KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsThe Tugela Falls
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 Angel Falls is the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall.
Where? Tugela Falls, Mont-Aux-Sources, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal
When? Best during daylight hours
You will find the source of the Tugela Falls, also known as Thukela Falls (meaning 'sudden' or 'startling'), at Mont-aux-Sources, the highest peak on a plateau of the Royal Natal National Park. Place of sources (mont-aux-sources) is also where another two major rivers originate – the Elands and Caledon rivers.
The Tugela Falls do not simply fall in one sheet. At its initial stages the river makes five consecutive leaps down the amphitheater wall, high up in the Drakensberg Mountains. But its fall is not consistent and it is best seen after rain. When it is exceptionally cold, the upper Tugela Falls can even sometimes freeze, forming pillars of ice.
There are numerous ways to the Falls. The Sentinel trail takes you to the top of Mont Aux Sources and is 6.4km taking one 518m up the mountain. It's a hard slog. The other route follows the Tugela River upstream through the Tugela Gorge and is 7km. The gradient though is a little more manageable. There is also a third, quicker route via a series of chain ladders (although not for those frightened of heights).
The Amphitheatre Slackacking Trail gets those of 'average' fitness up to the summit to view the falls. Spending three days and three nights on the route, overnighting in lodges along the way, the trail covers roughly 10km a day.