Drakensberg III: Sentinel Trail

For our third and last day in the Drakenberg Mountains we decided to take a hike to the top of the Amphitheater that we had seen from below the previous day. It seemed simple, by air, the start of this hike was only a couple of kilometers from our Mahai Campsite. However, we had to drive around the mountains to get to the start of the trail and it took more than two hours for the ~140km of driving distance to get there. 

At the starting point of the hike, we were already high into the mountains with only a couple of meters of visibility. This made us rethink the hike for that day. But after talking to some locals and considering the experience from the previous day, we figured that around lunchtime the clouds would disapear. So we spent some time reading and then set out on the hike. Sure enough, after the first kilometers and even before lunchtime the wind increased and the clouds were blown away:

As we ascended, the views into the surrounding valleys became better and better. For the last vertical ascent to reach the Amphitheater plateau we had to climb up two metal chain ladders:

Another quick walk across the plateau and we were presented with the most amazing views of the Drakensberg Amphitheater:

The top of the Amphitheater was also the upper end of the Tugella Falls. This time, it was easier to spot the falls than from below but again the river was very very small and the falls consequently only a light drizzle.

We chose a different way down which led us through a very steep and rocky valley with a beautiful view. 

We came back from this stunning 13km hike around 5pm and drove towards the city of Clarens to set up camp there. This small modern town is lovely but seemed to have been built only for tourists. At night, we ate at the Clemantine Restaurant and had an amazing beef fillet. 

For more on the Drakensberg, read our post on Giant’s Castle or on the Tugela Gorge.


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