Things To Do in Monks CowlMafadi Peak Hiking Trails
Where? Injisuthi Nature Reserve, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal
How? Call +27 (0)33 845-1999
How much? Price on request
Start: Injasuthi (also spelled Injisuthi), Central Drakensberg
Finish: Injasuthi, Central Drakensberg
Duration: 4 – 5 days
Our tip: you will need to be accustomed to carrying a heavy backpack and have at least a medium level of fitness to attempt this hike
Mafadi is officially the highest mountain peak in South Africa. It juts out 3 451 metres above sea level on the border with Lesotho, rising behind what is known as the Injasuthi Triplets.
In Zulu Mafadi mountain is known as the 'satisfied dog', which probably goes a long way to describe the way one feels when finally on the summit.
Most hikers attempt to summit the mountain from Injasuthi camp. And most hikers take a circular route to the top and back down again. Although not all of them follow exactly the same route, they all use Leslie's Pass, usually on the descent.
The Corner-Leslie's Loop is one of the more favoured routes, hiking up to Centenary Hut in Injasuthi, scaling Corner Pass to overnight in the upper Injasuthi cave, before climbing Mafadi, and descending via Leslie's Pass on the third, to reach Injasuthi again on day four.
An alternative route is to head for Centennial Hut, taking in San art in caves en route, ascend via Judges Pass up onto the escarpment to overnight in the upper Injasuthi cave. The following day ascend Mafadi, descending via Leslie's Pass to Marble Bath Cave.
All hikers agree that the descent is probably the most hairy part of the hike. Whilst the continuous slog of the ascent is very difficult, Leslie's Pass descends 1200 metres over 3 kilometres.
A third route does it in reverse – hiking up to Marble Baths cave (there is a fantastic natural swimming pool here, hence its name) and then ascending Leslie's Pass the following day. From there one summits Mafadi, before dropping down to overnight at Upper Injasuthi, descending to overnight in Centenary hut and then back down through the Injasuthi valley.