About Philip Grant

Philip Grant was born in England in 1953, but moved to Africa at an early age with his parents and has lived in Africa for most of his life, at first in West Africa, and then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where he was educated. While still at school Philip completed a three week Outward Bound course in the Chimanimani Mountains of Zimbabwe, which made a lasting impression on him.

Once settled and married in South Africa, many special holidays were spent hiking and backpacking in the Drakensberg Mountains. After moving to their small farm near Boston near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal in 1993, Philip discovered many beautiful walks and hikes in the area and also in the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and other surrounding areas. He enjoyed introducing them to other hikers and sharing his love of the outdoors. This led to his association with hiking clubs such as the Sani Hiking Club (Underberg) [www.drakensberg.org] Midlands Hiking Club (Howick) [http://www.gohiking.co.za] and the Mountain Backpackers Club (Durban) [www.mountainbackpackers.co.za]    

In December 2005, Philip qualified as a Drakensberg Mountain Walking Guide, founded Southern Secrets Hiking and Backpacking, and is registered with all the relevant authorities including CASTHETA (Tourism Hospitality Education and Training Authority), Tourism KwaZulu Natal (KZN 0904) and the MDT (Mountaineering Development and Training  Trust No 849). In addition to being an accredited AMAFA Rock Art Custodian and an Honorary (Voluntary) Officer with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in the Southern Drakensberg, he also holds the necessary First Aid Certificate and a Professional Driving Permit.

Since qualifying, he has successfully completed many guiding trips, which include 4x4 driving on Sani Pass, multi-day Lesotho pony trekking and cultural trips, rock art and nature walks as well as day and multi-day hiking trips.

These trips have mainly been for Drakensberg Adventures  [www.drakensbergadventures.co.za] and Wildways Adventures [www.wildways.za.net] as well as other well known tour operators in the area such as Thaba Tours [www.thabatours.co.za] Sani Pass Tours [www.sanipasstours.com] and Major Adventures [www.majoradventures.com]

Philip has an extensive intimate knowledge of the Southern Drakensberg from Injasuthi to Bushmans Nek including Sehlabathebe in Lesotho, as well as a very good working knowledge of the Central and Northern Drakensberg. He has hiked several five day 'Mini Traverses', (75kms at over 3000m) from the Sentinel to Cathedral Peak (2004 and 2005) and in 2005 he completed the thirteen day 'Grand Traverse', (230kms at over 3000m) from the Sentinel to Bushmans Nek, organised by the Mountain Backpackers Club.

Recently he has been exploring the potential of the Eastern Cape Drakensberg. In 2007 he organised and led a five day high traverse, (80kms) from Ongeluksnek near Matatiele, to Tiffendal and Ben Macdhui (3001m) in the Eastern Cape, and in 2008 he led and organised another four day exploratory hike into Lesotho from Ongeluksnek. Since then he has been exploring ‘cross-cultural’ hiking options in the Mnweni area of the Northern Drakensberg and the Eastern Cape Drakensberg. In 2010 he organised a pony trekking trip to the source of the Senqu (Orange) River from within Lesotho. Over Easter 2011 he organised a six day ‘cross-cultural’ hike through the Mnweni area to Lesotho and back, including a night camped at a Basotho village and the last night in a Zulu homestead. The story of this hike was featured in the October 2011 issue of SA’s Go! Magazine [www.gomag.co.za].


In 2013 he rode a horse to the summit of the (new) highest point in the Eastern Cape (3019m) and has been active in lobbying for this peak to be named iNtaba Mandela in honour of Nelson Mandela. More recently, together with his wife Christeen, he has been exploring pony trekking options from Sani Top to isolated villages within Lesotho.

His interests, both in discovering beautiful hidden places, the so called ‘southern secrets’, experiencing the wealth of flora, fauna and rock art in the Drakensberg and adjacent areas, as well as an in depth understanding and love of Lesotho and its people, are shared with his wife, Christeen, who is also a registered Nature and Cultural Guide and Mountain Walking Guide (KZN 1025). Together they are able to offer specialist trips such as visits to San or Bushman Rock Art sites, wildflower walks and hikes, birding trips etc.


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Dear Philip,

Just a quick note to tell you that we had a safe journey home and are now back in Hamburg. It'll be a few days before I can write to you more extensively, but I thought I'd drop you a line so that you know that we haven't forgotten you - how could we! It was such a marvelous day we spent up in the mountains - clearly one the highlights of the entire trip to ZA. Thank you again for your masterly guidance and untiring willingness to explain everything to us, from flora and fauna to the history of the Basotho, the current situation of your host country etc.

When I get round to it, I'll mail you some of the photographs we took although I am sure you get swamped with snapshots from many of the people you go hiking with.

Lots of love from Niels & Maike

Dear Philip and Christeen,

Happy New Year. I hope this e-mail finds you well and enjoying summer. It's a bit chilly here, but the sun is shining. Jeff and I are well and still hiking. We've been reviewing our adventures in 2007 and our time in the Southern Drakensberg was top of list. We've had fun recounting our adventures at the premier's trout fishing camp, hiking through the snow, horseback riding among the interesting rock formations, the young Lesotho shepherds and coming upon Philips 'garden spot'. What a grand adventure! 

Take care and best wishes for 2008.  Hope you have the opportunity to share the beauty of the Southern Drakensberg with many others.

Nancy and Jeff

Hi Philip,

Just dropping you a line to express again my gratitude for an absolutely amazing 3 days we spent in the Berg about a month ago! It was definitely one of the highlights of my holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed being in nature and I also really enjoyed the conversations we had with the three of us. I cannot stop raving about it to my friends really. On my trip in SA I have recommended you to several people, hope they have contacted you.

I will definitely come back some day to undoubtedly have another amazing experience! Thanks so much


Hi Philip,

Its Kim, remember me? You took my friend Emily and me into Lesotho, back in May. I’m the one who had just come from climbing the Column.

I just wanted to write and say hello, and to thank you for such a wonderful trip. You truly made that trip meaningful for me, and provided such great information, conversation, and company!

I’m back in the US now, and although it’s good to be back in the familiar, I miss Africa and all the wonderful memories I made there. I hope to make it back in the future, and would love to get back into the Drakensberg!

Hope the winter is bringing generous snowfall and fun adventures!

Thank you again! Cheers