After our great time in South Africa in 2018, we knew at one point of time we want to go back and enjoy more of the Drakensberg area. Our first visit was in February/March, which was at that time too hot for hiking. With that in mind, we planned our new trip at a better time in September. Which is still Winter in South Africa – not to be compared with a European winter – or let me put it this way a great clima for hiking.
Clarens (St. Fort Guesthouse)
After flying to Johannesburg, our first stop was the St. Fort Guesthouse in Clarens. The guesthouse is located on a big farm and inhabitants own hiking trails. Our cottage included a fire place, which we used as at night it has still been cold – around 5 degrees. During the day, we could enjoy sunshine and 20 to 25 degrees. One hike that starts at the farm is the hike to the Mushroom mountain. Which provided a nice view over the area and on the mountains that sourrounds Clarens.
Golden Gate National Park
From Clarens our next stop was the Golden Gate National Park. Here we only did a day hike, even that it would have been totally worth to stay in the park for 2 or 3 days. In order to explore all the hiking path, the park has to offer. We started our hike from the visitor center (reception of the hotel), where we needed to pay entry fee’s for day visiting. The paths are well-marked and can be planned from 1 hour to 7 hours.
Royal Natal National Park (Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge)
The Royal Natal National Park is mainly known for the famous Sentinal hike, which we did already 4 years ago. Mainly, people come to the Witsieshoek Lodge in order to do this hike. But let me tell you, the area has more great hikes to offer, which are equally beautiful. The rooms in the Lodge are basic, but the food in the restaurant is making up for it. Real beautiful location to see the stars and if you are lucky the milky way. As there is not much light pollution, around the lodge.
Giant Castle National Park (Giants Castle Camp)
The National Park I looked forward to the most was the Giant Castle National Park. This park we also visited in 2018, but we could not hike back than as on the day of your visit it was 35 degrees. The views from the restaurant terrace are amazing, the same was true from our Cottage. Which was located up the hill and provided us with an amazing view into the valley and on the Giant Castle mountain. The park is providing a lot of hiking options, and it is easy to spent 2 to 7 days there.