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September 2021: Royal Natal Drakensberg

Sep 24, 2021

More details about this hike

September 2021: Royal Natal Drakensberg

We aim to provide a gay, lesbian and straight-friendly hiking environment for anyone and everyone to enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the company of like-minded friends.

September 2021: Royal Natal Drakensberg

Sep 24, 2021

Contact me now (once you have decided on your accommodation group or if you plan on coming alone) at ggstacey@hotmail.com for information about booking a campsite, the venue is filling up.

Booking for this event has closed

Estimated accommodation costs of three day stay:

Camping at Mahai based on two tents and 3 people per electrified site: R280 + R20 club fee each.

Off site Thendele lower Chalets two or four persons: R1 400 + R20 club fee per person sharing.

(based on a minimum of 3 per campsite on long weekend and full cottages)

Nature conservation fee also required on arrival R45.

Actual costs may increase for smaller groups:


You will need to decide

  • with whom you are travelling
  • type of accommodation shared
  • with whom you are catering

In theory you can do all this alone but costs will be higher. Supposing you book a campsite for yourself or for two you may choose to share the site with one or two others offering them the chance to split the costs.

If you wish to join us you will need contact me now so I can provide details of how to book. The campsite is filling up faster than expected. Let me know by email once you have your accommodation group and whether you are prepared to share with 1 or 2 others to make 3 on a site. Let me know if you want to join a group.  Mention 3 Dayhiking Sunday hikes you have done over the last 2 years.



Contact Glenn on ggstacey@hotmail.com or for more information about the event.


Royal Natal National Park has some of the best mountain scenery in Africa. The main feature is the world famous Amphitheater, a rock wall approximately five km in length, and  500m high. On top of the amphitheatre is the Mont-aux-Sources peak where the Orange river begins its long journey to the Atlantic ocean and Tugela river cascades down the face of the amphitheatre, in the second highest waterfall in the world, on its way to the Indian ocean.

Hiking is by far the most popular activity at Royal Natal National Park. Comprehensive hiking guide's are available for purchase at the Visitor Centre, Thendele camp office and at the main entrance gate. The brochure shows a map of the park and the network of hiking trails which visit every part of the park from the leasuerly walk to Fairy Glen to the challenging hike up the Crack and down the Mudslide.

Trout fishing at Royal Natal National Park can be done in a dam in the park and in the Mahai and Thukela rivers. Picnicking and swimming in the fresh mountain streams are a popular summer pastime

Types of accommodation:
Campsite featuring 80 large campsites
Thendele Lower Camp:
Accommodation in 8x 2-Bedded Chalets and 5x 4-Bedded Chalets
Thendele Upper Camp:
Accommodation in 6x 2-Bedded Chalets and 7x 4-Bedded Chalets.
2x 6-Bedded Cottages, each featuring 3 bedrooms
1x 6-Bedded Thendele Lodge


Mahai Campsite

Mahai is a beautifully situated campsite featuring 99 large campsites nestled along the Mahai River with magnificent mountains forming the backdrop. Half of the campsites have plug points. All sites have shared cold water taps. Mahai campsite is serviced by five, modern ablution blocks with hot baths and showers, flush toilets, laundry machines and dish-washing facilities.


 As you can see, locals have a way of expressing themselves when it comes to camping. The best I have encountered was a snow white castle tent, but that's a Cape Town Trance Party thing. We will reserve sites together and since we will be hiking each day, the simpler the better but nothing is off the table.

This is the way we did it with neighbour and bike on adjoining site


Thendele Lodge Off-site Cottages

All together easier but 5km away along a pot-holed road

In both instances all food must be brought from home, nothing is available for purchase. Braai facilities are available but bring charcoal. Chalets have kitchens with crockery and cutlery. Campers must bring tents, bedding with insulite or Yoga mats, all cooking and eating utensils, towels, toiletries, torch (camping chairs and tables for comfort, two extension cords and adapters for electric hook-up, some points require blue adapter from caravan spares shops).



We will do afternoon walk on Friday, 12km top of Gudu falls hike on Saturday and morning walk on Sunday. Not everyone needs to do the chain ladder. There are plenty of foothill walks.


 The Saturday 770m ascent is doable providing you have managed our Sunday hikes.

The escarpment hikes are more like 1000m (Cathedral 900m) we leave to a future visit.



Good hiking shoes, hat, sun block, at least 2lt of water, snacks


Sep 24, 2021


September 2021: Royal Natal Drakensberg

Click here for directions


R per person

Includes R10 club fee


Packed lunch


Requires fitness

Succesful completion of Sunday Hikes

GPS Coordinates

Please Note

We suggest taking directions as well as the GPS coordinates, as Google Maps/Garmin might lead you astray.

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360km from Johannesburg



Directions to site:

There are two routes from the north depending on weather conditions.
The first one is to turn off the N3 at Harrismith and take the N5 to Kestell. 2 km down this road turn left on to the R74 to Qwa Qwa and follow the signs to Bergville going over the Olivier`s Hoek Pass and turning right to Royal Natal National Park at the bottom of the pass at the area tourism sign.
This route is considerably shorter than the following more conventional route and saves an additional toll fee.
The alternative is to turn off the N3 just past Ladysmith on to the N11 and proceed to Bergville. The reserve is well signposted from here.
From the south turn off the N3 at the Winterton/Berg Resorts off-ramp and proceed to Bergville.

Distance to Town:

49 km

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