About 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.

Did you know? Located in the Drakensberg, and part of the Tugela River, the Tugela falls are the world’s second highest waterfall and drop 950 meters in five cascades (also making the Tugela Falls the highest cascade of falls in the world). During the winter months, the upper Tugela Falls can freeze, forming ice pillars – a sight not often seen in sunny South Africa.

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.

Need to Know

WhereTugela Falls, Mont-Aux-Sources, Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Mont-aux-Sources Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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