Discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains

Discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains

Discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains – my Travel Series as to why more travelers should visit this amazing country. You can read my first blog post here: Why you should visit South Africa now! and my second post here: South Africa’s Beautiful Beaches.

In this post, I look at some of the most magnificent mountains and mountain passes in South Africa, and what they have to offer if you’re looking for a mountainside getaway!

The Mountains:

Drakensberg Mountain

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Drakensberg, www.sa-venues.com

The majestic range of the Drakensberg Mountain lies primarily in the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal and forms a border between Kwa Zulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Lesotho. Also known as the Mountain of Dragons, the mountains are abundant with plant life and bird life.

The popular high mountain peaks are Giants Castle, Cathedral Peak and Mont-Aux-Sources. The whole Drakensberg Mountain has a wide variety of mountain streams, waterfalls, caves, rock pools and unique spaces that locals and travelers can enjoy! The Clarens Formation section of the Drakensberg Mountain range has caves in which San (Bushmen) paintings/drawing can be viewed.

Day walks and overnight hiking is available with guides or self-guided. Accommodation in Drakensberg is widely available and recommended hotels are Champagne Castle Hotel, Month Aux Sources Hotel, Premier Resort Sani Pass and Drakensberg Sun Resort.

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Giant’s Castle, drakensberg-accommodation.co.za
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Cathedral Peak, www.places.co.za
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Amphitheater Drakensberg, en.wikipedia.org

 

Table Mountain

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Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, www.aroundaboutcars.com

Next on the list in discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains – located in Cape Town, Table Mountain is a prevalent spectacle towering over the city. Acquiring its name from its flat-top characteristic, Table Mountain offers a picturesque view of the Cape Peninsula. To the east of the plateau is Devil’s Peak and to the west is Lion’s Head, both just as popular to hike up to as Table Mountain.

Table Mountain comprises of different routes to different peaks to hike up to or you can hop on to the ariel cableway to make your way to the top. At the top of Table Mountain you can enjoy Table Mountain Cafe and free WiFi! In 2012, Table Mountain was named one of the 7 most voted Natural Wonders of the World.

There are various accommodations to choose from in the Table Mountain National Park (Self catering and guest houses) as well as hotels, BnBs and hostels in Cape Town.

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Table Mountain Cable Car, www.tablemountain.net

 

Cederberg Mountain

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Cederberg Mountain, www.nightjartravel.com

North of Cape Town, you can find Cederberg Wilderness Area which is home to the Cederberg Mountain Range. It is one of the rare places which is mostly unpopular with tourists. The beauty of the Cederberg Mountain can be enjoyed by walking/hiking with a variety of bird life accompanying you. The red sandstone cliffs and rock formations are naturally sculpted and weathered by nature. the caves contains a variety of rock art/painting by the San (Bushmen).

Rich in botanical diversity, Cederberg Mountain was named after cedar trees and hosts a wide collection of fauna and flora. The primary activities here include rock climbing, camping, hiking and swimming in the clear water rock pools! We could not think of anything more stunning than to add this to discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains.

Your different types of accommodation near Cederberg Mountain are budget stays, guesthouses, camping, wilderness reserve stay, self-catering/pet-friendly, and hotels and lodges.

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Cederberg Mountain Rock Formation, www.cederberg.co.za

 

Magaliesberg Mountain

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Magaliesberg Mountain, www.sa-venues.com

The Magaliesberg Mountains are said to be one of the oldest in the world, and extends over 120 km. The Magaliesberg region is perceived as the birthplace of mankind – tourists and travelers from all over the world visit Maropeng, The Cradle of Humankind. Magaliesberg Mountain has quartzite cliffs, deep gullies and marvelous kloofs; the ideal make up for a hiker to explore!

The mountains offer rock climbing opportunities spread across its various kloofs and escarpments. The relatively mild climate allows year-round climbing. Accommodation is available in various forms, recommendations being African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa; Magalies Manor Hotel and Budmarsh Country Lodge.

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The Mighty Magalies, www.countrylife.co.za

 

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Magaliesberg Mountain rock pool, www.sa-venues.com

 

 

The Passes:

Sani Pass

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Sani Pass Top, www.sa-venues.com

Sani Pass is a mountain pass located in the West of Kwa Zulu-Natal, ascending through the Drakensberg Mountains. Built around 1950, it out distances, out climbs, and out performs all other mountain passes in South Africa. Known as the ‘roof of Africa’; the views from the peaks, some 3200 meters above sea level, are marvelous and without a doubt something to look forward to for those who make it to the top.

It is recommended that the journey through is done on 4×4, as very poor quality roads exist to keep the pass as natural as possible. There is a section of snow that lies on the road to Mokhotlong; this isn’t suitable for skiing however, it’s get for snow-ball fights and snowy selfies!

Accommodation can be found in multiple place in the Drakensberg Mountains and closer to Sani Pass. Recommendations are Sani Valley Lodge, Sani Lodge Backpackers, Honeyguide Cottage and Aloe Cottage.

 

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Sani Pass natural roads, www.sa-venues.com

 

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Sani Pass, www.sa-venues.com

 

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Snow at Sani Pass, www.sa-venues.com

 

Long Tom Pass

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Long Tom Pass, www.sa-venues.com 

Long Tom Pass descends the Drakensberg escarpment and is part of the Mpumalanga Panoramic Route. Mist is often evident here and visibility is low during these times. It gets its name from the Long Tom cannons used during the Anglo-Boer war. initially, animals roamed freely and this was a very dangerous place however, now there is a tarred road.

Long Tom Pass is the ideal area from which you can explore the Kruger National Park as well as the Mpumalanga escarpment. Trout fishing is a popular activity here. Accommodation can be found in the Sabie area which include Misty Mountain,  Floreat Riverside Lodge and Sabie River Camp.

**Long Tom Pass is closed until further notice.

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Long Tom Cannon at Long Tom Pass, www.sa-venues.com

Bainskloof Pass

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Bainskloof Pass, www.sa-venues.com

Located between Wellington and Ceres in the Western Cape, Bainskloof Pass gives way to drama and splendour in its weathered formations. It was built by Andrew Geddes Bain, one of the country’s more popular road engineers. It was originally intended for horse-drawn carts however, more recently cars have been used to pass through.

For adventure junkies, camping at Tweede Tol in Bainskloof and doing the rock-hopper trail along the Witte River between the campsite and Eerste Tol at the top of the Bainskloof Pass is highly recommended.

 

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Rock Pool, Bainskloof Pass, www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za
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Road on Bainskloof Pass, www.mountainpassessouthafrica.co.za

My post doesn’t include all of the mountains, mountain ranges or passes, South Africa has so much more to offer. Follow/ Subscribe to enjoy more from this travel series!

 

 

 

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Hello Yeshi

0 thoughts on “Discovering South Africa’s Majestic Mountains

  1. South Africa is sooo beautiful with panoramic views from the top of the mountain and the magnificent views of the passes. I love the rock pools and falls at Cederberg Mountain – what a gem! Long tom pass is very lush and green. Take me there now!

  2. These are really beautiful places to visit, Yeshira! Drakensberg alone is breathtaking… Plus the Cederberg Mountain rock formations are just incredible! Thank you for this awesome article! 🙂

  3. South Africa is so diverse in feel, in landscape, in living style, in wildlife, in seafront. And I enjoyed each bit of it. Thank you Yesh for sharing your experience.

  4. Such a diverse and interesting landscape in Sth Africa, I did not know much at all about the mountains. I think we will need quite some time to visit this fascinating part of the world. Would a month be long enough? or maybe two?

  5. Your pictures are so, so….inviting! I wanted to go to South Africa forever. Unfortunately it’s one of the countries where I would like to go all bye:myself. As soon as I have an adequate travel companion, I go; I need to see all these sceneries myself. Until then: thanx for sharing – and happy travels!

  6. These pictures are absolutely stunning. I´ve never been to South Africa yet. But it´s on my list and probably within the next two years, I will go there.

  7. Wow. How superb. As a child, I lived in Mauritania but by the seaside so strangely… I never quite associated Africa with mountains much. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Oh wow – these places look stunning! I love hiking and I would love to explore the South African landscape one day! Honestly when I read your article and saw the pictures I was literally like “Ohhh, Giant’s Castle looks amazing…oh wait wow Cathedral Peak looks amazing too!! Oh wait Table Mountain is so cool.” haha
    Looks like there’s lots of places to explore!

    1. I know what you mean – just one Ahhhhh moment after the other! We have amazing countryside/rural areas with beautiful hiking trails – you would love it!

  9. I have no idea that South Africa is this beautiful. You made more places to visit I put in my bucket list.

  10. Looks so spectacular! Love the photos and a well written, informative article to go with it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful adventures!

  11. Ok, so these awesome mountains convinced me. I had a different perspective of South Africa before, and that Drakensberg mountain is fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  12. There is something about mountain that can just instantly make me feel at peace, like no matter what mood I’m in, mountains are like my zen. I love exploring them, love just looking at them 😀 I would love to explore the mountains of South Africa, I have family from South Africa but It’s a country I’ve not been to yet, I must travel there soon 😀

    1. Amit – more reasons for your to visit, your family misses you! I’ve fallen in love with the mountains, as much as we are a “beach country” our mountains and countryside is just something else! Crisp, clean air and fresh spring rock pools! Definitely something to experience!

  13. perfect timing to read this since I leave for South Africa in 3 weeks! unfortunately I already know we won’t have enough time to visit Drakensberg :(… ah well… guess it means I have to take 2 trips 😉

    1. Ah this is amazing! I know you will have an awesome time here – if you need info or help, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

  14. Super interesting. Giant’s Castle reminds me of the grand canyon here in the U.S. The cable car also seems scary but cool. I’m sure its a scenic ride up.

  15. Loved the Table mountain. Sometimes it’s that one spot you really like in a country which drags you to it. Loved all the other pictures too. South Africa is high in my list.

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