Medium range treks in the Southern Drakensberg

Hodgson's Peaks 1 (Panoramic)

There are three major 4-day wilderness treks that we recommend in the Southern Drakensberg, each one with distinctive character and offering an exceptional wilderness experience.  All of these treks are fully guided, but are run on a self-carry basis only and are graded “tough”. The three treks are as follows:

Hodgson’s Peak’s Circuit

Hodgson’s Peaks (South Peak 3257m), which form a saddle referred to as the Giant’s Cup, are the most distinctive summits on the Southern Escarpment, dominating the skyline above Underberg and the tranquil farmlands below the uKhahlamba park.  This is the perfect trek for first-timers to the Southern ‘Berg, and you’ll pass through some of the most beautiful valleys in the region. Nights are either spent in tents, or in natural rock shelters such as the San people would have used. The second night is spent in a lovely position beside the Pitsaneng river within Lesotho. Participants have the option of two mountain passes to reach the summit plateau. One is fairly exposed and a good head for heights is needed, but the other is for the not so brave.
(Vertical gain 1600m)

Thaba nTlenyana (3482m)

Situated in Lesotho, 4 kilometres inland from the escarpment edge, Thaba nTlenyana is the highest point in Southern Africa - although it can be reached on a 2-day out and back hike from Sani Top, our firm opinion is that a 4 day trip originating and ending at Vergelegen, situated below the escarpment at the edge of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a vastly more interesting proposition.  For starters, it involves a proper climb and descent through some of the wildest and most remote areas of the Drakensberg (the terrain is relatively demanding), and you will really appreciate the spectacular views and unspoiled wilderness. Two nights are spent in natural rock shelters, and one night is spent in a high altitude tented camp.
(Vertical gain 1980m)

Giant’s Castle Circuit

Starting and ending at Loteni, this excellent circuit offers some of the most rugged vistas of the Southern Drakensberg as well as good views of the Central Drakensberg. This is situated in one of the least developed parts of the Drakensberg, and for a true wilderness experience, this one is hard to beat.  The circuit encompasses the feature known as Giant’s Castle (3314m), otherwise known as “The Giant”, well known for its good views and equally for its extremes of weather, particularly in the summer. The weather factor demands that early starts are made, especially during the summer season. All nights are spent in tents.
(Vertical gain 1840m)
 

Southern Drakensberg Alternatives:

Longer:
If you are seeking something longer, consider a 5-day traverse of the Southern Drakensberg.  This can be run on a fully supported basis using pack-horses, or on a self-carry basis.

Shorter:
3-day trek from Hodgson's Peaks to Drakensberg Garden Castle.....OR.....   2-day out-and-back climb of Rhino Peak.....OR..... 2-day out-and-back climb of Hodgson's Peaks

Softer:
Spend between 3 and 5 days hiking between huts on the lower level Giant’s Cup Trail.....OR..... base yourself at one of the Southern Drakensberg's excellent small hotels or B&B's and undertake guided day hikes among the impressive sandstone buttresses of the "Little Berg"