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Drakensberg Northern Traverse - by www.drakensberghiker.co.za

A five day traverse of the northern section of South Africa's Drakensberg Mountains - rated as one of the top 10 hikes in the world by National Geographic!

Hiking Difficult

62 km
3.5 km
4.5 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.4 km
High Point
3.2 km
Drakensberg Northern Traverse - by www.drakensberghiker.co.za Map

The Sentinel to Cathedral Peak Northern Drakensberg Traverse is definitely our most popular hike in the Drakensberg.


Also known as the Mini Drakensberg Traverse, this hike starts at the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and finishes at the magnificent Cathedral Peak.

The Sentinel to Cathedral Peak Hike Northern Drakensberg Traverse is rated by National Geographic as one of the top 10 hikes in the world. Come and join us on this hike and you will see why. We certainly get to see some of the best mountain scenery that South Africa has to offer. I like to stay at Sterkfontein Dam the night before the hike which makes it only a 2-hour drive to the start at the Sentinal car park. On the night before the hike, we camp next to a beautiful dam while having a good old-fashioned South African BBQ (braai).

The first night of our hike is spent camping on top of the Amphitheatre. Our camp site is nice and close to the 2nd highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Falls. Here we are camping at 2950m above sea level. The Tugela Falls tumble down the huge Amphitheatre Wall for almost 1000m so you can imagine how wonderful the views are!

Over the next few days, we wander along the Drakensberg Escarpment Edge, where the views are best. By day 3 we arrive at one of my favorite places, just above Rockeries pass in the Mnweni area where all my porters live.

Additionally, tonight we camp near a huge Cape Vulture colony. This is a truly amazing place. As we get closer to our destination we have the opportunity to walk along the Bell Traverse and climb Cathedral Peak if we feel like it. The Bell Traverse does require a head for heights and some rope work. If we decide not to do this route we walk down Mlambonja Pass to camp near the river.

We’ll finish the hike at the Cathedral Peak Hotel and enjoy a final South African braai. And a couple of songs by my Zulu porters.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features