Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

About The Mini Traverse

Start: Sentinel car park
Finish: Cathedral Peak Hotel
Duration: 100 km, 5 – 6 days
Fitness: difficult
Our tip: It is best to do this hike with the professionals; a couple of outfits supply a guided route along the traverse of the Drakensberg.

The Mini Traverse might be the little sister of the Grand Traverse (220 km from the Sentinel car park all the way to Bushman's Nek border post), but you still clock up 100 km over five or six days, so it is not for sissies.

Day one: Sentinel car park – Ifidi Pass; 13 km, roughly 7 hours
The hike begins at the Sentinel car park from where you climb to the top of the Amphitheatre, taking the chain ladder route via the Tugela falls towards Devil's Tooth or, if you are frightened of heights, the Beacon Buttress gully is a good alternative. Depending on which guided tour you use, you could overnight either on the Ifidi or Ifici Pass.

Day two: Ifidi Pass – Fang Pass; 13 km, roughly 7 hours
The trail is now in the Mnweni valley, touted as the most wild and dramatic parts of the Drakensberg. You hug the escarpment as much as possible (taking into account the series of cutbacks and gorges that necessitate detours) learning in the process that the escarpment is far from flat and is, in fact, a series of valleys and ridges. Camp at Fang Pass.

Day three: Fang Pass – Ledger's Cave; 14 km, roughly 8 hours
Mnweni Pinnacles, Hanging Valleys, Twelve Apostles, Mnweni Needles, Mponjwane – a series of rugged peaks and landmarks are the highlights of the day, with an overnight at Ledger's Cave right on the edge of the cliffs.

Day four: Ledger's Cave – Twins Cave; 18 km, roughly 9 hours
A long day over beautiful terrain with a few ridiculous gorges and equally incredible scenery. One begins to glimpse the Cathedral Peak range whilst hiking around the Saddle and arriving at Mlabonja Pass (the way off the escarpment).

Day five: Twins Cave – Cathedral Peak Hotel; 14.5km, roughly 8 hours
The last day trails the Bell Traverse, an exciting but imposing trail with a surprise at every corner, and a final plunge down Bugger's gully before arriving at the hotel.

Contact: Spanafrican Adventures, GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, The School or Mountain Leadership or Soul Adventures

Need to Know

WhereStart at the Sentinel Car Park, Drakensberg

WhenBooking is essential. We recommend Spanafrican Adventures, GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, The School of Mountain Leadership or Soul Adventures.

How muchPrices on request.

OvernightThe closest town is Cathedral Peak, in KwaZulu Natal

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