Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A 3 day hike in the Cathedral Peak Area - December 2011

The long steep climb to Cleft Peak

Sue and Roger are ones of the many South Africans living in the UK. Christmas is always a good time to come back home for a family holiday, recharge and take a break from the long, cold, rainy English winter. For them, a few days hiking in the Drakensberg at the start of their holiday was the quickest way to switch off from the busy city life.

If you would like to do this hike contact us at or have a look at our website for other exciting options.

A little scrambling right at the start of the hike: "where the heck are we going?"

Sue replenishing her salts with chips, a must-have snack when hiking.

As the day progressed the usual summer afternoon thunderstorms developed

We were surrounded by localised storms but somehow we were never caught.

Following the long ridge towards Organ Pipes Pass, far in the distance.

Once you get to the base of the basalt cliffs the path levels off...

...until we reach the grassy slope leading to the top of the pass, clearly visible in the background.

At our idyllic campsite with all the cooking paraphernalia. (I look like I’m dancing or something)

The following morning the day started with a long steep climb to Cleft Peak. We quickly took most of our layers off. The weather conditions were perfect: cool and windless.

On Cleft Peak summit. We got as close as we could to the edge of the escarpment to admire the great views below and around us, from Cathkin Peak to Eastern Buttress.

At 3280m, 1800m higher than our starting point, we really felt like we have come a long way.

Right above the cleft. I couldn’t go a step further.  What a great shot!

Looking north: the Column and the Pyramid in the foreground, the Cathedral Peak Range in the middle ground and Eastern Buttress right at the back. 

A few hundred meters away from Twins cave, somewhere on the left hand side, overlooking Mlabonja Pass.

Early the following morning, before the start of our descent. 

Looking back to where we were coming from. Twins Cave is on the other side of the saddle.

Looking down the Mlabonja Pass.

Any downhill is easier if you use hiking poles.

All the passes in the Drakensberg are very steep and, when going down, care must be taken to avoid injuries.

The strong thick grass is great for support and balance.

It was a very hot day but fortunately we were walking right by the Mlabonja River, its clear crystal waters more appealing than ever.

During the last kilometres of our hike, now on easier terrain, we would often look back with wonder at the mountains we had been privileged to enjoy.


  1. Done it 10 years ago, the Drakensberg is a stunning range, thx for sharing pictures to revive my wonderful memories!

  2. There is nothing quite as good as waking up super early on top of the Drakensberg overlooking every cloud and the major peaks into the far distant. This all with great fellow hikers and friends in God's high gardens!