Northern Drakensberg, Drakensberg

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 Highlands National Park, across the Free State border.

What they do agree on, is that the Northern Drakensberg includes the famous Amphitheatre, one of the most prominent features of the Dragon Mountains and certainly one of the most impressive in the world. This sheer cliff face, which forms part of the Royal Natal National Park, is probably the most photographed portion of the 'berg.

Certainly, the famous wall of rock that is the sheer face of the Amphitheatre is what graces the pages of most tourist guides. From here the Tugela Falls cascade some 950 metres in a series of waterfalls down its face.

Interestingly it takes one only about five hours to scale this face and return to the start at the Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek but it is not for the feint hearted (there are a series of precarious chain ladders involved) and you need to be fit in order to benefit from the incredible views at the top. The Amphitheatre stretches for five kilometres in length and its cliffs rise some 1 220 metres along the entire length.

Other famous peaks in the Northern Drakensberg, which is obviously filled with a series of challenging hikes as a consequence, include the Inner Tower and Devils Tooth, and the Tugela Falls Gorge Walk, a relatively flat walk, is very popular.

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