Giants Castle - accommodation and hiking trails

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Champagne Castle

The Champagne Castle area in the Central Drakensberg is dominated by Cathin Peak, the Drakensberg 's most prominent feature

champagne castle  - Central DrakensbergThe Champagne Castle area in the Central Drakensberg is dominated by Cathin Peak, the Drakensberg 's most prominent feature. Although not the highest peak in the range, it stands guard over the glorious Cathkin Valley, which boasts more resorts than any other region of the Drakensberg. Champagne Castle is a truly unique hikers, backpackers and tourist paradise

In the 1860s David Gray, a Scot who gave English names to most of the peaks in the area, climbed Cathkin Peak together with Captain Grantham, a Royal Engineer. They took along a bottle of champagne to enjoy once they reached the summit. The climb was heavy and two-thirds up they quit, and decided to have the champagne. The bottle was half empty and as they took turns to carry the haversack, they blamed one another for snatching sips. The settled the matter by deciding to blame the mountain, and renamed Cathkin Peak as Champagne Castle. For decades the peak had two conflicting names. The matter was eventually settled by surveyors who called another then unnamed Champagne Castle, and retained Cathkin Peak for the original peak.

Champagne Castle- Hiking Trails

Champagne Castle Via Grays Pass
An extreme 19 hrs hike (19 kms)
The trail goes up the Mhlwazini Valley, between Champagne Castle and Dragons Back on the right and Monks Cowl on the left, with views so dramatic that if the path doesnt take your breath away, the scenery surely will.

Contour Path- Monks Cowl to Injasuti below Champagne castle
A moderate 9 hrs hike (21 kms)
This hike is the longest, hardest and least used of three possible routes between Monks Cowl and Injasuti Camp. The most commonly used path is the Van Heynigens Pass & Shada Ridge.

Crystal Falls and Sphinx
A fair 1 hr 20 mins hike (3 kms)
The path leads south then west across to the Sphinx and further to Breakfast Stream. This hike is the beginning section of all hikes radiating from the Monks Cowl KZN Wildlife office

Fern Forest
An easy 30 minutes (1 kms)
This is a short walk along a forested stream to a waterfall and a picnic spot.

Mhlwazini Valley Trail
A severe 9 hrs hike (24 kms)
From the Monks Cowl Camp Site the route ascends the sphinx, and contours around the top of the Hlatikulu Forest. From there is heads down into the Mhlwazini Valley and along the river.

Sterkspruit Falls and Gorge
A moderate - severe 6 hrs hike (15 kms)
This is a pleasant outing involving some boulder hopping and river crossings. Start at Monks Cowl Campsite following the Serkspruit River into the gorge. The return route is further south, running eastwards across the little berg, down to the Sphinx and Loops down to the campsite. Long and severe.