Underberg, Drakensberg

About McKenzie's Caves Hike

Start: Mkhomzi Nature Reserve car park
Finish: Mkhomzi Nature Reserve car park
Duration: 11km (roughly 20 km return)
Fitness: moderate
Our tip: sign the register if hiking overnight, and reserve the cave ahead of time

The upside of this hike is that McKenzie's caves are relatively close to the car park from where you begin hiking. The downside: it is an almost immediate and relentless uphill slog to reach them.

Actually Mckenzie's caves are a couple of caves that lie close to one another, although they are very different.

The cave that lies to the east is nothing more than a narrow, shallow gorge, with no view to speak of. However, it lies close to a good supply of water and, if there is bad weather, will provide a far better overnight sleep than the main cave.

The main cave is rather more comfortable, the scenery is unique with unlimited views of the escarpment, and it sleeps bigger parties – up to 12 at a time. But the overhang, although substantial, is very exposed to driving wind and rain.

What makes the main cave so much more comfortable is that the floor is smooth with lovely 'terraces' that provide different levels on which to sleep, and comfortable seating for cooking.

What is more, the area in front of the cave is lawn and there is a small stream about 50 metres below the cave (not such a bonus in winter, as it dries up).

The icing on the cake is that in good weather, a large hiking party can distribute itself across both caves.

Take extra water for the hike up to the cave if it is a hot day, as the uphill requires rather more exertion than one bargains for and there are only two spots on the hike at which one can get water before reaching the cave.

It is one of few hikes in the reserve marked by white arrows on rocks (provided they are still visible).

Return via Cyprus Cave for rock art.

Need to Know

WhereStart and finish in the Mkhomzi Nature Reserve car park in the Drakensberg.

WhenDaylight hours.

How muchPrices on request.

OvernightThe closest town is Underberg, in KwaZulu Natal

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