Taming the Dragon: 21 things to do in the Drakensberg

2014-12-02 09:24
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Scott Ramsay, Year in the Wild.

Name any type of adventure. Go on, do it!

Name it and the Drakensberg mountains are up for it. This mountain range, which is also the highest in South Africa, was made for adventure-seekers. It’s like a playground for the young of heart and the challenge to “tame the Dragon” is never satisfied.

Whether you’re a tame hiker, extreme mountain biker or vertigo seeking climber, the Dragon will have you coming back for more and more.

It's also the perfect spot to train your little ones from a young age to let the adventure find them.

Here’s your list of 21 adventures to get up to in KwaZulu-Natal’s Drakensberg.


1.       King Swing or

2.       Zipline

#kingswing #adventure ...a latergram but still lots of fun. I have a couple of bruises from the drop though....

A photo posted by klarissadawn (@klarissadawn) on

A 17 meter free-fall from a treetop platform after which you swing gracefully or zipline to the next platform, 175 meters away. You have to climb to the top of the platform, which is said to be as thrilling as the swing and zipline itself. Vertigo alert!

For the younger folk (2 -7 years) there’s a milder zipline with less steep gradients available.

Where: All out Adventures “playground”, 360km from Johannesburg. GPS Coordinates: S 28 38. 617 E 029 01.092

How Much: R110 per person

Child Friendly Rating: 9/10

Click here for more information

Also see: Wild Drakensberg: Giant's Castle

3.       Hot Air Ballooning


A photo posted by Sanri Honiball (@sanhoniball) on

This is one of the most romantic outings for adventurous couples. The ride takes you over the majestic mountains to have a bird’s eye view of the highest peak in SA. Breathtaking.

Where: Just outside of Winterton GPS Coordinates: S28 49.647 E29 27.927

How Much: R2 000 – R6 000 per person

Child Friendly Rating: 7/10 [Children from 1.2m up are welcome]

Click here for more information 

4.       Paragliding  

What: Using thermal drafts in the air, an instructor takes you more than 280 meters up in the sky to view the Drakensberg from above. Even if you’re not directly above the Drakensberg, you’ll be 1840 meters above sea level!

Where: Bulwer Village GPS Coordinates: S29 49.000 E29 45.870

How Much: R950 per person

Child Friendly Rating: 9/10 [they have a harness for very small children]

Click here for more information 


5.       White Water River Rafting

Best job ever.. #whitewater #rafting #boardshorts #barefeet #tugelariver #drakensberg #riverlife

A photo posted by Gerhard Willemse (@loveofbread) on

Get ready to be drenched! This is one of the best character and team-building activities out there as your true colours show when you’re paddling for your life! It’s great fun too, though.  

Where: There are a few places in the central Drakensberg; Tugela River and Umkomaas River are but a few of the many. 

How Much: R350 – R650 per person

Child Friendly Rating: 6/10 [depending on the route, but children minimum 11 years old may participate]


6.       Afriski

A photo posted by Pw Nel (@pdoooubleu) on

This ski-resort in Lesotho’s Drakensberg equals anyone in Europe or Canada. Due to our very hot summers, the ski slopes are only operational during the peak winter months, so plan ahead.

Where: Afriski Resort, 75km from the South African border. S28 49 21.52 E28 43 38.64

How Much: Varies between R200 – R3 000, depending on what you do for how long

Child Friendly Rating: 10/10 [there are beginner and kiddy classes]

Click here for more information 


7.       4x4 enscarpment

#LandRover going up #sanipass #mountain in the #mist. #landscape #Landy #offroad

A photo posted by Lizl Sheridan (@lizlmari) on

For those who like to play dirty with their off-road vehicles, this is the perfect playground. Terrains range from baby steps to full on vertical climbing and falling. Sink your teeth in the various routes and passes available.

Where: Mike’s Pass, Sani Pass, Thule Beacon Trail

How Much: Free             

Child Friendly Rating: 5/10

Click here for more information 

8.       Quad Biking

What: An extreme, but guided tour through the Dragon on quad bikes. The tours generally take 2 hours to complete and meander through Montusi Gorge, Rocky Pass and a Waterfall challenge.

Where: All out Adventures “playground”, 360km from Johannesburg. GPS Coordinates: S 28 38. 617 E 029 01.092

How Much: R490 per adult, R100 per child passenger

Child Friendly Rating: 9/10

Click here for more information 

9.       Horse Riding

Experience the beauty of the Drakensberg as you ride through it on horseback.

Where: Sans Souci Farm, Kamberg Valley, Lower Drakensberg. GPS coordinates: 29S 18 58, 29E 43 23

How Much: R250 per person

Child Friendly Rating: 9/10

Click here for more information 

10.   MTB

All out Adventure MTB Trails

What: MTB trails are found all over the Drakensberg, so these are but a few. This is one of the best ways to experience this extraordinary terrain – by getting down and dirty with it!

Where: All out Adventures “playground”, 360km from Johannesburg. GPS Coordinates: S 28 38. 617 E 029 01.092

How Much: R100 per person per day; R180 per person for a multi-day trail

Child Friendly Rating: 9/10

Click here for more information 

Other MTB trails include

11.    Sani Pass Classic MTB Trail 

12.   Lake Eland 

13.   Sani spoors 

14.   Holla Trail 


As with the MTB, there are so, so many hikes and trails to choose from. The following ones are but a handful which will surely get your blood racing. Some are family-friendly (FF), others perhaps not so much…

15.   Amphitheatre hike with Chain Ladders

16.   Cascades Trail – FF

17.   Fairy Glen – FF

18.   Gudu Falls

19.   Tugela


20.   Abseiling

We survived the 204m #maletsunyane #abseil at #semongkong

A photo posted by Jacques Marais (@jacqmaraisphoto) on

Fancy going down the longest commercially operated abseil in the world? Then this is the place to be. The abseil goes down right next to a massive waterfall… AWESOME!

Where: Semonkong Lodge, Lesotho GSP coordinates: S29 50 35.3 E28 02 36.4

How Much: R825

Child Friendly Rating: 4/10

Click here for more information 

21.   Ice climbing

What: Yup, you read that right. You can actually climb the frozen waterfalls during high winter season in the high Drakensberg. Throw on your parkas, hikers.

Where: Peak High Mountaineering, Hilton

How Much: Price on Request

Child Friendly Rating: 5/10

Click here for more information 

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