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Best Hikes in Drakensberg

Manchester, United...
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Best Hikes in Drakensberg

My husband and I are heading to SA in February 2011 and are planning on spending some time hiking in the drakensbergs.

We've probably got 6-8 days to spend there - heading from J'burg to Durban. We're keen hikers, can manage long day hikes scrambling/chain ladders etc...looking for accommodation (self-catering best) with walking from the door, can "rough it" and would consider an overnight/2-day trek somewhere

any tips on the absolute best hikes in the area and any suggested itineries would be much appreciated thanks!

lou

Cape Town
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1. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

Use Amphitheatre Backpackers as your base in the northern Drakensberg. Start with the hike up to Tugela Falls / Mont aux Sources. You can easily drive to the central D'berg hikes from there, too - there are guides associated with the backpackers who can advise where to go and when, they will hire gear and provide transport if you like (they are also part of the volunteer mountain rescue team, so well connected in the region).

My review from Jan '08 here: …blogspot.com/2008/01/amphitheatre-backpacke…

HTH

Kurt

durban
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2. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

I agree with previous poster start with Amitheatre, Royal National Park and then either use a place as your base or move from Northern berg to Central Berg and hike in Injasuti, and other places in the area.

www.kimssouthafrica.blogspot.com

durban
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3. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

www.places.co.za/html/drakensberg_park.html gives you a good idea of all the National Parks. www.kimssouthafrica.blogspot.com

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

We stayed in a self-catering chalet in Thendele Camp at Royal Natal National Park a couple years ago. We were able to walk to many of the trailheads right from our chalet, including the Tugela Falls trail which should not be missed. We had an excellent view of the Amphitheatre from our front porch. I think this option would suit you well.

Manchester, United...
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5. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

Thanks for your advice - that all sounds great....I think we're going to spend a few nights at two different restcamps in the north and the central drakensberg - just trying to decide which!

Just got one more question though - I've read that Injisuthi camp is down a dirt track - we were planning on hiring a standard small hire car like a toyota yaris - would this be ok or do you need a 4WD to access the camps?

thanks for your help!

Pretoria, South...
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6. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

Disagree vehemently with the above - avoid Amphitheatre backpackers at all costs! See the reviews (which are under 'Amphi' Backpackers).

If you want a local guide who can help you with planning itineraries / guiding you on longer hikes then try the excellent King Steve (083 5833966). You can hike with him overnight and sleep in caves! His rates are extremely reasonable (read: very cheap) and he is knowledgable about the whole Drakensberg region, having lived there all his life (apart from a stint in Joburg to do a degree in Tourism). He is based in Winterton, but willing to travel anywhere in the region.

Cape Town
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7. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

Hi Anna

what was your experience with Amphitheatre Backpackers? Most reviews are decent (3-5 stars) and none are "Terrible" (1-star).

Since you just joined TA today and this is your only posting -- which is also promoting a competing product offering in the same region -- we're inclined to be cautious before we get to know you better :-) Did you stay there yourself? When? What happened?

Please tell us more, so we can have confidence in your suggestion to "avoid...at all costs".

durban
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8. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

The reviews didn't seem bad to me, they all just caution you against the pushy owner trying to sell her guided tours as opposed to other tours, however one reviewer did go on the owners tours and seemed to enjoy them thoroughly, so I am not entirely sure what the problem is Anna? bad blood between you or have you or someone you know had a bad experience? Do tell.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g312617-d6…

www.kimssouthafrica.blogspot.com

Canmore, Alberta
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9. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

During our stay at the Amphitheatre we did not have an issue because we had our rental car and went off and did things on our own. I did find the owner to be quite pushy with selling her tours. We really just didn't care for her attitude altogether. I felt bad for other travelers staying at the backpackers who had been dropped off by the Baz bus. They had little option for what they could do on their own while they were there.

I was told that the lady who owned the place was providing incorrect information about certain hikes saying you could not do them on your own, that they had to be done by a tour. It seemed all too convenient that her backpackers offered the tour to the same hike she was referring to.

Stockholm, Sweden
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10. Re: Best Hikes in Drakensberg

I have to disagree strongly with Anna's recommendation of "King Steve".

We used him as a guide just a couple of days ago (Feb 2011). It was a rather misty day and we went up past the Sentinel and the chain ladders to the Tugela Falls. While the trip was wonderful in many respects Steve kept pushing everyone to walk faster all the time (it turned out that he was worried about not catching a ride back home later in the day). We explained to him that this was a tour that should accomodate the slowest walkers and that we would drive him home afterwards if needed. Didn't help.

The guy left us on the mountain side in the fog and mist. We found him 90 min later in the hut at the Sentinel parking lot chatting to the guards. While we were fine (most of us have done that hike several times before) there is still NO EXCUSE for a guide to ever leave his clients, in particular not on a mountain side, not to mention in thick fog.

Great hike, worst guide ever. Avoid at all costs.

Johan