The Amphitheatre is in the northern section of the Drakensberg (approximately 3 hrs drive from Durban & 3.5-4hrs from JHB). This hike is undoubtedly the most accessible way to the very top of the Drakensberg escarpment (via the famous chain ladders), and the views from the top are spectacular. The Tugela Falls runs over this escarpment (at 850m it is reputably the 2nd highest waterfall in the world).
The arrival night on the trail is spent at the Cavern Berg hotel (www.cavern.co.za). The accommodation on the 2nd & 3rd night is at the Mountain Lodge – the only lodge this high up the Drakensberg escarpment and perfectly located for this slackpacking trail – meaning you can get to the very top of the Drakensberg escarpment – without having to sleep in your own tent or cave...normally the only way for high berg hikes such as this.
By spending 3 days and 3 nights on the route, staying at conveniently located lodges along the way, and accompanied by an experienced trail guide, it is possible for anyone who is reasonably fit to summit the escarpment. This hike has been planned so that you can walk at a comfortable pace and not be encumbered by a heavy backpack.
On this trail, you'll do 40 kilometres over 3 days of hiking with an altitude gain of 1300m, so it is not a hike for the faint-hearted, but the views are worth every drop of sweat.
3 Nights Accom (sharing basis): 1 night at Cavern Hotel (Std Room) & 2 Nights at Mountain Lodge – nicest Sentinel Chalets
All meals: from dinner on arrival night to packed lunch on final hike day (3 Breakfasts, 3 Packed Lunches, and 3 Dinners). At Mountain Lodge – will be either a buffet dinner or order from ala carte menu to the value of R230/per dinner.
Hiking Guide - for first 2 hike days (Day 3 – is an easy self-guide down to Royal Natal)
Hiking Permit - for Hike day 2 from Sentinel Car Park
The Mountain Lodge - Sentinel Car Park - return Transfer: Hike Day 2
Private Return Transfer: pick-up from Royal Natal & transfer back to the Cavern on final day
The fully catered option with hotel accommodation for 3 nights (first night at the Cavern (Standard Room) and 2 nights in the best ‘Sentinel’ chalets at the Mountain Lodge). Guide for 2 hike days and all transfers provided.
Package Option B: The Buttress
Partially catered trail if you are on a tighter budget with hotel accommodation at Cavern the first night and 2 nights in the Mountain Lodge Hikers Cabin (private twin bed room with bedding provided, but shared male/female bathrooms). Dinner, breakfast & packed lunch provided from the Cavern & 2 breakfasts provided at the Mountain Lodge, but you will need to self-cater or purchase your other meals at the Mountain Lodge. The accommodation provides basic crockery, pots, fridge & stove, otherwise you can have meals at the hotel’s restaurant – ala carte menu (or do a combination of both).
The rest of the trail logistics are provided & included as per Option A (all transfers + guide for 2 hike days) Prices as per attachment.
On both hike packages, you carry your own backpack on Day’s 1 & 3 (Day 2 – you leave your main bag at the hotel & can just share a smaller daypack) unless you request a porter to carry your backpack for you . However, as bedding & towels are provided on the tour and on Opt A – all meals are provided too, you literally just need to carry your personal toiletries and a few change of clothes. These should easily be able to fit into a large daypack (approx 35-40L), so you really shouldn’t be weighed down by a heavy backpack. You should be able to keep your backpack under 10kgs if you not bringing food for self-catering.
However, should you wish to use a porter, we CAN organise this for you. The maximum load one porter can carry is 15kgs, so 1 porter can be shared between two persons, if you pack conservatively. A porter for Day 1 & 3 (when needed) costs R890. ** We can also offer a vehicle luggage transfer - i.e. drop bags at Witsies on arrival day and go and collect them to return back to Cavern on the final day @ R3500 (total) for this service. Depending on how many porters you may be looking to book, this may work out cheaper for the whole group, and also easier, as you can pack into a tog bag and not have to use backpacks - which you do have to for using porters.
The last hike day, from the Mountain Lodge down to Royal Natal, is a relatively easy self-guide down the Mahai valley and into Royal Natal (we will send directions & you’ll receive a map). A guide is NOT included for this day on either package. However, should you want one, this can be arranged at an additional fee.
Cancellation of any booking must be received in writing and fully acknowledged by Active Escapes CC in writing.
If a booking is cancelled with the consent of Active Escapes (AE), AE reserves the right to retain 20% or R500/per cancelled person (whatever is the greater) of the total tour amount as a Booking & Administration Fee.
Should a person cancel a tour and cannot find an immediate replacement, with:
4 weeks or more notice – 25% of the total tour amount is forfeited.
If ACTIVE ESCAPES has less than 4 weeks’ notice, the cancellation fee, payable by the client will be as follows:
27-21 days prior to the trip: 50% of the total tour amount
20 – 14 days prior to trip: 60% of the total tour amount
13 – 0 days prior to trip: 100% of the total tour amount
Under special circumstances, the 50% deposit may be transferred to another tour or event, to take place within 12 months of the cancelled tour/event. However, a 20% or R500 (whichever is the greater) Booking/Admin fee will still apply.