Free State Tourist AttractionsNamahadi Pass
Where? Namahadi Pass is near the town of Qwa Qwa in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district in the Free State.
Namahadi is the highest peak in the Free State and one of the highest peaks in the Drakensberg range of mountains. The top of the pass is well over 3 000 metres, and devoid of life – only an abandoned police station and a few dilapidated buildings remind one that people lived here.
The major trekking pass, now used by smugglers between the two countries, is regarded as a 'no-go' area. Only hikers or avid cyclists venture this deep into the 'berg as there have been one or two 'incidents'.
To hike on the pass entails an intrepid spirit, for Namahadi lies far from the usual escarpment rendezvous above the Tugela Falls. The peak itself is apparently not all that difficult to climb, once you reach it, but its remoteness makes it far off the beaten track and thus not on the average hiker's list of must-do's.
Namahadi peak lies west of Mount-Aux-Sources on the Free State side of the Drakensberg escarpment. To get there and back is a good three-day slog from the Sentinel car park, up the chain ladders to the escarpment and then on to Namahadi, and back again.
Yet despite this remoteness, some hikers do it as part of a 9-peak adventure over 18 days, depending on the fitness of the group of hikers and their endurance. Those who have bagged all 9 peaks rate it as one of the most unforgettable experiences.
Daniel Bernard and George Louw set a new 9 Peaks group record in 2013 when they reached the highest point in each of South Africa's nine provinces in four days and 18 hours.
One cannot drive Namahadi pass or the escarpment of the Drakensberg, although there have been reports of vehicles coming over the ridge between Mount-Aux-Sources, towards Namahadi and then over the ridge behind Crows Nest, for which they can allegedly be prosecuted.