Posted on Fri October 21, 2016.

Amongst the many reasons people choose to visit South Africa every year are affordability, scenery, wildlife, weather, wine and food, and our outdoor lifestyle. One of the key elements to this outdoor lifestyle are the various hiking routes available to tourists.Drakensberg Mountain Retreat Hikes

Many of our guests explore the hiking trails at Drakensberg Mountain Retreat whilst visiting us, so we decided to share some information on our hikes.

Before setting out on a hike, always be mindful of the weather:

  • Take water and a walking stick with you.
  • Your safety is a top priority for us and we therefore insist that you take your cell phone as well as our maps and phone numbers along with you. We like to always be aware of where our guests are situated.
  • Sunscreen is a must!

Drakensberg Mountain Retreat CaveA little more about our walking trails at Drakensberg Mountain Retreat…

Our trails are well marked and cater for all abilities. Trail maps are available at reception and we can always suggest a hike/walk to suit your capabilities. We offer two longer hikes which take the better part of a day, two 3 hour rambles and 3 short strolls…

Day Hikes.
 (These are strenuous hikes)

Our Wingswept Trail is approximately 13km long. Starting from the Zonderntwyfel Barn house, the trail takes the hiker to the highest point of Vergezient and offers some incredible views of the surrounding mountains. From here a dragon-back dolerite ridge leads to Protea Pavement with close-up views of two landmarks: The Kerkenberg and Mpokelana Hill. Lower down an enormous rock, one of Wingswept’s photographic delights, marks the Place of the Hyena. The trail then descends through the beautiful Oom Pieters se Bos. From the forest you will hike along Western Pass Kloof which is easy going. From here the trail continues to Abseil Kranz, over which plummets the 50m high Vergezient Falls. There is a short cliff edge walk before returning the hiker to the starting point.

Place of the Hyena - Wingswept HikeThe New Beginnings Trail is 13.5km long and as with Wingswept, begins and ends at the Barn house. lt descends to the very bottom end of the land, marked by one of Vergezient’s most spectacular physical features, The New Beginnings Cave. From the Barn house, the trail follows the cliff edge westwards to Yellowwood Kloof where it drops to the second terrace and to Folly Ridge Falls. A steep zigzagging kloofing section leads to the Old Opstal, an old house built over a century ago and an appealing photographic subject. The trail pick up on an old road which is an easy walk to The Ford, where the Vergezient Stream is crossed with natural splash pools. From here, a short but narrow steep natural passage will take you to the New Beginnings Cave where panels of Bushman art testify to Stone Age use. From the cave starts the long ascent back to the Barn house. The natural staircase to the top takes in two kloofs – the first, at Vergezient Falls with our largest natural pool. Beyond the pool the trail tunnels through dense vegetation along the base of the cliffs before climbing out to above the waterfall. The final kloof is a steep but more or less straight forward bouldering ascent which ends up on a grassy ridge close to the Barn house.

3 Hour Rambles

  1. Razor’s Edge – Please note that certain parts of this trail have become inaccessible so please discuss this with reception. This trail drops down from the Barn house into Vergezient Kloof from where it traverses across steep slopes arriving at Razor’s Edge. On steep slopes, views and highlights of The Wall (a smooth cliff with a bridal fall that drops over the cliff edge into the forest below) and Cussonia Quad(where Keipersol species are represented). Turning north the trail follows the edge of the escarpment and looks into Kwa-Zulu Natal. Further on, at Old Trail’s View, the wagon route pioneered by Piet Retief’s Voortrekkers in 1838 can be seen. From here the trail cuts across Lightfoot Ridge, an easy walk back.
  1. Dragon’s Spine provides hikers with an easy walk. Hugging cliff edges, the trailrepeatedly dips into a yellowwood forest before ascending gradually to Heldersig viewpoint with its stunning views in every direction.

Our Easy Strolls

  1. Cliff Edge: This provides a bird’s eye view of indigenous forests and the Berg, and is ideal for the early morning, or late afternoon. This walk is also suitable for children.
  2. Homefields: Rewarding, especially at sunrise. lt offers views deep into KwaZulu-Natal.
  3. Heldersig: This leads to the highest point on the Dragon’s Spine.

Need more reasons to go hiking? HIKING IS HEALTHY! Check these out…

  1. Lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease
  2. Increases your energy level
  3. Burns calories
  4. Elevates your mood
  5. Alleviates Insomnia
  6. Provides you with your daily dose of Vitamin D

After reading our HIKING blog, you shouldn’t need any more reasons to explore the mountains by foot! Contact us for your stay at The Drakensberg Mountain Retreat (https://drakensbergretreat.co.za)

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