1 Oct 2020

Drakensberg Hikes Newsletter #20

Hiking in the spring in the Drakensberg Mountains

Amphitheatre Chain Ladders

On Saturday 21 September 2019, one of the shackles that bolts the bottom, right-hand chain ladder to the rocks on the Amphitheatre sheared off at the rock face and compromised the structure of that ladder. The left-hand ladder has no problems. These ladders are accessed from the Sentinel Peak Car Park by hikers who are hiking to the top of the Amphitheatre and on to Tugela Falls and Mont-aux-Sources.

No one was injured, and the ladder is still attached to the rock face. Temporary nylon rope has been used to reduce the movement of the ladder, but that ladder is unquestionably not safe for use. The Sentinel Peak Hike is still open and hikers can either use the ladder on the left, which is open, or the Gully.

A meeting was held at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge on Wednesday 25th September with the Department of Environmental Affairs and their Implementing Agent to determine the next steps.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has confirmed that they have allocated funds for access projects in the area, and are in the process of submitting plans to include the complete replacement of the Chain Ladders in that project. In the interim, the lower ladder on the right remains closed to hikers.

Management of Witsieshoek is currently getting experts to assess repair and stabilization options pending the full replacement of the ladders.

In summary, for now, the Chain Ladders Hike is still open and hikers can either use the ladder on the left or the Gully.

Drakensberg hikes


Featured Hike

Nine Caves in three days

Drakensberg mountains hiking caves


We just love visiting and sleeping in the Drakensberg caves, so why not plan a hike to see as many as possible over three days? Five friends agreed to go with us on this adventure knowing we would be spending the majority of this hike on no path.

On the first day starting at Bushman’s Nek we walked 10 km at 850m elevation again and were privileged to see three caves, sleeping in Whyte’s Cave for the night.

Bushman's Nek Drakensberg Experience


Day two was the day for adventure where getting stuck on top of a mountain if the gully down is not found is a possibility. You hike 10 km with a 570m elevation gain and can see five caves, sleeping in Secret cave for the night.

secret mountain cave in the Drakensberg


Day three is a longish hike back to Bushman’s Nek of 17km and 520m elevation gain with one cave to view along the way. The full details of the hike and track have been added to our blog here.

Featured Accommodation

Little Acres B&B Drakensberg

Little Acres B&B and self-catering

Belinda and Andrew are excellent hosts, their knowledge and insights about the area and the Drakensberg will make your stay a memorable one.

Set in an idyllic, lush 1,2ha garden, secured with an electric fence and ample safe parking, Little Acres is well located in relation to everything there is to do in the Central Drakensberg – you are close to everything in either direction.

Next time you are looking for a weekend away give them a try, you won’t regret it.

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