Southern Drakensberg Hiking Trail
DAY 1: Matatiele
You will be met and transferred from Durban to Masakala Traditional Guesthouse, near Matatiele in the Southern Drakensberg region. From the guesthouse you have stunning views of the Southern Drakensberg forming the border with the neighboring Kingdom of Lesotho.
The guesthouse consists of two traditional style rondavels designed and built using local architectural ideas and skills. There is a choice of beautifully decorated single and double rooms with hot shower and bath. As the sun sets and evening draws in, you may savour a traditional meal prepared by a local catering group. Home-grown vegetables, fresh produce, and African recipes feature on the menu alongside conventional fare, allowing your taste buds to experience traditional rural cooking.
Masakala Guesthouse is a Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa accredited establishment, and the starting point of the Mehloding Hiking Trail. Both are community owned and managed by the Mehloding Community Tourism Trust.
Overnight at MASAKALA TRADITIONAL GUESTHOUSE (B&B plus dinner)
DAY 2: Mariazell Mission
Day at leisure at Masakala Guesthouse to explore the area or embark on one of the local tours to meet a traditional healer or enjoy local music (optional extras).
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Malekhalonyane Chalet, close to Mariazell Mission. The accommodation comprises one main rectangular house with two bathrooms, kitchen and dining room, a boma for evening braais, three rondavels sleeping 4 to 6 each. A short hike will take you to the Mission or to the Jordan River for a refreshing swim.
Overnight at MALEKHALONYANE CHALET (full board basis, including bedding & towels)
DAY 3: Motseng Village
Today you will start the Mehloding guided hiking trail near Motseng village and first walk through open grassland with mountain views along. The trail traverses in a north-easterly direction and crosses the Jordan River quickly after the start of the hike. Stop to look at the various rock art paintings en-route. A short steep climb up onto a grassland ridge, followed by an easy walk and descend to a stream crossing near Masupha village. The last stretch is a moderate climb with great views, followed by a descend through Mpharane village and finishing at Makhulong chalet.
Trail distance: 14 km.
Altitude: 1,591 m
Makhulong chalet is situated above Mpharane village and provides one communal rectangular building with kitchen, two bathrooms and dining room opening onto a terrace for evening drinks and braais. Accommodation is in three rondavels sleeping 6 in one dormitory and two rooms sleeping 2 people each. The chalets are quite close to the village, so you can wander down to meet the local people and buy produce from the local spaza shops.
Overnight at MAKHULONG CHALET (full board basis, including bedding & towels)
DAY 4: Mpharane Village
The next part of the trail starts by descending into Mpharane village and crossing the Seeta River. This can be quite deep in summer and hence requires careful negotiation. This is followed by a steady climb using footpaths and sled tracks to reach a long easy ridge with excellent 360 degree views. Through a nek and contour path to the Protea level, where the path meanders through open grassland with streams and incised valleys. A final moderate climb takes you to the chalet at Maboloka, located below the Twin Sisters and Makalane peaks. A walk down to the stream and through Mountain Hardpear trees takes you to a panel of well-preserved rock art in the sandstone belt.
Trail distance: 20 km.
Altitude: 1,560 m
The camp consists of one communal house opening onto a terrace with stunning views, two bathrooms, dining room and kitchen. There are two rondavels, one dormitory style and one divided into two twin rooms. This is the most isolated of the chalets and will suit nature lovers and hikers wishing to explore the walks to rock art and waterfalls.
Overnight at MABOLOKA CHALET (full board basis, including bedding & towels)
DAY 5: Madlangala
Start today with a moderate climb along stock paths up a pleasant contour with interesting sandstone features. Descend to the Kinira River, crystal clear and clean enough for drinking, and follow undulating terrain through Goxe and Pepela villages. Cross Makomoring stream, which unfortunately has some wattle infestation, and climb up to the chalet located amongst Protea vegetation.
Trail distance: 14 km.
Altitude: 1,663 m
The chalet at Madlangala is surrounded by mountain peaks and has a real sense of space with clear mountain air. Built from local rock and surrounded by proteas, camp consists of one main house with two bathrooms, kitchen and dining room opening onto a covered terrace with mountain views. Accommodation is in two rondavels, one dormitory style and one divided into two twin rooms.
Overnight at MADLANGALA CHALET (full board basis, including bedding & towels)
DAY 6: Matatiele
Your last day’s hike is a pleasant contour walk with patches of indigenous forest, protea groves, fascinating sandstone features, and mountain grassland. Depending on the season, you will find many species of wildflowers and birdlife along this section.
The trail ends near Qachas Nek, the border post with Lesotho, where you will be collected by a vehicle and taken back to Masakala Guesthouse, where you will spend the night.
Trail distance: 13 km.
Altitude: 1,685 m
Overnight at MASAKALA GUESTHOUSE (full board basis, including bedding & towels)
DAY 7: Durban
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Durban for your onwards travel arrangements.
End of Services
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The above itinerary can be used as a starting point and can be tailored to suit your needs. Contact us for more information.