KwaZulu Natal DestinationsMonks Cowl, Drakensberg
Monk’s Cowl is named after the distinctive mountain in the shape of a monk’s hood that lies between Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak in the central Drakensberg. The peak marks the access point to the Mlambonja and Mdedeleo Mountain wilderness areas - some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in South Africa.
This part of the world is riddled with wonderful mountain trails that meander through scenery that alternates between deep valleys and forests, waterfalls and steep plateaus. Hiking routes vary from those that take only a couple of hours to hikes that extend over several days - facilitating all levels of fitness.
Lying between Cathkin Peak and the escarpment, Monk’s Cowl is probably one of the most difficult climbs in the ‘berg and high on hikers’ lists of ‘must do’s’. Elusive not only to those of us not fit enough to climb her, Monk’s Cowl is apparently visible only south and north of the Champagne Valley, but not from the valley itself.
This part of the world is also home to the notorious Ship’s Prow pass, the southern fork of which is the highest summit in the Drakensberg at 3 300 metres, and Monk’s Cowl Nature Conservancy found at the end of the Champagne Valley.
The central Drakensberg is also the base, when at home, of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, founded in 1967, which has accommodated the world-wide shift in choral music to create a unique style of their own, managing to interpret Bach and Beethoven along with the likes of Queen and African jazz.