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Champagne Castle Peak - Route Description


Route Description

Note: The following itinerary should be seen only as a guide. As when hiking in any mountain area, weather and other circumstances can change our daily plans.

For each day we give the following information: (Distance, accumulated ascent, walking time*)

*Walking time includes rests.

Mhlawazini Valley - Drakensberg Mountains - South Africa

Day 1: Monk’s Cowl Camp – Keith Bush Camp (13km, 750m, 6-7h)

A sharp ascent of 500m over a distance of barely 4km takes us to the top of the Little Berg where we get astonishing views of the 1000m basalt cliffs of the escarpment with the square-shaped Cathkin Peak in front.  We contour around this mountain as our campsite is on the other side, at the head of the Mhlawazini Valley.  Encapsulated by Cathkin Peak, Monk’s Cowl, Champagne Castle and Dragon’s Back this must be one of the most amazing African mountain settings. Keith Bush Camp used to be just a hut but it was demolished in the 1973 when the valley was declared wilderness area, where no man-made structure were allowed.

Grays Pass - Drakensberg Mountains - South Africa

Day 2: Keith Bush Camp – Nkosazana River (14km, 1150m, 7-8h)

We get access to the top of the escarpment by Gray’s Pass. This is a very steep climb, gaining 900m in less than 2km. The view from our campsite is daunting but fortunately it looks worse than it is.

Our campsite is at the top of the pass. We’ll leave our backpacks behind to climb Champagne Castle Peak and explore the dramatic scenery of the area.

Champagne Castle Peak - Drakensberg Mountains - South Africa

Day 3: Nkosazana river – Monk’s Cowl Camp (16km, 100m, 6-7h)

The last day is a long descent back to Monk’s Cowl Pass, backtracking the first two. Although we use the same path as in day 1 and 2, we walk in the opposite direction which gives completely different hike.

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