Monday, March 14, 2011

A hike to Mafadi, the highest peak in South Africa - February 2011

Sabine and Herbie on the summit. At 3450m, Mafadi is the highest peak in South Africa

Sabine and Herbier from Holland have done some interesting and serious treks in the Andes and Jordan, and were eager to experience the Drakensberg during their visit to South Africa in March. Not surprisingly they were fit and were up for a serious challenge.

Mafadi, at 3450m, is the highest peak in South Africa. It’s really just another round dome shared with Lesotho but it’s the getting there that makes it a fantastic hike. What it so special is the remoteness and the fact that getting there, is challenging. The 4-day trip starts at Injisuthi Camp, one of my favourite spots in the Berg. The elevation at that point is 1450m, 2000m below the peak. While there’s a lot of climbing which isn’t easy with a heavy pack the views are something else. I think you will find that the pictures speak for themselves.

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

The ever cheerful Sabine and Herbie - We had lots in common including our backpacks

Our first campsite by the Centenary Hut. It had been raining most of the night but it looked as though it could clear up for us.

And it did! A beautiful and promising day. Note the Centenary Hut.

Hesperantha baurii

Climbing up the steep Judges Pass

Although it's not a rock pass there's some easy scrambing involved

Half the way the pass the mist caught up with us.

Fortunately the westerly winds kept the escarpment clear of clouds

Huge anvil shape clouds developing over Natal

A classic sunrise from Injisuthi Summit Cave

Herbie posing for the camera

Injisuthi Summit Cave used to be one of the most valued caves in the High Berg. Unfortunately, the Basotho have been keeping it a bit untidy lately.It needs a little TLC.

Sabine enjoying the first beams of sunlight of the day.

Mafadi was our main goal on our third day. Here Herbie starting the ascent shortly after leaving the cave

And here we go! top of Mafadi, at 3450m the highest point in South Africa. 2000m above Injisuthi Camp from where we started 3 days before.

The wind was quite intense that morning. Here we found a perfect spot out of the wind where to recharge our energy levels.

In summer the Basotho bring their animals in the upper reaches of the escarpment: sheep, goats, horses and cows are a common sight.

The Basotho shephers are always accompanied by their loyal dogs

Another group of young Basotho shephers. This is the cultural element of any hike in the High Berg.

A thin layer of clouds prevented us from seeing the finest views that you can usually enjoy during this hike. Here just before the start of our descent of Leslie's Pass.

A few hundred metres afterwards we would be under the clouds and could enjoy maginificent views of the Injisuthi Valley

Leslie's Pass is long but not difficult.  You have to take it easy on some sections of loose rocks.

The Injisuthi Valley. Still a long way to the bottom.

We were dwarfed by the basalt faces above us

The top of the pass was visible at times.

At the bottom of the pass there's a great camping spot with room for  a few tents.

A glorious morning. At last we could enjoy perfect views of the escarpment. Leslie's pass was clearly visible. IT was quite amazing to realise we had walked down there.

A dassie, also known as rock rabbit, but nothing to do with a rabbit

Marble baths is one of the most  popular spots in the Injisuthi area. Luckily was in our way.

The water has carved beautiful water slides in the Clarens Sandstone

A real treat after all the hard work of the previous days

Miss Drakensberg.

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