About Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area

A little west of the twin villages of Himeville and Underberg, on the border with Lesotho, lies the southernmost part of the Drakensberg and the Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area.

Did you know? Although the mountains in this area are not as high, or as spectacular is those in the north, they are still rather imposing because the valleys are lower.

Whilst the basalt rock formations that make up this incredible mountain range that is now part of a World Heritage Site do not reach as high in the south as they do in the northern reaches, they still appear to do so because of the low-lying valleys that dominate this region.

By comparison with the nothern parts of the Drakensberg, the Mzimkhulu is an oasis of serenity. It extends north to south from Sani Pass to Griqualand East, and is bordered by the Mzimkhulwana Nature Reserve – a series of rivers, streams, valleys and sandstone formations.

One of the most prominent peaks in the Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area, although it is regarded more as a rock formation or a buttress than a peak, is The Rhino, which juts out from the escarpment for some two kilometres and is a feature of the southern Drakensberg. One can reach the peak along a path from the Garden Castle office (Garden Castle Nature Reserve lies west of the Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area) along the Mlambonja river.

Possibly the highlight of the hike is that after only 2 kilometres one reaches Pillar Cave. After this the path climbs, particularly the last 44 metres over the final 1.5 kilometres along the Mashai Pass. But it is worth the effort as the escarpment takes you to Rhino Peak, which is not difficult to climb.

More taxing are the Mlambonja, Wilson's, Walker's, Mashai and Thaba-Ngwangwe peaks, all over 3 000 metres, and there is also the popular Giant's Cup Hiking trail, which winds between Sani Pass and Bushman's Nek parallel to the escarpment.

Need to Know

WhereMzimkhulu Wilderness, Southern Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Drakensberg Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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