Today, I take you above the clouds at the top of the Tugela Falls! The highest waterfalls in Africa and the second highest in the world.
I introduce you to Northern Drakensberg, a mountainous region of South Africa between Durban and Johannesburg. Far from everything, this region is very sparsely populated and that is just happiness in its purest form!
The hike I made that day was done with a guide because this region and especially this hike is extremely dangerous especially with the capricious weather of this region of Africa.
To do this hike, I went to a hotel near Bergville, The Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge accessible either by car or with the buses of the company Baz Bus that stop right in front of the reception of this hotel, hostel and camping.
In order to avoid hiking and climbing accidents, this hotel offers guided hikes or, for less dangerous hikes, maps and lots of information about the region. Thus, two days after my arrival at the hostel, I embarked on the most frightening and incredible trek at the same time!
7am: go to the reception where the guide was waiting for us with our packed lunch for the day. For the most part of us, we already met the day before, during the hike in the plains and mountains of Lesotho (Told in a future article). So yes, people do not go to this hotel for the holidays, because it is completely isolated, the first grocery store being 20 minutes away by car.
Departure at 7:15am by minibus to climb to 2500 m altitude and start this hike (The summit being 3254m). There is 1h-1h30 of travel to reach this height. On the way, we could see landscapes looking like the trilogy of Lord of the Rings or Jurassic Park, moreover, one guy of the team hummed the Jurassic Park theme during the ascent.
Okay so far so good, nothing scary, just big clouds and altitude, … except …
To reach the 3254m, there are two paths:
- The first is to climb for 200 meters an almost vertical terrain that crumbles. Quick photo, we just arrived to the place covered with clouds on the left:
Arrived at the top, we were certainly exhausted, but so happy to have overcome this test, especially that a few hundred meters further, we finally arrived at the top of the waterfalls, the Tugela Falls.
Well, I hear you from here: “She made us a whole story of a hike in the clouds, to see a waterfall, where is the scary part of the hike? 200 meters with small pebbles falling? “
As I told you, there are two ways to get to the top of the Tugela Falls, and the second way, here it is:
- descent using two sets of chain ladders
And here we approach an important point, a point that the Internet does not put forward. When I did my research for this hike, there were only pictures of this hike under the sun, pictures worthy of Instagram (By the way, I wonder how they did that, to look fresh at the top of this mountain … good fresh air I got it, but it was definitely not the same …) never had I been told, or had written on any site that the weather could be rainy and suddenly, this part of the hike could become laborious and scary …
Here is the object of the fright:
And something else that we do not say on the internet, the guides can offer you all the possible ropes to “reassure” you, it will simply attach to its waist (by the way our guide was 1m60 and surely 55kg while wet, I was safer going down without a net). Ah yes ! Another important detail: the ladders are not completely fixed in the rock and therefore shake and move a lot during the descent …
This descent is most frightening with this weather, especially that we never see the ground that we are supposed to reach at one time anyway … We descend on a series of metal ladders, soaked because of the weather and so slippery and we go down in the clouds. And that is scary because we do not know where we are going and how long the descent will last!
She just destroyed this hike you will tell me … No, I just prefer to prevent. For my part, this hike was one of the most beautiful done, even if the weather was not very nice, so especially if you are in condition and passing through the Drakensberg region, do not hesitate to do it, it leaves incredible memories and images 🙂
But above all, do it with a guide!
For more information, do not hesitate to contact me, I would be more than happy to help you 🙂
Spoiler Alert : The view, once the weather’s fine again 🙂