hiking time approx. 6-8 hours and hardly any elevation

Start your day with a lovely walk along the beach. After breakfast, pack your daypack and get ready for a wonderous day in nature. In some parts on the beach and in other parts along paths trodden by local fishermen and livestock, you walk along this wild and romantic coast. A coastline stretching as far as the eye can see with picturesque river mouths, ragged cliffs and lush green hills and valleys makes up your landscape. Keep a lookout for the spot where the Grosvenor wrecked in 1782 on her way to India. Your guide will be happy to tell you some of the riveting stories (and some of the myths) related the ships and their crew which ran aground and sunk on this shoreline. Your hike’s destination is the Msikaba Estuary. Be sure to take some time to stop and admire the magnificent views. In the afternoon, you will return to your lodge. Once arrived, sit back and relax while dinner is prepared for you. You will spend another night at the Lambazi Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 9 | Wild Coast (Pondoland)

Hiking distance approx. 23 km; hiking time approx. 7-8 hours and hardly any elevation

After a hearty breakfast you can once again lace up your hiking boots. Today is another day where the only thing you need to do is put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the picturesque landscape – very therapeutic for both body and soul! Your trail will take you towards the Waterfall Bluff. A very special natural spectacle awaits you here. Out of the cliff face descends a waterfall approximately 80 meters deep into the ocean below. Another highlight is Cathedral Rock which has water engulfing it from all sides. Eventually, your path will lead you back to the beach. Don’t be surprised to see cows on the sandy beach, this is a sight often seen in this part of the world. At this point we encourage you to take off your boots and walk the rest of the way to the lodge barefoot over the fine sand. You overnight in the Mbotyi River Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 10 | Wild Coast (Pondoland) – Durban

Driving distance approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 5 hours

Wake up feeling well rested. Today you are in no rush! Take a stroll down the lagoon and possibly even go for a refreshing morning swim. Soak in the peacefulness and solitude of your surroundings once more. After a delicious breakfast, it will be time to journey on – your South African hiking tour has come to an end. Via a at first bumpy road, you leave the Wild Coast with a smile and the positive knowledge that you experienced something very special. You drive back to Durban and upon arrival, it will be with a heavy heart that you take your farewells of your guide. Your South Africa hiking tour has come to an end. Safe further travels and until next time, we hope to see you again soon!
Breakfast

Please don’t book any flights from Durban before 4pm.

Alternatively, you can extend this wonderful journey by going on a self-drive tour from Durban onwards or by joining a safari in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Speak to one of our experienced South Africa Travel Experts for more information.

Includes

  • Transport in an air-conditioned minibus
  • Professional guide
  • 9 Nights’ stay in lodges, rest camps and guesthouses (depending on availability, accommodation of a similar standard will be booked)
  • Meals according to the itinerary
  • Activities as per itinerary
  • All national park fees

Excludes

  • Flights (international and domestic)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Optional activities
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance

Map

Hiking South Africa: Mountains and Wild Coast map

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