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Maloti-Drakensberg Park

Maloti-Drakensberg Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

1. From Underberg: Sani Pass Day Tour

The Sani Pass is regarded by some as having the most spectacular views in South Africa. Originally a bridle path, it has become a ‘bucket list’ experience that is not to be missed. Walls of sandstone, cascading rivers, and hair-raising bends are just some of the highlights as your 4x4 vehicle takes you through the Barrier of Spears and into the Kingdom of Lesotho.  Visit a living Basotho village and meet its people for a true cultural experience. The highest pub in Africa welcomes you with a hearty lunch and refreshments before your journey back down the pass to Underberg. 

From Durban: Sani Pass and Lesotho by 4WD Vehicle

2. From Durban: Sani Pass and Lesotho by 4WD Vehicle

Benefit from pickup at a location of your choice in Durban, and then make your way to the historic city of Pietermaritzburg, capital of KwaZulu Natal. Take a short sightseeing tour to see the statue of Mahatma Gandhi by City Hall. Then, venture into the Drakensberg Mountains on the amazing Sani Pass into Lesotho. Travel along the 33-kilometer gravel road that straddles the sheer cliffs in a series of tight zig-zag curves. Marvel at the dramatic landscape as you head from the Sani Pass Hotel, 1,566 meters above sea level. Be amazed as your 4WD Land Rover navigates the narrow road across the border post with Lesotho. Get spectacular views of the rolling hills and endless sky. Reach the top of the Sani Pass, 3,240 meters above sea level. Enjoy a hot lunch at the highest pub in Africa, and then meet the native Basotho people in a local village to learn about their everyday lives. Make your way back down the mountain to cross the boarder back into South Africa.

Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

3. Drakensberg Giants Castle Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site

The tour starts off with a visit to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. Stop at Pietermaritzburg's City Hall, which claims to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Visit the Gandhi statue also before heading towards the Drakensberg mountains and Giants Castle Reserve. Giant's Castle is situated on a grassy plateau among the deep valleys running down from the face of the High Drakensberg, offering glorious views. At Giants Castle reserve, there is a large sandstone cave containing prehistoric San rock art. The San and Khoekhoe people were hunters and gatherers who roamed South Africa for thousands of years. This cave is one of the biggest and best-preserved painted sites in southern Africa. This cave is an easy 30 minutes’ walk from the camp office and regular guided tours are taken through this unique exhibition. A visit to Giant's Castle offers the privilege of entering the world of the San as well as the opportunity to study a varied and exciting range of habitats. From there, head to the small town of Howick and visit its waterfall. Howick Falls is approximately 95m in height and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means "Place of the Tall One".   Then visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Statue and Apartheid Museum. The Nelson Mandela sculpture comprises of 50 steel column constructions, each between 6.5m and 9.5m tall, set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site leads you down a path towards the sculpture where, at 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus. The 50 linear vertical units, line up to create the illusion of a flat image. The museum is dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and his struggle against Apartheid. After the tour, head back to Durban by late afternoon.

Drakensberg Kamberg Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site Day Tour

4. Drakensberg Kamberg Cave Art & Mandela Capture Site Day Tour

Your tour starts off with a visit to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. There you will stop at Pietermaritzburg's City Hall, which claims to be the largest brick building in the southern hemisphere. Visit the Gandhi statue before heading towards the Drakensberg mountains. Your main stop is Kamberg Nature Reserve which forms part of the Maloti- Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and is situated centrally in the foothills of the mountains. The reserve was proclaimed in 1951 and is 6,300 ha in extent. This reserve is particularly scenic, with many walks throughout the area. The natural landscape has many rock shelters, containing San rock paintings. These were created by the San people over a period of at least 4,000 years. The rock paintings are outstanding in quality and diversity representing the spiritual life of the San people who no longer live in the region. From there, head to the small town of Howick and visit its waterfall. Howick Falls is approximately 95m high and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means "Place of the Tall One".   We visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Statue and Apartheid Museum. The Nelson Mandela sculpture comprises of 50 steel column constructions – each between 6.5m and 9.5m tall – set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site leads you down a path towards the sculpture where, at 35 meters, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus. The 50 linear vertical units, line up to create the illusion of a flat image. The museum is dedicated to Nelson Mandela’s life and his struggle against Apartheid.

Drakensberg World Heritage Tour

5. Drakensberg World Heritage Tour

The Bushman cave paintings are almost as old as humanity itself. They date back 2,000 years and are a fascinating look into the history and culture of the Bushmen or San people of South Africa. This full-day sightseeing heritage tour goes through the Drakensberg mountain range, a full 3-kilometer round trip hike. The cave paintings can be seen in the World Heritage Site Giant’s Castle. After the hike enjoy a hearty, well-earned lunch, which is included in the tour. On the return to Durban, visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, a significant monument that marks an important moment in South African history. Today it is commemorated as a world-class sculpture, in memory of Nelson Mandela and his heroic role in the struggle against apartheid.

From Durban: Sani Pass Trail Day Tour

6. From Durban: Sani Pass Trail Day Tour

From the bustling City of Durban, Tour to Lesotho – “Kingdom in the Sky” The Sani Pass tour into Lesotho from Durban gives you the opportunity to experience an adventure of a lifetime – a comfortable and exciting journey up this famous pass. Starting off in Durban, our tour heads up through the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, to the picturesque town of Underberg, where the real adventure begins. Our luxury Sani Pass tour snakes up the mountain and takes you through a scenic valley along a crystal clear river, making for a breath-taking experience. Your personal Tour Guide will fill you in on all you can learn about the history of the pass and the surrounding area. Feast your eyes on the natural landscape that is dotted with many species of wildflowers, creating splashes of vibrant colors. The road itself is rough which is why only 4×4 vehicles are allowed to traverse it, but because of this and the hairpin bends, you are in for a fun and heart-racing trip. Once you reach the top your senses will be filled beyond your wildest dreams – breathe in the fresh mountain air, drink in the sweeping vistas that are nothing short of majestic, and enjoy this unique African experience in Lesotho – ‘Kingdom of the Sky’.

From Durban: 2-Day Lesotho Guided Trip with Lodging & Meals

7. From Durban: 2-Day Lesotho Guided Trip with Lodging & Meals

It’s the perfect mix of nature, culture and history; enjoy Lesotho’s natural flora and fauna, driving past Lesotho’s highest peak, dive into the culture of the Basotho people in this historical trading post and take a peek into history by getting to see the beautiful old buildings that pack lots of history into this small village. Lesotho is the only country in the world that is in its entirety above 1000m in elevation, making this an experience that you cannot enjoy anywhere else in the world! This tour ticks all these boxes – nature, culture and history – all in Lesotho, all in one day. 6.30 AM We pick you up from your accommodation in Durban. 2 9.00 AM We arrive in Undeberg, grab a coffee and head up into Lesotho for the day. 3 9.00 AM We head up to the highest pass in South Africa, Sani Pass. We travel through Himeville to the World Heritage Site of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, following the Mkomazana River up the scenic Sani Valley to the South African Border Post (border formalities) and the Lesotho Border. 4 10.30 AM After the Lesotho border formalities at the top of Sani Pass, we climb even further into the Lesotho highlands, all the way to the top of the Black Mountain pass. 5 11.00 PM At the top of Black Mountain Pass we get a chance to leave our vehicle, climb a short distance to a beautiful viewpoint of Thabana Ntlenyana. 6 12.30 PM We arrive in the town of Mokhotlong and enjoy lunch together 7 1.00 PM We visit a cultural Basotho village OR go horse-rinding into the Lesotho Highlands 8 2.00 PM We make our back to Sani Pass. 9 5 PM We watch the sun go down on the top of Black Mountain Pass before making our way to overnight accommodation DAY 2 1 8.00 AM After a hearty breakfast, we join up with you again for day two’s activities. 2 8.30 AM Choose between a visit to a cultural village, a hike at the top of Sani Pass or Come back down the pass to explore the villages of Underberg and Himeville and its museum. 3 12:15 PM We arrive back in Underberg, in time for lunch, if you aren’t in a hurry we’ll choose the best spot in Underberg to have lunch together. 4 13:15 PM Head back to Durban.

Durban: Drakensberg Rock Art & Mandela Capture Site Tour

8. Durban: Drakensberg Rock Art & Mandela Capture Site Tour

Get picked up bright and early at your hotel at 6am and start your trip toward the mountains. Make your way to Kamberg, part of the Northern Drakensberg mountain range and home to the Rosetta Stone of SAN (Bushman) rock art. Upon arrival, meet your anthropologist guide, Dr Jeremy Hollmann, a specialist in early civilisation rock art in Southern Africa, and watch an introductory video to understand the context of the people who inhabited this area. Then, follow Dr. Hollmann through the rugged terrain all the way up to Game Pass Shelter where he will delve deeper into the anthropology of the San people. There are several spots along the way which he will bring to life with historical anecdotes and anthropological theories. At Game Pass Shelter, take in the mystery of Bushman rock art, and explore theories and beliefs that underpin the art and culture of the San/Bushmen of Southern Africa. Tuck into lunch at the Nottingham Road Brewery (at your own expense), and try out the local craft beer, if you like. Thereafter, continue along the Midlands Meander and visit the internationally acclaimed Ardmore Ceramics. Watch the ceramicists at work when the studios are open, and maybe even buy a keepsake. Your penultimate stop is at the iconic Nelson Mandela Capture Site for a peek into South Africa's notorious history and a bucket list photograph. Finish your tour witnessing the water gushing or trickling down (depending on the time of year) at Howick Falls as it flows into the Umgeni River. Finally, head back to Durban with your expected time of arrival set for 7pm.

From Durban: 5-Day Lesotho to Nambiti Trip with Lodging

9. From Durban: 5-Day Lesotho to Nambiti Trip with Lodging

Day 1: Depart from Durban at 6am Sani Pass Lunch at Sani Mountain Lodge Blanket Presentation Ride to Basotho Village (approx. 1 hour on horseback) – weather dependant Immersive Basotho Cultural Experience Sundonwers at 3140m ASL Overnight at Sani Mountain Lodge or similar Includes Lunch and Dinner Day 2: Head towards Clarens (an arty, eclectic town that’s full of life) on the Roof of Africa route Highest mountain passes in Southern Africa 3222m ASL Home to the Worlds highest Diamond mine, volcanic pipes have provided diamonds and hot water springs Lunch at Afriski Bushmen Paintings Head out of Lesotho to Clarens through the beautiful Clarens rock formations Arts and culture in Clarens Overnight at Baris or similar Includes Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Day 3: Golden Gate National Park Lunch en-route Checkin to Nambiti by 1pm Day 4: Full day spent in Nambiti at Ndaka Lodge or similar Day 5: Transfer back to Durban, arrival back at approx. 5pm

From Durban: Lesotho Highlights 4-Day Trip with Meals

10. From Durban: Lesotho Highlights 4-Day Trip with Meals

Itinerary Day 1: Depart at 08:00 from Durban and head to the aptly named town of Underberg under the Drakensberg mountains. In our guided 4wd vehicle in Underberg we proceed into Lesotho Via Sani Pass The Sani Pass climbs from 1500m to 2874m ASL. The famous switchbacks overlooking the South African valleys are spectacular. Go on a hike of the escarpment overlooking the Sani Pass or pony trek along the cliffs. Day 2: Climb further to the top of Black Mountain Pass at 3240m ASL. The remote villages of the Sani Top and Mokhotlong areas are some of the most remote villages in Lesotho. Get an inside look at the people living in this tough environment with a visit to a village. Picnic lunch is over a beautiful vista of the Senqu river, which becomes the Orange river in South Africa. An important river for several Southern African countries makes the perfect lunch stop. The route from Sani Top to Thaba Bosiu is often called the Roof of Africa route, we have already conquered the Sani Pass as well as Black Mountain Pass. After lunch we tackle Taeeng pass at 3225m and Motebong pass at 2820m. Along the way you will see Letseng Diamond mine–the world’s highest diamond mine and Afriski Moutain Resort and countless villages and other picturesque scenes. We will head to our overnight accommodation in Hlotse. Check-in at Bird Haven at approx. 18:00. Day 3: Breakfast at 07:00, departure at approx. 08:00-30. We backtrack slightly to visit a riverbed close to our overnight accommodation, where there is evidence of prehistoric life forms. If the river is in flood these ancient footprints are hidden to the world but usually the water levels are low enough for us to look at the Dinosaur Footprints We now leave the main road to Maseru and travel to the Kome Caves, home to modern cave-dwellers, these caves were originally inhabited by clans escaping the Lifqane wars and cannibalism. We make our way to Thaba Bosiu along the back roads which go through many rural villages. Thaba Bosiu is a cultural centre of utmost importance to Lesotho and its history. From Thaba Bosiu we drive into the capital city Maseru for lunch at approx. 13:00, this gives one a good understanding of modern-day city life in Lesotho and its mix with Lesotho’s strong culture. By 15:00, We head back into the highlands of Lesotho going through the Mantsa Pass to highland town of Semonkong. Check-in at Semonkong at approx. 17:30 Day 4: Breakfast at 7:30am Hike/4wd Drive to the Maletsunyane Falls Depart the Lesotho highlands via passes that enter South Africa at Qacha’s Nek. We snake our way through the last remote villages of Lesotho. We cross the Senqu river again–which we first saw on day 1 and then follow it along the Senqu river valleys toward the border town of Qachas Nek. Once back in South Africa we are normally in Matatiele around 13:00 for lunch. From Matatiele we skirt alongside the Drakensberg mountains and return to Underberg along scenic back roads, returning usually around 15:00-16:00

Other Sightseeing Options in Maloti-Drakensberg Park

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What people are saying about Maloti-Drakensberg Park

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 50 reviews

Impressive trip! We clearly have problems at the border . The reservation sheet stated to bring either your ID or your travel pass. We only had our ID with us. This proved insufficient at the border. We would then only be allowed in if we would pay extra. We declined this. In the end we were allowed to pass after much commotion . Strange that our guide didn't already inform us at the hotel that only a travel pass was needed.

It was an unforgettable experience. The weather was a bit bad and it rained the day before. I'm glad I was able to experience that. The guide (Elias) was great. He knew a lot and discovered the smallest movements of animals. We can only recommend this trip. The view alone, even in bad weather, is phenomenal.

The best experience ever. Mr. Sotiri was amazing. He shared a lot of history throughout the tour. He stopped at all the best places and took a lot of beautiful photos. I enjoyed every bit of the tour. If I was to do it again, will definitely be with him. Such a kind and charming person.

What an amazing experience with this well-informed guide, Peter who took us safely up Sani Pass into Lesotho to see the snow and to the Highest Pub in Africa. All on my bucket list including the village visit in Lesotho. Emile was also most helpful. Well worth the money spent.

Ride on the Sanipass in persistent rain. From 2300 m transition to snowfall. On arrival at the pass about 15 cm of snow. Unfortunately no view on the pass, below the clouds imposing topography.