South Africa’s highest mountain range, the Drakensberg, whose name translates from Dutch to ‘Dragon Mountains’, is part of the UNESCO-listed uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. It is divided into five distinct regions, most of which fall in KwaZulu-Natal province. It’s also a playground for nature lovers, with many adventurous attractions to discover, including caves and waterfalls.
Visitors who travel to the Drakensberg have no shortage of things to do, from hiking, climbing and caving to bird watching, golfing and wine tasting. A popular year-round family holiday destination, the Drakensberg is magical in winter when the snow covers the mountains, while in summer, its secret spots are waiting to be discovered. Explore the area from your cosy holiday resort and discover its magic for yourself!
Why we love holidays in the Drakensberg
- The Drakensberg is a 4 hour and 45-minute drive from Johannesburg, making it a great choice for mid-week getaways, road trips and weekend getaways.
- Its breathtaking mountain views and natural beauty set the atmosphere for romantic getaways and honeymoons.
- There's an array of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
- From hiking and biking to canopy tours and abseiling it is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
Natural splendour is abundant in the breathtaking Drakensberg Mountains. Whether you travel here to take in the glorious views or have an active adventure holiday, the Drakensberg will enchant. Browse our 2023 Drakensberg holiday packages not and book your mountain escape today.
With activities to suit every type of traveller, you won’t run short of things to do in the Drakensberg. From horseback riding to wine tasting, get ready to explore the outdoors like never before as adventure truly awaits you in South Africa's highest mountain range.
Drakensberg activities to suit the whole family
- Explore its superb nature reserves, including Kamberg, Coleford and Loteni.
- Drive the rugged Sani Pass to the highest pub in Africa at the Sani Mountain Lodge.
- View the Amphitheatre, one of South Africa’s most impressive cliff faces.
- Marvel at the Tugela Falls – the world’s second-largest falls – as they plunge over the cliffs.
- If you're an experienced hiker, you can trek to Mont-aux-Sources, the highest mountain in the Drakensberg Range. Access to the peak is via chain ladders.
- View San rock art at some fascinating sites.
- Enjoy leisurely walks in a fairytale setting. If hiking is your thing, the Drakensberg has many hiking route options, graded according to your level of experience, days and fitness levels.
- Experience breathtaking beauty at Rainbow Gorge.
- Ride a hot air balloon over the mountains.
- Go white-water rafting in the Sterkspruit River.
- Enjoy an adventurous treetop canopy tour.
- Go abseiling off Chicken Hill.
- Have fun mountain biking in the Cathkin Valley.
- Ride horses in Dragon Peaks.
- Explore the Hlatikulu Crane and Wetland Sanctuary.
- Enjoy wine tasting at the Abingdon Wine Estate, the first farm to produce certified wine from locally-grown KwaZulu-Natal grapes, with their maiden vintage in 2007.
- Visit the famous Drakensberg Boys Choir located in the Central Drakensberg.
- For adventure seekers, the Drakensberg Canopy Tour® is a must-do.
Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Contact us about your luxury or cheap Drakensberg Holiday Package now.
When is the best time to visit?
- In the summer (late October to early March), the mountains are lush and green, especially after the daily thunderstorms.
- Snowfalls can occur as early as April, and as late as September, although this is more the exception rather than the rule.
Getting there & getting around
- Drive time from Durban to the Drakensberg: between 3 and 4 hours. From Johannesburg: approximately 5 hours.
- If you are driving Sani Pass, you will need a 4x4 vehicle and a valid passport if you are entering Lesotho.
- About 90% of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is under the control of Ezemvelo/ KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (previously known as the Natal Parks Board). Hikers and climbers are required to buy a permit at the point of entry to the Park.
- If you are visiting during the hot summer, pack a lightweight raincoat for the afternoon thundershowers.
- You will more than likely do a lot of walking, so be sure to pack the appropriate footwear.
- Sunscreen is a must in summer! If your resort has a swimming pool, don't forget your swimsuit.
- Hikers, if you are trekking with a guide, be sure to ask what equipment will be provided and what you will need to pack, such as a comfortable backpack, water bottle, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, waterproof jacket, etc.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- The Drakensberg is one of South Africa's great wilderness areas, and part of a National Park, so be mindful of what you bring with you into the region. For example: avoid single-use plastic and opt for reusable alternatives.
- When hiking, expect the unexpected – and prepare accordingly. There are so many different scenarios that can play out on a hike, such as sudden changes in the weather conditions and even snowstorms.
- Always listen to your guide and don't wander off on your own.
- At your resort and out and about, be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home or in your hotel safe.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.