The Royal Natal National Park forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, and it’s one of the best places to go hiking in the Drakensberg region. There are dozens of trails, and trout fishing is also superb at the Mahai and Thukela dams. It’s a stellar location for birding, and horse riding is also popular if you’d like to saddle up.
The main features of the park are the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, a rocky wall standing 1,200 metres high, the Mont-Aux-Sources peak, (the source for the Orange and Tugela rivers), and of course, Tugela Falls, the world's second-highest waterfall, measuring in at 948 metres.
Off-roaders, assemble! The legendary Sani Pass into Lesotho is the highest pass in the country and rewards those who take on the winding dirt road with panoramic views over the landscape.
This famous mountain pass is situated along the road between the town of Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal and Mokhotlong in Lesotho. At 2,876 metres above sea level, make sure you bring your 4x4 with proper ground clearance. At the summit, stop for a well-deserved cold one at the Sani Mountain Lodge, home to the highest pub in Africa.
Welcome to one of the largest outdoor art galleries. The Drakensberg region boasts more than 35,000 individual recorded images at more than 600. With so many to see, it’s best to start your South African journey at the educational centres at Kamberg and Didima, which offer in-depth guided tours.
The Didima Rock Art Centre is located on the R600, roughly 20 minutes’ drive from the Cathedral Peak Hotel, while the Kamberg Rock Art Centre can be found within the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, with guided walks taking place daily at 08:30am, 11am or 1:30pm.
This thriving independent brewery has long been a pitstop for travellers making their way through the Drakensberg region. Stop in for beer tastings any day of the week, with the Amphitheatre Red Ale, Cathederal Peak Pilsner and Champagne Castle Blonde Ale being some of the fond favourites on tap.
Located in a hangar on an airfield near the small town of Ardmore along the R600, the Drakensberg Brewery is the perfect spot to gather for a post-Drakensberg activity refresher. The restaurant next door offers hearty meals to line the belly while the Drakensberg Memory Chocolates is ideal for those looking for something a little sweeter than a local brew…
The Draken’s Burger Diner sits right at the entrance of Little Switzerland Resort, located along the Oliviershoek Pass (R74). If you love your meat, these flame-grilled burgers alone will complete your journey through the Drakensberg and will quickly persuade you to travel more frequently along this scenic route instead of the usual N3.
While waiting for your meal, you can also fill up the tank at the petrol station nearby and top up on padkos at the quick shop located here, too.
If you thought that South African vineyards could only be found within the Western Cape, think again. Quietly nestled within the Winterton area of the Central Drakensberg, this is just the place to wind down and top up your glass with some local Pinotage (only if you’re not the designated driver, of course).
The top treats on the menu at Cathederal Wine Estate include the Drakensberg smoked trout salad, homemade Bobotie and a variety of cheese and fruit platters.