Giants Castle, Drakensberg
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Lying at the southern end of the central Drakensberg, Giant’s Castle, which gets its name from the outline of the peaks and escarpment that combine to resemble the profile of a sleeping giant, is essentially a grassy plateau that nestles among the deep valleys of this part of the Drakensberg, offering some of the most breathtaking scenery.
Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve is home to the eland and bearded vulture, also known as bone eaters of the ‘berg. A drastic decline in this bird’s numbers means that an isolated population in the highlands of Lesotho and adjacent areas is all that remains of the bird, and birders try to time their visits with the vulture hide feeding season, from May to September.
The terrain in this beautiful part of the world is a sprinkling of clear mountain streams, bush-lined banks, wetlands, steep grassy slopes, sandstone cliffs and towering precipices and buttresses that have lured many a climber to Giant’s, as it is locally known. There are a number of hikes to choose from and they range from the rather severe hike to Bannerman Hut, to the more sedate Champagne Pools circular walk from Giant’s Castle main gate, which takes you to secluded pools for swimming and fishing.
Weather here is dicey and clouds and rain can roll in fast, in what feels like minutes, so warm clothes are an itinerary item at any time of the year. There is good access to Giant’s along gravel roads from Mooi River or from Escourt – both towns are on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.
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"As a family, we love being outdoors and we've been dying to come to this part of the world for a long time. Giants Castle was spectacular, to say the least. ..." - The Garish Family, Lower Hutt, NZ
Featured Attractions in (or near) Giants Castle
Bushmans Nek can be found in the southern region of Kwazulu Natal's Drakensberg. Reedbuk, Eland, Klipspringer, Grey Rhebok and Oribi are often spotted here as are Dassie, Porcupines and Rock Hyrax. The birdlife is also abundant and if you are lucky may cast your eyes upon the Black ... more information
The beautiful Drakensberg range or Dragon Mountains, also known in Zulu as uKhahlamba or barrier of spears, is a voluminous stretch of mountains that covers over 1 000 kilometres from south-west to north-east, lying mostly in KwaZulu-Natal. Collectively this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site... more information
You will find Coleford Nature Reserve near to the town of Underberg, south east of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Through its southern section flows the Ngwagwane River, one of its major features. But it also protects Drakensberg Foothill Moist Grassland ... more information
There aren’t that many things in South Africa that you can say are unique or world class, but the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir is one of them. Doors opened in 1965 to the first 20 pupils. The dream was of a multi-racial, multi-cultural Choir School to rival the Vienna Boys. Not in ... more information
In the southern foothills of the Drakensberg the Gardens Area might be, but the views from here of the towering peaks of the Dragon Mountains is pretty spectacular. This is the part of the Drakensberg that benefits from all the flowing rivers that gush down the sides of the mountains, making the valleys rich with rivers... more information
Historic Giant's Castle Game Reserve, home of the eland and the majestic bearded vulture, lies in the Central Drakensberg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. Giant's Castle camp is situated on a gassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the ... more information
The beautiful Highmoor Nature Reserve lies within the Mkhomazi Wilderness in the central section of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site. As its name suggests Highmoor is reached by a spectacularly winding road that reaches up towards Mount Lebanon and Cleopatra Mountain. It is ... more information
The Injisuthi Nature Reserve is a popular hotspot for those who love camping and hiking, as the camp grounds here are well equipped and idyllically situated. The amenities include hot water, ablution facilities and hutted accommodation, making it an ideal retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life ... more information
People are divided when it comes to delineating the Northern Drakensberg. There are those who speak of its borders as the Natal Drakensberg National Park in the north, down to Cathedral Peak in the south, whilst others extend its upper western reaches to include the Golden Gate... more information
The Oliviershoek Pass, on the R74 from Bergville, is often used as an alternative route to Van Reenen’s Pass. This happens when Van Reenan's Pass is closed off to motorists during bad weather, but you can also use it as a scenic alternative that might appear on the face it as a ... more information
Mooi River is well known for its hospitality and one of the tourist spots to visit is the Rhode House Museum. The museum comprises an old house, displaying various exhibits of local history, including activities of the area such as dairy farming, polo and Zulu beadwork. The house was formerly home to Edgar Rhode ... more information
Broadly speaking, the southern parts of the Drakensberg lie between Bushman's Nek to the south-east and Kamberg to the north-west, including the Bulwer Mountain and what are often described as the 'country' towns of Underberg and Himeville. This part of the world is described as ... more information
This sheer, four-kilometre-wide basalt cliff face, The Amphitheatre, is flanked by the Sentinel and the Eastern Buttress and is one of South Africa Drakensberg's most distinctive scenic attractions. The Tugela River plunges over the edge and plummets 2000 m in a series of sheer falls.
Lying really close to Pevensey in the southern reaches of the Drakensberg, the Swamp Nature Reserve is situated almost due west of Garden Castle Nature Reserve and, as its name suggests, it protects a huge highland swamp system. The highlands are formed by the Drakensberg / uKhahlamba and ... more information
The Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg is the highest waterfall in Africa. It is also regarded as the second highest waterfall in the world. There is, however, an ongoing debate that it could be the world's tallest waterfall, as opposed to Angel Falls in Venezuela. Even if it is universally acknowledged that ... more information
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of this world heritage site ... more information
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