A great place to start your walk is in the Mlambonja Valley. From this village follow the paths through the valley and countryside passing lovely Proteas. The Protea is the national flower of South Africa and also the nickname given to the national cricket team. The walk through the valley has quite a mystical feel and is reminiscent of the lands in the Lord of the Rings. As you head upwards in the valley, passed waterfalls; look out for hidden caves in the rocks high up. These caves were inhabited by the San Bushmen as long as 4,000 years ago. Inside the caves you can still see some of the cave paintings they drew.
Head down from the caves and make for the Cathedral Park Hotel. This amazing hotel lies deep in the valley under the gaze of the Drakensberg Mountains and is ideal for walkers as a stopover before they attempt to climb to the Cathedral Peak summit.
In order to make it up and down to the Cathedral Peak summit in one day you will require an early start. From the hotel, it will typically take 9 hours of steady walking to reach the Peak summit as it approximately an 18km round trip. The other important thing to check out before you leave is the weather report. As you walk through the hills and fields keep an eye out for baboons often seen in this area. The hike from the hotel will take you up a series of tiers eventually taking you from the Lower Berg to the Upper Berg. You will pass along places known as Swine Hill, the challenging Bugger Gulley and the lovely named Orange Peel Gap.
At this point you are on the Upper Berg and about half way to the summit. Take a break at this point before following the trail all the way to the summit. Once you reach here you will not be disappointed. The views on a clear blue day are simply stunning and you can spend a few moments spotting the many other peaks spreading for miles in each direction. Overall this is a challenging walk and you do need to be fairly fit. However the views are worth it!
For more information on the Drakensberg and places to stay, go to www.Where2Stay-SouthAfrica.com
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