Royal Natal National Park Travel Guide

  • View of the rim from below
    View of the rim from below
    by mtncorg
  • West of the Chains, the Escarpment extends
    West of the Chains, the Escarpment...
    by mtncorg
  • Looking down on car park from base of Sentinel
    Looking down on car park from base of...
    by mtncorg

Royal Natal National Park Things to Do

  • Visit the Bushman Paintings

    It takes about 30-40 minutes to walk up to the Bushman paintings in Sigubudu Valley, a round trip of an hour or a little over without counting the time taken to look at the paintings (6km). Royal Natal has trained people from the local village who act as guides and can explain the origin of the paintings and also point out some fossils embedded in...

  • Walk the Crack and the Mudslide

    This is a fairly hectic hike, with a pretty decent (vertical) uphill including some ladders and then a scramble downhill, also including some ladders. The view from the top of Plowman's Kop is beautiful and very satisfying, and on the way down, we saw a wonderful camel shadow of the mountains (see my pics). The Mudslide is true to its name in wet...

  • Climb to the source of Thukela Falls

    A day's walk can get you to the top of the 4km-long Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg. A snakepath up the mountain, past the Sentinel (3165m) and the Eastern Buttress (3047m) takes you to the only vertical section of the walk, the chain ladder (see picture). Actually there are 2 ladders - you can swing from one to take photos of people ascending the...


    There are several points along the Drakensberg Escarpment where the adjective ‘magical’ could apply. Here, atop the rim of the Amphitheatre is one such place. Pictures do not do proper justice to the natural majesty. The rim is best seen at sunrise when, if you are lucky, the lower bowl is ensconced in a sea of clouds. Add the barking of a baboon...


    Coming off the Amphitheatre Rim, Thukela Falls is the second or third highest falls in the World - only Angel and possibly Yosemite are higher. The falls is at its maximum during the summer rains when it can be visible as far away as the Amphitheatre Backpackers Hostel on highway N74 near Bergville. If it has not been raining, however, the falls is...


    The Sentinel stands at the right hand side of the Amphitheatre, dominating the views from approaches from that direction. At 3165 meters high, the Sentinel is the highest free-standing peak in the local vicinity - slightly over 100 meters higher than its bookend on the other end of the Amphitheatre, the Eastern Buttress. The main trail to the top...


    The chain ladder dates back to 1930 when local pioneer, Otto Zunckel (the same man responsible for the construction of the Patrol Cabin), installed the 200 rung ladders which take you to the top of the Escarpment. Two sets of ladders were originally in place covering some 30 meters of cliff. Two newer sets of ladders were added after sometime in...


    Slightly over 6 kilometers takes you from the car park just below the Tendele Hutted Camp to directly to the base of the soaring walls of the Amphitheatre. The hike is fairly easy - you gain about 1600 feet - passing through protea grasslands and small pockets of forest (officially ‘afromontane forest’). Eventually, the canyon walls come ever...

  • Rich and Poor - disappearing barriers

    Although 'Apartheid' (meaning 'separateness') may be a distant memory, the economics of South Africa still have to catch up with the politics. It is fair to say that much of the money is still in the hands of the white population and many blacks still live in the townships (above photo taken in Orange Freestate), some in slum settlements. This is...


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