Day 27- Royal Natal Park, Drakensberg Mountains

This week we’re going to spend our time hiking in the Royal Natal National Park that’s about a 30 minute drive from our hostel. The Park has some of the best mountain scenery in Africa and we’re looking forward to seeing the world famous Amphitheater, a rock wall that is approximately 5km in length. On top of the Amphitheater is the Mont aux Sources peak where the Orange river commences its long journey to the Atlantic ocean and the Tugela River cascades 850m down the face of the Amphitheater, in the highest waterfall in the world, on its way to the Indian ocean.

The Drakensberg range is purported to be one of the best hiking destinations in Africa with an abundance of valleys, waterfalls, rivers, caves and escarpments and we’re hoping to enjoy a very small part of the Northern Berg region. Our first hike is Tiger Falls and Cascades a 9km hike that we’re advised features some impressive waterfalls. It’s a bit grey and damp to start but we soon warm up and shed layers.

As it’s the rainy season currently everything is a bit wet and damp. However, this means that the landscape is a sea of lush green of all shades with hundreds of Protea bushes tentatively coming to life with their gorgeous blooms.

The signage along the way is few and far between but the paths are easy to follow and we have them virtually to ourselves. As we gradually ascend we are rewarded with some fantastic views across one of the numerous valleys and the opportunity to cross beneath Tiger Falls as it tumbles down to the valley below.

The Cascades are a gentler set of Falls that we approach by walking a long the river as we descend towards our starting point. We criss-cross the river via a number of stone and wooden bridges. The recent heavy rainfall has swollen the rivers considerably and its following rapidly. It’s been a great first hike and we’re looking forward to exploring further hikes this week. We stop off at the visitor centre shop and buy some locally fished hot smoked trout which we’ll eat later with an avocado and feta salad and it was bloody delicious.

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