With 30 years of active Africa travel in our boots, we have developed our itineraries to showcase countries that are most popular amongst travellers to Africa. We take you to iconic locations, but we avoid the crowds. We offer you “Instagram firsts” as well as familiar backdrops. And most important, we expose you to people and traditions different from your own. Not as a spectator, but as a participant.
The sandstone buttresses of Golden Gate and the peaks of the Drakensberg are some South Africa’s most recognisable mountains. It therefore makes sense that it is the backdrop of one of our most exciting South African trips.
Dramatic golden sandstone cliffs form the backdrop to some of our favourite road biking through the Golden Gate National Park. Meanwhile, the higher trails of the Drakensberg offer some of the very best mountain walking in South Africa and quiet paved back roads and gnarly single track are the secret sauce in epic road and mountain bike rides.
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park and Lesotho’s Sehlathebe National Park form the Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage site. This richly diverse region is home to critically-endangered species such as the bearded vulture and the Maloti minnow. In addition, the sandstone caves of the Drakensberg mountains reveal some of South Africa’s best-preserved San rock art.
This trip takes place in some of the lesser-explored regions of South Africa. The Drakensberg is a well-known and popular hiking destination amongst South Africans, but remains relatively unexplored by foreign visitors. We want to change that by sharing its brooding beauty and the warm welcome extended by rural villagers. Walking and biking in the Drakensberg and Golden Gate offers the best opportunity to genuinely explore the ancient natural and cultural history of the region. In addition, it facilitates authentic interactions with rural communities and historical families. We have not forgotten the historians. We include a presentation of the British defeat at the hands of Boer commandos during the South African War (1899-1902).
If you are already familiar with South Africa and are looking for something new and exciting, this trip is a must-do. If this is your first visit, consider including this region in your itinerary.
From R 121 575 per person, based on 2 people travelling
This is an indicative price only. Final pricing depends on group size, hotel selection and activities
We make use of an eclectic selection of hotels, guesthouses and lodges that combine luxury, tranquillity and impeccable service with accessibility to the best activities.
The walks and bike rides on this trip can be completely tailored to the group’s fitness level. You can choose road biking or mountain biking, based on your personal preference/skills and the length of the rides and hikes can be adapted to ensure that each traveller enjoys optimal comfort and experience.
Given the duration of the trip, a good walking and biking fitness is advisable.
This itinerary can be run year-round.
The summer months (Dec-Mar) are warm and can bring powerful thunderstorms and heavy rain in the afternoon. However, mornings are generally dry and cooler.
Winter months (June-Aug) are dry and cold with snow appearing on the Drakensberg anytime between July and October.
Meet your guide on arrival at OR Tambo International Airport and departs by road for Clarens (3.5 hours)
This is a travel day as we transfer to the centre of the country where we start the trip
We spend the morning on the bike, with an incredibly scenic road ride framed by stunning mountain terrain (35km/22 miles).
Alternatively, we ride out to a small farm on the outskirts of the village for a morning of scenic mountain biking on curated single-track trails and farm roads. With 3.8 to 30km (2.5 to 24 miles) of trails to choose from, the morning is tailored to a variety of skill levels.
We enjoy lunch at nearby Fouriesburg before continuing to the highest vineyard in South Africa, for an afternoon of Wine Tasting.
We enjoy a morning of exhilarating grade 3 and 4 rapids while river rafting on the nearby Ash River. After a cafe lunch we spend the afternoon in the Clarens Conservancy on a scenic hike in the hills above the village (4.5km/2.8 miles).
We start the day with a short transfer to the awesome Golden Gate National Park and spend the morning hiking between the stunning sandstone rock formations on the signature Wodehouse Peak trail (9km/5.6 miles).
Your guide will prepare a picnic lunch en route before a short stop at the bird-hide in the hope of seeing the endangered Bearded Vulture.
We end the day with a scenic transfer to the northern reaches of the Drakensberg mountains.
Spend the morning on the bike, on either quiet paved back roads that take in the beautiful countryside and rural villages or off-road on a combination of farm roads and exhilarating single track (variable distances).
After lunch at a local restaurant, join your guide on a hike from the lodge to the summit of the culturally historic Montusi mountain, a beautiful loop walk that features great views and stunning examples of ancient San rock art (6km/3.5 miles – 2-3hrs).
We spend the day in the Royal Natal National Park where we hike the signature Tugela River and takes in the dramatic mountain scenery, beautiful mountain pools and a glimpse of the Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world. (14 to 19.5km/8.5 to 12 miles – 7-8hrs)
We leave from our lodge this morning and ride (up to 53km/33 miles) towards the small farming town of Bergville via sprawling rural villages framed by the distant mountains. After a cafe lunch in the town, we transfer to our lodge in the heart of the historical battlefields.
Late this afternoon, enjoy a scenic game drive and sunset cocktails in the Spioenkop Nature Reserve with the possibility of viewing White Rhino, Zebra, Giraffe, Wildbeest, Warthog, Kudu and Impala.
Today is a leisurely recovery day of light walking, where we meet a local raconteur who expertly frames the events that led to one of the biggest defeats of English colonial forces by rural Boers at the infamous Battle of Spioenkop ( 2km/1 mile – 4 hrs).
Take the afternoon at leisure or join your guide for a short hike on one of the trails around the cattle farm.
We take a short transfer from the lodge to get to the start of a beautiful but fairly demanding road ride as you ascend gradually through the foothills of the Drakensberg (48km/30 miles).
Lunch on arrival at the next hotel and the afternoon is yours to relax or join your guide for a short hike on one of the trails around the hotel.
This is quintessential Drakensberg with uninterrupted views of the escarpment walls from all sides.
Spend a full day on a signature hike featuring dramatic mountain scenery, stunning waterfalls, ancient San rock art and unique rock formations. We enjoy an Active Africa picnic lunch on the trail (13km/8 miles – 6 to 7hrs).
We start the day with a hike, leaving directly from the hotel. Enjoy more spectacular mountain scenery before heading into a deep gorge to explore an indigenous forest. End the hike at an interesting exhibit for the insight into the history of the ancient San people (8km/5 miles – 4hrs).
After the hike, we continue to lunch in a nearby town before checking into our hotel in the Southern Drakensberg. This afternoon, enjoy time at leisure or enjoy a self-guided hike on one of the short trails around the farm.
A short transfer from the farmhouse takes us to the Kamberg Nature Reserve where we meet up with our local guide for a beautiful hike to visit one of the most important San Rock art sites in the world and often referred to as the ‘Rosetta Stone’ of ancient rock art (6km/3.5 miles – 3hrs).
We return to the lodge for lunch and the afternoon is at leisure or enjoy a self-guided tour on one of the short trails around the farm.
The day starts with a transfer to the little village of Nottingham Road where after a quick espresso we saddle up to enjoy a signature road ride through rolling farmlands and sweeping vistas (40km/25 miles – 2hrs).
We enjoy lunch at a well-known local restaurant with some time to shop and explore the variety of the arts and crafts shops at the village.
We stop past the famous factory and museum of Ardmore Ceramics before taking a short transfer for our final night in the Midlands.
The final day of the trip. We leave today and drive to Durban for a drop off at the airport or one of the city hotels, marking the end of a great trip.