Drakensberg Traverse

Today, I was interviewed for a podcast by Jordan Wylie, in which I pretty much let slip about my sneaky beaky plans for the next couple of years… Sign of a good interviewer is that!

Also, probably helps that I am terrrrible at keeping secrets… The worst in fact.

Anyway, the secret is out, and so I thought I had better let everyone in on it.

It also helps with prep as I know not many have taken this beast on, so all advice is well received.

I am planning a full traverse of the Drakensberg Mountain Range.

From the start point at the Sentinel Car Park to the end point at Bushman’s New Camp, the route is about 220km an is usually completed in around 2 weeks. Needing not only physical fitness, but also mental strength – the walk covers about 9000m of ascent and over 8600m of descent. There are caves, rivers, ridgelines, sometimes snow and even chain ladders to contend with.

The route runs along the top of an escarpment, at an average altitude of 3000m and it crosses the border between Lesotho and South Africa a number of time, taking in the highest peaks in both countries.

You’re self supported and have to carry all of your kit and food for 12 days (I’ll let you work that out weight wise) and it’s why I’m planning it for 2020 and not this year, in order to give my knee the optimum amount of strengthening.

If something goes wrong in the Drakensberg, you’re a 1 day trek by any escape route.

Ok, all the scary (yet awesome) stuff is out the way…

Why do I want to do it? 

Source: World Expeditions

Well, aside from views like that one above…

I was initially just planning to head to SA, visit Rorke’s Drift (where just over 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against an assault by 3-4000 Zulu warriors)  and climb Isandlwana Mountain (close to the site of the first major encounter in the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom).

As we know, I like to be a history geek with my adventures, where possible.

After looking into walks in the area, I remembered that this one existed from a book I was given last Christmas and the decision was made.

And so this is my plan!
​Dates are yet to be confirmed, as I need to get some studying out of the way first and I’m still in the planning stages obviously, but keep an eye out as it progresses!


12 thoughts on “Drakensberg Traverse”

  1. Best wishes for a wonderful trek. I worked for Outward Bound in Lesotho and loved my time there. The mountains hold a sense of timelessness where the local people bring them to life. It’s truly wonderful to experience the layers of human history out there from the 1000s years old San rock paintings to the modern history we experience today.

    1. Brilliant Kate, that will be an epic adventure 👍👍👍 What will you do to train for that as a matter of interest?

      1. Hi John! Yeah you never would have guessed it the other week, haha! I have a mountaineering training programme all devised already, which should cover this too, just a few things I need to adjust slightly (less climbing etc…)

        Kate x

    2. Hi Seanna,

      I’m very excited to see how it all pans out! Obviously very early stages currently!

      Kate x

    1. Hi John!

      Not at all, Kilimanjaro is a beat not to be underestimated! The altitude is much higher there.You will absolutely love it 🙂

      Kate x

  2. Oh wow this is a fantastic challenge! Looks amazing. And yup, now you’ve written it down it’s on!! 🙂

    1. Haha… you’re telling me, Zoe!

      No pressure, eh! Better get up to the West Highland ay this year and practice living out of a bag!! 🙂

      Kate x

  3. Thats epic! We had a guy working for us who lived in SA and loved hiking in Drakensberg. You’ll have a great time if what he told me is anything to go by!

  4. Kate, I’ve been reading your blogs and they are brilliant. Thank you for so many amazing photos on insta too. I think the drakensburg is absolutely amazing having climbed a lot of it myself, a word of warning though please do NOT do this alone, appart from good tourist advertising SA is definitely not a safe place anymore. That said it will be an amazing adventure. Spring time September – October is best id say, not too much rain if any and not too hot.

    1. Hi Beks,

      Believe me I am definitely not doing it alone. As soon as I started the research into it I realised that was not an option. Not least because I don’t know the mountains, the mapping is sporadic at best and there are too many dangers in them there hills! I ill be doing it with a guide 🙂

      Looking to do it in May or October (I have another adventure which may happen in October 2019 but I need confirmation first!)

      Kate x

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