Giants Castle - accommodation and hiking trails

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Central Drakensberg Hiking Trails

Champagne Valley Hiking Trails

central drakensberg hiking trailsBlue Grotto: This is a great 3 hour  moderate walk through an indigenous forest onto a magnificent grotto with waterfall and pool. The hike starts from in front of the Drakensberg Sun Time Share Units past the Time share swimming pool. It is a well trodden path  very suitable for the novice hiker but nevertheless offering one of the most magnificient routes in the area.

Van Dames Cascades via the blue grotto: 5 Hour fairly strenuous.. Follow the blue grotto route and just before the Blue Grotto take the steep path to the left. You will wind upwards to a plateau and then the path will veer right and you will then reach the fence of the World Heritage Site. Go through the access point and wind upwards for a very steep and strenuous climb. When reaching the top take the right path to Van Damms Cascades . The Path goes onto  Jacobs Ladder ( not a ladder but a winding steep path)and the top of the Little Berg . The Left path can also be taken for to the Steilberg access route where when reaching the Steilberg path, you will have the option of turning left  to the top of the Bergview cottages and back to  Drak Sun, or carrying on straight to Monks Cowl gate ( a long walk) or going up the Steilberg  to the top of the Little Berg.

Wonder Valley: Five hours + moderate.   This secluded and beautiful valley lies on the southern side of the Champagne  Valley and is accessed from the R 600 either starting at the road bend  just below Champagne Castle Hotel or just above the S Bends slightly above Falcon Ridge. This is private property although access is allowed to the public. If starting from Champagne Castle area follow the path from the top of the bend in the road  and follow the contour  footpath  along the Heritage Site fence. After a long walk you will reach the valley and you will see one or 2 secluded cottages.

Heritage Walk: This easy  3 hour round walk  starts at “The Oaks” Supermarket in Dragon Peaks Park and can also be accessed from the other properties in the area. However it does pass through private property and does enter the World Heritage Site so entrance fees must be paid and you must be accompanied by an approved guide. Walks generally commence most days at 9.00 am from the Oaks Supermarket. The walk goes up the Sterkspruit River on into Bush Reserve No 1 which is part of the World Heritage Site. Here you can see a 600 year old Yellow Wood tree and see the saw pits used by the early loggers. Mooney’s  pool is a nice stop off place with a small pool with cascading water . The guide will then take you on to  Dingaan’s Cave where you can view some good examples of bushman rock art.

Cleo’s Pool:This is best approached from the top of Berghaven  cottages although it can also be accessed from the Heritage Walk route detailed above. Take the well marked path from the top of Bergview moving southwards into the valley. The path is very steep and you will eventually reach a stream and Cleo’s pool. There is a small cave next to the stream which  has an interesting burial site in the right side of the cave.  The burial chamber was upright to cater for a body in a seated position and the  remains of a bushman type person  were removed for research purposes in the middle of the last Century but the stones of the grave can still be seen.

Monks Cowl Hiking Trails

central drakensberg hiking trailsSterkspruit Falls: This moderate walk starts at the Monks Cowl entrance . Take the well marked path down to the falls. 1 to 2 hours.
Robin Hood forest on to Crystal Falls. Take The Sphinx path. After a short walk you will come to the turn off the forest and the fern forest. The Sphinx path continues on to Crystal Falls. 2 to 3 hours.

Round Trip to Sterkspruit Falls, onto Nandies Falls and Back to the Entrance. 3 to 4 hours.  Take the path to Sterkspruit falls. Before the falls turn up the river and follow the signs to Nandies Falls. Spend some time at the rock pools on the way.

The Sphinx and onto  Breakfast stream back via Kirtland’s Pass.  Moderate to Strenuous. + 6hours. This oft walked path takes you on to the top of the Little Berg ( Breakfast Stream) . If you like you can then go on to Blind Mans corner and the contour path. However unless you want to access the contour path for further hikes there is no point in going all the way to the contour path and a preferred  option would be to turn off right  before Blind Mans Corner and return via Kirtland’s Pass. This less  used path offers a real wilderness experience winding down through a secluded valley.


Giants Castle Hiking Trails

central drakensberg hiking trailsWorld's view From the picnic area take the concrete path down to and across Bannerman Bridge. Follow the path to below Sugarloaf Kop and on up to World's View. A moderate 3 hrs hike (7km)

Bannerman Hut A long hike from the Giant's Camp northwest along a clear path, with an early start it is easy to make the hut by mid-morning. The hut must be booked through KZN Nature Conservation Service.

Berg view a short hike from the Giant's Castle Camp to a popular viewpoint, offering one of the best views of the escarpment, ranging from Giant's Castle to Cathkin Peak. A fair 2 hrs hike (5km)

Centenary Hut Injasuti. Follow the path Pastfergy's Cave for 4kms t centenary of the contour path. A severe 5 hrs hike (10 km).

Champagne Pools a circular walk starting 1km from Giant's Castle main gate. Secluded pools for swimming and fishing. An easy hike (4kms - 1.5 hrs)

Giant's Castle Pass The hike begins at Giant's Castle Camp and continues up to the top of the little Berg, up the very steep Giant's Pass. Not for the inexperienced. An extreme 4 hrs or 6km hike (from Giants Hut)

central drakensberg hikingtrailsGiant's Hut via Oribi Ridge An alternative route to Giant's Hut just south of the two Dassies stream route. It starts at the main Giant's Castle Camp, climbing steadily to the hut, which must be booked. A severe 4 hrs hike (10.5km)

Grysbok Bush This hike, starting at Giant's Castle main camp, takes you up the Bushman's River to the largest forest in the Giant's Castle area.

Langalibalele Pass Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle Camp past the main caves. The path is consistently steep although the pass itself is one of the easiest and shortest in the berg. Follow the path from the main Giant's Castle camp past the main caves. A severe 3 hrs 30 min hike (6.5km)

Main Caves This hike leads from the camp, along the river near the edge of a forest, up to the large caves, which are crucial archaeological sites and have been turned into a museum showing the Bushman's way of life. Tours are conducted throughout the year at set times in the company of a field ranger. An easy 40min hike

Meander Hut There are two ways to get to this hut, which overlooks the Meander Stream from its perch on top of the cliffs of the Little Berg. The hut accommodates four people and it must be booked. A fair hike. (5.5kms - 2hrs)

River Walk this pleasant stroll has no specific destination and can join the forest walk for a most enjoyable ramble. An easy 1.5kms - 30mins hike

Injasuti Hiking Trails

Injasuti hiking trails hiking trailsBattle Cave to Injasuti Cave This is a guided tour of the battle cave where a pictorial display of bushman life In this valley complete with a taped guide to the paintings are seen. One can stay for a night at the Lower Injasuti Cave, but bookings must be made in advance for both this and the Battle Cave tour. Trout fishing, hiking, swimming, curios, charcoal, maps. A moderate 4 hrs hike (8.5km)

Grindstone Caves and Cataract Valley This hike begins at Injasuti camp and follows a circular route via Grindstone Caves, the waterfalls and Cataract Valley. The path follows the Mhlwazini River back to the camp. A moderate 4 hrs hike (13km)

Marble Baths From Injisuthi Camp follow the route to Fergy's Cave but take he right fork along the Injisuthi River approximately 4kms from the start. You can overnight at the Marble Baths Cave. A moderate hike. (8.5kms - 6hrs)

Old Kraal and Yellowwood Forest This is a short walk in the vicinity of the camp. From the office at Injasuti take the Cowl Stream fork. At the top of the incline turn left to the walls of the old kraal. And shortly after that left again to the old woman stream. After crossing the river turn left and follow the path back to camp. An easy 1 hr hike (2.5km)

Spare Rib Cave Injasuti. Proceed up Bannerman Pass from Bannerman Hut. The cave is near the top of the escarpment on the left hand side. A severe 2 hrs hike (3kms)

Van Heyningen's Pass to View Point This will serve as a hikers' orientation with the surrounding landscapes and major peaks. A moderate 3 hrs hike (8km)

Wildebeest Plateau This hike is perfect for a day's outing with opportunities to relax and swim, and to observe the surroundings at leisure. A moderate 6 hrs hike (18km)

Great accommodation options for these local hiking trails

antbear Guest HouseAntbear Guest House - Indeed a special find. One of those places you wished you would have stayed longer where the accommodation, view, location, service and food are just perfect. This is the nearest private accommodation option near to Giants Castle and also offers one of the best deals available.

Giants Castle CampGiants Castle Camp - The upside is that you are inside Giants Castle Nature Reserve. The downside is that you are inside Giants Castle Nature Reserve. You are as close as you can be to starting the hiking trails but far from any of the other attractions available. And the gate opening and closing times make early starts and doing anything after sunset an impossibility. If you do decide to stay here opt for the self catering option and make sure you bring your own food with you. Giants Castle camp offers self catering and has a restaurant.

Drakensberg luxury cave lodgeDrakensberg Luxury cave lodge Experience something different and stay in the only fully catered luxury cave in the Drakensberg Mountains. And the luxury cave comes with a few special romantic options like a jacuzzi spa bath and fireplace both in the bedroom. Whats more it opens onto a deck with hammock chairs and a panoramic view not often experienced.

ardmore guest farmArdmore Guest Farm - While this guest house is a little further away in the Champagne Valley it still a great option to stay when you visit Giants Castle. Also centrally situated this guest house makes for a special few days in the Drakensberg. Ardmore is especially suited to families with units that can accommodate 6 persons.

wild berry guest farm Wild Berry Guest Farm - A simple B&B situated on the Mooi River / Giants Castle road They only provide breakfast and there are not to many good options where dinner is easily available. So cook your own dinner when you stay at Wild Berry Guest Farm

glengarry self catering challets Glengarry - Lovely self catering accommodation in the Kamberg Valley. Situated right on the Little Mooi River this self catering resort offers trout fishing and a nine hole golf course. The self catering accommodation is in thatched units.

Cleopatra Mountain Farm House Cleopatra Mountain Farm House - Prepare for some of the most fantastic food you will ever eat. This farm house offers high class fine dining near to Highmoor Nature Reserve. The rates are a pit on the pricy end of the scale but hey you only ever live once. Especially if you are one of those foodie types

Kamberg self catering campKamberg Nature Reserve - Simple self catering challets in the Kamberg Valley. Make sure you bring your own food as there is little available nearby. Kamberg suffers the same issues as Giants Casle Camp with gate opening times that make staying here sometimes inconvient. But if all you want to do is stay in one place I cant imagine many better accommodation options.

injasuti campInjasuti Nature Reserve- This is one of the best camp site gems thats available in the Drakensberg. There are also a few self catering challets which are in need of repair and a chronic revamp.