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 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.
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.
Table Mountain Cable Car, www.tablemountain.net
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.
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.
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.
Long Tom Pass
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.
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.
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!