Drakensberg, bordering mountainous Lesotho, is one of South Africa’s best hiking spots, with varied environments and awesome views.
The Drakensberg Range has three sections, South, Central and North. While the north section contains the stunning ‘Amphitheatre’ group of peaks, many hardened local walkers consider Central to be most attractive area. Driving time from Jo’burg is about 4 hours and from Durban about 3 hours.
Champagne Castle Hotel guests at play.
The Sphinx Walk is a minimum effort hike (3 hours) with maximum scenic returns. The starting point is Champagne Castle Hotel and it seems that it is not necessary to be a guest there in order to do this gorgeous walk that can include mini-diversions to a Fern Forest, San (bushmen) rock art, a sunken forest and a crystal waterfall.
This 2/3 hour walk finishes at The Sphinx rock, pictured top left, though it doesn’t look much like a Sphinx from close up! .
Other walks from this beautifully situated (but poorly managed) hotel range from 1km/half an hour up to 18 hours beyond the Sphinx (round trip).
There are plenty of other guest houses and hotels in the vicinity, though none with quite the same spectacular views – when clouds permit.
Part of the Sphinx Walk looking back at the Champagne Castle Hotel, a distant right.