The Giants Cup Hiking Trail is part of the National Hiking Way. The hike follows a well established and clearly marked trail that runs southwards from Sani Pass in the north to Bushmans Nek in the south, the full trail being approximately 60km in length. It falls within the Ukahlamba Wilderness Area (a World Heritage Site) and is administered by KZN Wildlife who provide 5 basic overnight huts along the route for independent hikers.
SA Adventure Trails has introduced slack-packing to this trail for those who would like to walk the trail during the day and stay at comfortable lodges at night where all meals are provided for.
Departures are organized for the spring and autumn months when the weather is predictable and mostly fine - outside of the summer thunderstorms and cold winters. Groups of 4 - 10 hikers are welcome to form their own parties or join one of the scheduled hikes
Balance of payment, due 30 days before travel date.
Day 1: Arrival
Hikers usually self drive to the Southern Drakensberg to check into their lodge for the night before the hike as it is a 6 hour drive from JHB or 3hrs from Durban.
A pick up shuttle can be arranged from King Shaka airport if needed. Please request if flying into Durban.
Day 2: Sani Pass to Cobham (13km)
After breakfast you will be transported to the start of the trail at the bottom of Sani Pass. The first objective is to cross the ridge between the Mkomazana and Gxalingwa valleys. Ngwenya Pools is an ideal stop for lunch on a sunny day . After this the trail gradually ascends through attractive country into the Pholela valley, crossing a suspension bridge over the river to the Cobham reserve. You will be collected from this point for your transfer back to your guesthouse
Day 3: Cobham to Drakensberg Gardens (18km)
This is the longest and most eventful day and you will need to make an early start to get the most out of it! You will be transported to the beginning of the day's walk at Cobham and continue the trail which ascends the Siphongweni Ridge past Tortoise Rocks before traversing its southern flank and dropping down into the Mzimkulwana valley. You will see the Mzimkulwana Hut (normally the 2nd nights hut on the GC Trail) nestling beside one of the tributaries of the Umzimkulu. This is a good spot to have a lunch break after about 3hrs of easy contour walking.
The remainder of the days hike will first take you on a long climb towards Little Bamboo Mountain. On the top of the ridge you will find a number of small ponds (tarns) where blue cranes frequent and the remains of a petrified forest. After that the trail follows a pleasant stream valley with tempting swimming pools, and finally drops down to the Drakensberg Gardens Valley where you will be picked up and taken to your local guesthouse for the third night.
Day 4: Drakensberg Gardens Valley (11km)
An easier day of hiking after the tired legs from Day 2. A short hike via the scenic but steep Black Eagle Pass takes you from Castleburn to the Drakensberg Gardens ridge where you will enjoy spectacular views over the mountain skyline. The trail then follows to the west of Garden Castle mountain ridge between the two river valleys of the Mzimkulu and the Mzimude.
Many pleasant vistas present themselves as you follow the contour path to the west of Garden Castle peak. Near the end of the trail you will see Drakensberg Gardens hotel below you. Follow the path down to the hotel from where you will be picked up to return to your guesthouse.
Day 5: Swimans to Bushmans Nek (15km)
This optional day is considered by many hikers to be the best day’s walk of the trail. It more remote than the rest of the trail so you are likely to see more game and less people than anywhere else. You also have the wide open vistas of the Drakensberg mountains with a few high peaks to enjoy as you walk through the grasslands of the Mzimude catchment area.
The trail will eventually take you up and into to a broad valley passing Langalibalele Cave and beneath the fire look-out tower before descending to Bushmans Nek. The trail ends at the South African border post from where you will be picked up to return to your first accommodation at Himeville.
Cancellation (within one month of the tour taking place) will be facilitated with as minimal penalty as possible. Tour groups choosing to cancel will be refunded in ZAR on all monies received, less an amount not exceeding 20% of the full booking cost. Half of the money retained will be paid over to the service providers (accommodation owners, guides etc) as their portion of the cancellation fee.
A booking fee of ZAR 1000 per person will be levied on all bookings which is non refundable in the event of cancellation