Best time to visit South Africa

Hiking in Drakensberg in South Africa

South Africa's top hiking destination may be discovered in two different conditions: either green, rainy, and foggy, or dry, clear, and cold

Best time: April–October (all year round)

Hiking in Drakensberg
Hiking in Drakensberg
Hiking in Drakensberg

Drakensberg Mountain in the Kwazu-Natal Province is considered to be a primary hiking destination in all of South Africa. The most visited areas include Cathedral Peak, Amphitheatre Valley, Champagne Valley, Didima Valley, and Middledale Pass Valley. Along with diverse landscape, and rare game viewing, you'll discover beautiful waterfalls including the world's second tallest Tugela Falls (948 meters high).

Despite year-round accessibility, hiking conditions in the Drakensberg differ. November through March, which is roughly summertime, benefits from lush greenery and water abundance. On the contrary, heavy rains and thunderstorms make for less safe hiking conditions and fog hinders the views. May to August is appreciated by hikers for dry paths and good viewing conditions. However, you have fewer daylight hours and lower temperatures, as well as occasional snow and sleet. April and September–October are more or less dry (the weather is less predictable) and green at the same time.

Overall, you may choose any season for your hike. Still, we recommend April to October for safer hiking conditions. Be sure to pack warm clothes and water supplies. If you eventually choose the rainy season, try starting your hike early in the morning and arrange camping in the afternoon, which is usually peak rain time. And of course, don't forget to pack waterproof garments!

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Drakensberg for hiking?

To have dry paths and good viewing conditions, the ideal time for hiking in Drakensberg is between April and October. Hikers can expect predictable weather with mild temperatures, fewer thunderstorms and snow, and longer daylight hours. However, depending on safety measures and personal preferences, hikers can benefit from hiking in other seasons as well. Show more

Where is Drakensberg Mountain located in South Africa?

Drakensberg Mountain, also known as the Barrier of Spears, spans over 1,000 km from north to south and is located in the Kwazulu-Provinces of South Africa. It's situated near the border of Lesotho and is known for its breathtaking beauty. Among the most popular areas in Drakensberg are Cathedral Peak, Amphitheatre Valley, Champagne Valley, Didima Valley, and Middledale Pass Valley. Show more

What are the most visited areas in Drakensberg for hiking?

Cathedral Peak, Amphitheatre Valley, Champagne Valley, Didima Valley, and Middledale Pass Valley are the most sought-after destinations for hikers in Drakensberg. From beginners to experienced hikers, these areas have plenty of options to showcase the beauty of nature. Apart from hiking, visitors can observe rare game species, magnificent waterfalls like Tugela Falls, and other mesmerising views that have made Drakensberg a paradise. Show more

What kind of weather conditions should I expect during the rainy season in Drakensberg for hiking?

The rainy season in Drakensberg runs from November to March (summer in South Africa), and hiking should be done with caution during this period. With heavy rains, thunderstorms, and fog impeding views, it's not the safest time to hike. However, hiking amid lush greenery and abundant water is still a popular choice, and hikers need to check weather forecasts, ensure they're waterproofed, and plan their hike accordingly. Show more

What safety precautions should I take when hiking in Drakensberg during the winter season?

To avoid extreme weather conditions when hiking in Drakensberg, it's advisable to visit between May and August. During this winter season, hikers can enjoy mild temperatures, predictability, and fabulous views. Temperatures can still drop, and occasional snow and sleet weather can occur, so it's vital to pack warm clothing, ample food, and water, and take other precautions such as checking weather forecasts, planning a safe camping spot, wearing sturdy boots, and avoiding hiking alone. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin