Draks to Durban

After leaving the Wild Coast/Transkei area, we bumped back up the unbelievably potholed road to the N2. Our journey brought us through countless Xhosa villages, beautiful rolling green countryside and chaotic market towns. Once back on the main road, we headed for the Drakensberg Mountains.

The Drakensbergs are a large range of mountains that border with Lesotho, the “Mountain Kingdom”. We spent a couple of days in the Southern Bergs and in the Central Bergs. The area has a long history of habitation, beginning with the San people or Bushmen, 5000 years ago. They left their mark in the caves, in the form of paintings.

Southern Berg & Trip over Sani Pass to Lesotho

We spent three nights in the Sani Lodge, near the Sani pass, which borders with Lesotho. The weather was not in our favour the first day, so we went on a very pleasant valley hike for the afternoon. Wildlife presented itself only in the form of distant baboons.

Huge rocks in valley

Cave on Hike in Southern Bergs
C&J exiting cave on Gxalingenwa Valley Hike

The next day, we took at tour up the Sani Pass into Lesotho. We were entertained by our guide Matthew – who was informative as well as being extremely droll. He had us totally sussed by the end of the day, and we were fully briefed on his love life! We bumped our way up the Sani Pass, which consisted of a dirt road that turned into a mad set of rocky switchbacks. Matthew took it all in his stride, and regaled us with tales of slippery situations in wintertime, and pointed out several car wrecks that didn’t quite make it! He pointed out a route used by weed smugglers. We were lucky with the day, and had amazing views of the High and Low Berg, and back down into Kwa-Zulu Natal. Once at the top, we were in Lesotho. We drove in for a bit, it was all a bit lunar and barren. We visited a local lady, tried some of her home brew and bread, and finished up with a pint at the “highest pub in Africa” before heading back down. A trip well worth doing.

Goats on Sani Pass 

A Lesotho herder bringing goats over the pass to S Africa
Ice Rat at top of Sani Pass Ice Rat
Hut in Lesotho village Hut in Lesotho Village – also a shop
Lesotho Villagers Shopkeeper with two of her kids

Immigration to Lesotho getting  into Lesotho
Red flowers at Sani Pass Local Fauna
hairpin bends - 4 wheel drive only! The Road near top of Sani Pass!

Central Berg – Cathedral Peak & Champagne Castle

And on to higher things…we drove north to the middle of the Draks hoping for even more dramatic scenery. We settled into the fabulous Inkosana Lodge – a backpackers in name only – this place is absolutely fantastic and more like a luxury lodge you would find in a gamepark! Once again, we bedded down in a Rondavel.

Inkosana Lodge Rondavel Our hut at Inkosana

We enjoyed a fantastic hike up to “Blind Man’s Corner”, which rewarded us with great views of Champagne Castle and other peaks nearby. A great hike, although Cathal’s constant photo taking possibly slowed us down a bit!

Blue Flowers Champagne Castle
CDB at Champagne Castle Hike
Jnae on Champagne Castle Hike
Fire Tree Flower 

Pics on Blind Man’s Corner Hike, Central Draks

Central Berg – Giants Castle

We took a trip to the Giant’s Castle KZN Park primarily to have a look at some San cave paintings. It was rather a painful journey down some of the worst roads yet – and then the “tour” of the paintings was delivered incomprehensively by a local girl…

San Rock Art Exampe of San Art
Natural Sunscreen Local Sunscreen – white clay
Potholes ahead Just in case we hadn’t noticed! 
Red Dirt Village Red Earth – Classic Africa
Village Ladies Local Ladies


We left the Draks behind us, and sped down the road to Durban. Cathal was itching to surf at this stage, and got his feet wet twice in the same day – he was stoked after two “epic” sessions! We had to have our wits about us in Durban – everyone was warning us about crime rates etc. All the houses have a lot of security around them!
Security in Durban Security on a suburban house!


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