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Ukhahlamba Drakensberg

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Ukhahlamba Drakensberg

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Ukhahlamba (Drakensberg), [8],or "The Berg" is a mountainous region in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Map-South Africa-Ukhahlamba Drakensberg01.png


The name 'Drakensberg' is derived from the dutch and means "mountains of the dragon". The mountain range was formed by a lava flow.

Get in

By car

The N3 highway (a toll road) is the major road artery through KwaZulu-Natal and connects with Durban to the south and Johannesburg to the north. One of the regional roads leading off the N3 will get you to where you need to be.

By plane

There are no major airports in the region. The nearest international airport is in Durban. Pietermaritzburg has a smaller regional airport with daily domestic flights.

By bus

Baz Bus, [9], runs a regular service between Durban and Johannesburg/Pretoria with stops in Pietermaritzburg and at the Ampitheater in the Royal Natal National Park.

Underberg/NUD Express [10] runs door-to-door shuttle service between the Sani Pass lodges, Underberg, Pietermaritzburg, Howick, Kokstad,and Durban.

Get around

By car

The best way to get around is by hired car. Roads are tarred and for the most part well maintained and signposted.



Northern Drakensberg

The Northern Drakensberg is generally the warmest area of the berg in Winter, with little to no snow and higher temperatures than Johannesburg.

  • Hiking around the Ampitheatre. Spectacular hiking around a mountain feature known as the "amphitheater" or "theater" for short. Hiking on top of the theater itself is possible. If you are staying in the Royal Natal, it is either a two day hike or to the top, or a one hour drive to a gate near the top. The hike on the top takes place on comparatively gentle terrain. At one point, it is necessary to either climb a steep gully or to climb up chain ladders. Chain ladders are the easiest but the gully may be more rewarding.
  • Royal Natal National Park features excellent hiking and accommodation facilities. In particular, there is the Tugela Falls Gorge Walk, which is about 22 kilometers on relatively flat terrain.

Southern Drakensberg

  • Sani Pass. Sani Pass is an eight kilometer mountain pass that can only be traversed by four wheel drive vehicles. These eight kilometers are "no mans land" because the South African border post lies at the bottom and the Lesotho border post lies at the top. Four-wheel drive minibus taxis can be used by travellers to get up or down, but the wait might be considerable.
  • GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, +27 (0)82 731 4696, [1]. Guided Drakensberg Trekking and Climbing.



Stay safe


  • Antbear Guest Lodge, +27 (0)36 3523143 (fax: +27 (0)36 3523143), [2]. Ensuite double R830 per peron including dinner and breakfast. (-29.140167,29.815836)
  • Amphitheather Backpackers Lodge, (Follow the R74 north out of town for 21 km, signpost will indicate the lodge on the left), +27 (0)36 438-6675 (fax: +27 (0)36 438-6675), [3]. Camping: R45, dorm bed: R75, basic twin: R85 per person, budget double: R100 per person, deluxe double: R110 per person.
  • Mountain Shadows, [4]. Camping
  • Sani Lodge Backpackers Hostel, [5]. Located near Sani Pass. Accessible via Underberg Express shuttle service. Offers excellent multi-day tours to Lesotho and nearby hikes to Bushman paintings. Restaurant food is mediocre and overpriced at R50 for breakfast and R70 for dinner so it is advisable to bring food. Kitchen facilities are available. Camping: R60; Dorm bed: R90, Standard rooms: R240.
  • Orion Mont Aux Sources, R74 Bergville KZN, +27 36 438-8000, [6]. Situated in the Northern Drakensberg, the ORION MONT-AUX-SOURCES hotel welcomes guests from all over the world. (S 28°39'40.2,E 028°59'58.6)
  • Drakensberg Express (Drakensberg Express), 21 Hawthorn Street, +27 39 727 4547, [7]. Drakensberg Express offers you a vast search for Accommodation, Activities and Cuisine in the Drakensberg region of South Africa. The entrance and lounge area of this hotel personifies the warmth of the peaceful surroundings, so typical of the famous DRAKENSBERG community.

Get out

  • Lesotho can be accessed via the Sani Pass and border post. A 4x4 is recommended for Sani Pass.

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