In short, the Drakensberg Grand Traverse is a back-packing hike typically from Witsieshoek
through to Bushmans Nek. Thgis could also be done the other way, South to North, but the North
to South approach is more popular. A key factor isd the fact that Sani Top offers a great break
after 9 or so days, and for some would come to soon the other way around. One of the advantages
of doing it South to North is the fact the re-supply using Organ Pipes is easier for support team as
they can drive up Mike's Pass and reduce distance to camp.
From the starting point, the Sentinel Car Park, the trail leads up the zig-zags to the well known
chain ladders that take you to the top of the escarpment near Mont Aux Sources and the Tugela
From there, the trail hugs the escarpment and meanders over hills and down valleys offering
magnificent views of the major features of the Drakensberg. Apart from the well known passes and
features, the trail includes the highest points in South and Southern Africa, Mafadi and Thabana
Ntanyana respectively, at elevations of just short of 3500 metres.
The traverse is completed when reaching Bushmans Nek, a border control point between South
Africa and Lesotho some 230 km walking distance from the start.
The hike typically takes 12 to 13 days, and is at an average altitude of just over 3000 metres above
sea level. Total ascent during the hike is in excess of 8000 metres and there are about 28
"climbs" in excess of 200 metres. No technical skill is required, the "climbs" are essentially
Although the hike can be done as a fully unsupported activity, it is common for hikers to be
supported by friends who carry up additional supplies at the 6 day halfway mark, top of
Bannermans Pass or Langalibalele Pass, and perhaps at the 9 day mark at the top of Sani Pass.
There are no facilities on the mountain and hikers must ensure self- sufficiency with respect to all
weather gear, food, medical supplies etc.