HIKING SOUTH AFRICA: MOUNTAINS AND WILD COAST

12-Day Private 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 12-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 1-12; 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
  • Giant’s Castle Reserve: Stunning hike with panorama views of the Drakensberg
  • Kamberg Region: Spot the bearded and cape vulture whilst hiking, hike to Mooi River in unspoilt landscapes and view San rock art
  • 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

Private hiking tour:
Hiking South Africa Mountains and Wild Coast
Tourcode: SAEXP10HIK
From: Johannesburg
To: Durban
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private hike
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: on request
Single Supplement: on request

 

Itinerary

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

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

In the morning, you will meet your guide at the Safari Club near Johannesburg Airport. We recommend that overseas visitors stay overnight here, which we can arrange for you. After meeting your guide, your South African hiking adventure begins. Your destination is the Drakensberg Mountains. You drive through the beautiful Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces before arriving at Thendele Camp in the Royal Natal National Park, part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After settling in, you can enjoy the mountainous panorama dominated by a natural amphitheatre. An optional lunch, followed by your first hike to the Mahai River and Lookout Rock, can be enjoyed. You may spot eland and other wildlife species along the trail during your afternoon walk. It is a stunning way to start your adventure. Upon your return, your guide will prepare a traditional South African “Braai” (BBQ) for dinner. You spend the night at Thendele Camp.
Dinner

Day 2 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Royal Natal National Park

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

After breakfast, you set off on the second of many stunning hikes. Today, your target is to walk to the base of the natural amphitheatre that dominates the scenery. To get there, you follow a winding mountainous path until you reach the Tugela River, where you walk along the dry riverbed until you reach the amphitheatre. Several kilometres long, the rock wall of the amphitheatre rises 1000m above you. On either side of the rock face are Sentinel (3165 m) and Eastern Buttress (3047 m) peaks. From this point, you can also see Tugela Waterfall, which can disappear during the dry season. When you return to Thendele Camp, enjoy your favourite beverage (a sundowner) as the sun sets, and your guide prepares “Potjiekos,” a traditional South African stew for dinner. You spend another night at 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

On day three, you hike through the park to your next accommodation, the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge, at the foot of Sentinel Peak (3165 m). Before the walk, enjoy a delicious breakfast, load your luggage in the vehicle, and pack a lunch in your day bag. On the trail, you pass Tiger Falls and continue uphill, surrounded by views that capture your attention. You arrive at a mountainous wall, which you cross by walking through a narrow gap called the “Crack”. At the top, stunning views of the amphitheatre and mountains can be enjoyed. Over the next ridge, the lodge is a short distance away, where another sundowner, your luggage, and a delicious dinner await. You overnight at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner  

Day 4 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Sentinel Peak – Witsieshoek

Hiking distance approx. 12 km; hiking time approx. 6-7 hours and altitude approx. 770 m↑↓

Day four is a challenging hike to the summit of Sentinel Peak (3165 m), an unmistakable landmark on the amphitheatre and a constant waypoint throughout the hike. A highlight is witnessing the Tugela Waterfall, which originates at the foot of the peak and can freeze during cold weather, creating a breathtaking sight. At the final stage, you can scale an almost vertical rock face by climbing up a series of iron ladder rungs or take an alternative path through a gorge if you prefer to avoid climbing the ladder. At the summit, the views of the Drakensberg Mountain range are a magnificent and well-deserved reward. Later in the day, you can savour a delicious dinner upon returning to the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.
Breakfast |Lunch | Dinner

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

Driving distance approx. 250 km; pure driving time approx. 4 hours

After the previous day’s challenge, day five allows you to take it easier. For nature lovers, there is an exciting activity to enjoy before breakfast. The Drakensberg Mountains are home to one of the last remaining populations of lammergeiers (known as bearded vultures). These birds have a 3 m wingspan, and they are extremely rare. Seeing these huge birds is an exciting opportunity if you are passionate about birdwatching and nature. Later, the drive to the Giant’s Castle Reserve in the centre of the Drakensberg Mountains takes you past the Sterkfontein Dam before arriving at the Giant’s Castle Resort. Since the last two days were quite strenuous, you can relax with a clear conscience while enjoying the mountain panorama. Alternatively, you can enjoy an optional hike from the resort before enjoying dinner and falling asleep in one of the bungalows at Giant’s Castle Resort.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 6 | uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Giant’s Castle Reserve

Hiking distance approx. 8 km; hiking time approx. 3-4 hours and altitude approx. 320 m↑↓

On day six, another day in the magnificent mountain world of the Drakensberg lies ahead of you. After a hearty breakfast, you set off. The trail follows a small stream, which leads you to a viewpoint. Here, you can take in a magnificent view of the 3000 m high mountain massif rising before you. Breathe in the fresh, invigorating mountain air and enjoy the impressive panorama. Africa’s largest antelope, elands, can sometimes be spotted along the trail, a highlight of the day’s walk. In the afternoon, you return to Giant’s Castle Resort, where you can rest after the day’s exertion and enjoy another delicious dinner.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 7 | Giant‘s Castle Reserve – uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Kamberg Region – Umdloti

Driving distance approx. 250 km; pure driving time approx. 4 hours
Hiking distance approx. 7 km; hiking time approx. 3 hours and altitude approx. 280 m↑↓

Today’s hike occurs in the Kamberg region of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, where you hike along the Mooi River to an area where rock paintings created by the San people exist. Fascinatingly, your guide will explain the history of the San people, their spiritual foundations, and their traditional nomadic way of life. Later, and with some luck, you spot baboons, Bearded, and Cape vultures circling in the sky. After the hike, you drive to the Indian Ocean. You can end the magical day with a walk on the beach before enjoying an optional dinner at one of the excellent local restaurants in Umdloti. You stay at the Greenfire Dolphin Coast Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch

Day 8 | Umdloti – Wild Coast (Pondoland)

Driving distance approx. 400 km; pure driving time approx. 6 hours

The destination of today’s drive is the Wild Coast, which, as the name suggests, is home to deserted beaches and hiking trails far from the bustling crowds. After leaving the KwaZulu-Natal province, you drive through the Eastern Cape to the Indian Ocean. Lambazi Lodge, your accommodation for the next two nights, is located a few meters from the beautiful and mostly deserted beach. Take off your shoes, walk barefoot to feel the fine sand between your toes, and take a refreshing dip in the sea. After dinner, you can relax by the campfire, stare at countless stars, and listen to the crackling fire—an unforgettable experience. You overnight at Lambazi Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner 

Day 9 | Wild Coast (Pondoland)

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

Start the day with a soothing walk on the beach. After breakfast, pack your day bag and prepare for a beautiful day in nature. You hike along the wild and romantic coast, partly on the beach and partly on coastal paths worn by local fishermen and cows. Endless beaches, picturesque river mouths, rugged rocks, lush green hills, and valleys characterise the landscape. Today’s hike destination is the Msikaba estuary. It is a long walk, but you can take your time to enjoy the views. You can also stop to gaze at the position where the Grosvenor ship sank in 1782 on its way from India to England. Here, your guide can share the survivors’ fate and the salvage attempts of the valuable treasures. In the afternoon, you return to the Lambazi Lodge, where you can put your feet up and relax while dinner is prepared.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 10 | Wild Coast (Pondoland)

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

The hike on day ten is the longest walk on your trip, but it will be deeply gratifying. Your destination is Mbotyi River Lodge, south of your current accommodation. After a hearty breakfast, lace up your hiking boots and enjoy another day of picturesque landscapes and therapeutic walking. Halfway, you arrive at a unique waterfall called Waterfall Bluff, which plunges 80m into the Indian Ocean. A short distance later, you come across Cathedral Rock, a beautiful rocky pinnacle surrounded by the sea. The final section of the walk is on the beach, which means you can walk barefoot through the fine sand to Mbotyi River Lodge, your home for the next two nights.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 11 | Wild Coast (Pondoland)

Hiking distance depending on individual choice

After the previous two days of long hikes, day 11 of your trip offers the option to relax by the pool with views of the Indian Ocean or enjoy several activities. If you still feel energetic, you can canoe on the ocean or explore the unique landscape of Pondoland on a mountain bike (optional and not included in the tour price). Alternatively, there are various hiking trails around Mbotyi River Lodge for those who want to stretch their legs. The day concludes in style with a delicious dinner. You spend another night at Mbotyi River Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 12 | Wild Coast (Pondoland) – Durban

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

On your final day, you wake up rested. The morning is relaxed, allowing you to take your time. Before breakfast, you can walk to the lagoon and take a refreshing swim while enjoying the peace and seclusion. After a delicious breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye. On initially bumpy roads, you leave the Wild Coast with the feeling of having experienced something unique. You drive back to Durban, and with a heavy heart, you say goodbye to your guide. Alternatively, you can continue the adventure by booking a rental car trip from Durban or a safari in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. You can arrange a no-obligation conversation with one of our experienced South Africa travel experts to learn more. Goodbye, and see you soon in Africa!
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 airconditioned minibus
  • professional guide
  • 11 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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