Prices_files/WATERFALL.

SOUTHERN SECRETS HIKING & BACKPACKING

GUIDED DRAKENSBERG & LESOTHO HIKING AND TREKKING

Hike Options & Prices


The following sample hikes and prices are meant to be a guide only. All Southern Secrets itineraries are flexible and depend on a number of variable factors.


Final itineraries and prices will be decided on after ascertaining the number of clients in the group, their wishes and preferences (such as scenery, fauna and flora, rock art etc) their abilities and fitness levels, objectives, prevailing weather conditions, and whether food and/or kit is required..


Starting times would be as early as possible each day especially in the summer months. This enables the next overnight spot to be reached in good time before the usual afternoon thunderstorm and to make the most of the day. If the weather stays clear on any afternoon, it can be spent swimming, exploring and relaxing.


NB: Prices are quoted in SA Rand and are correct for 2014 but are subject to change without notice. They exclude food, transport and kit hire if applicable.


If food is required to be supplied for an overnight hike, it would be charged at R250.00 per person per day. Food supplied would be simple, light to carry, nutritious and as tasty as possible.

 

Day Hikes

Southern Secrets Day hike routes are carefully chosen to show off the best of the Drakensberg and as many of the ‘southern secrets’ as possible. They incorporate majestic scenery, towering rock ramparts, pristine streams and rivers with interesting fauna and flora and often San or Bushman Rock Art.


As much pure wilderness as possible is included. The distance normally covered would be somewhere between 10kms and 15kms, but could extend to as much as 20kms or more on request. Altitude gain would be around 300m to 500m, but could extend to over 1000m if climbing a ‘High Berg’ peak such as the Rhino Horn (3256m). A packed lunch would need to be ordered from your accommodation establishment if required.


The starting time is flexible, but will be as early as possible, depending on prevailing weather conditions.


Price:


   Professional Hiking Guide:    Base rate R1,500.00 for 1 up to 4 persons (For groups larger than 4 persons – add R375.00 per

                                                extra person per day).


   EKZN Wildlife day entry:        R25.00 to R30.00 per person depending on venue.

 

Wildflower and Nature Trips

(Day or Multi-day)


Southern Secrets Southern Drakensberg Wildflower and Nature day trip would start at one of the EKZN Offices in the Southern Drakensberg, or Underberg / Himeville for Sani Pass. Routes are carefully chosen to show off an exceptional array of endemic flora and fauna. They incorporate majestic scenery, pristine streams and rivers within as much wilderness area as possible.


The distance normally covered would be somewhere between 2kms and 5kms, to give time to identify, photograph and enjoy the wildflowers, birds and animals seen, but could extend to as much as 10kms on request.


The best of the flowering season is in Spring and Summer. The trip would be tailor-made to suit the client’s particular interests. A packed lunch would need to be ordered from your accommodation establishment.


Several days can be spent walking through wildflowers in the Southern Drakensberg and Lesotho. Options include exploring the diverse range of different wildflower species and endemic birds as the altitude increases up the iconic Sani Pass, spending one or two nights at Sani Mountain Lodge (previously known as  Sani Top Chalet), to take in the alpine species along the Drakensberg Escarpment. Then travel into Lesotho to Black Mountain Pass and the Maloti Valleys beyond. Visit some remote pristine wilderness areas to immerse yourself in the stunning array of Flora and Fauna.


Starting times each day are flexible, but will be as early as possible, depending on prevailing weather conditions.


Price:


   Professional Nature Guide:    Base rate R1,500.00 per day for 1 up to 4 persons (For groups larger than 4 persons – add

                                                R375.00 per extra person per day).


   EKZN Wildlife day entry:        R25.00 to R30.00 per person depending on venue.


   4x4 Transport hire:               Price on request


                                                NB: PASSPORTS ARE ESSENTIAL IF ENTERING LESOTHO!

 

Hikes to Sleep in Rock Shelters (Caves) or a ‘Caves Traverse’

(2 days 1 night up to 5 days 4 nights)


There are many beautiful overnight rock shelters to choose from in the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg that have to be seen to be appreciated. Humans are dwarfed by massive sandstone cliffs which form the rock overhangs, and nearby cascading waterfalls and pools are typical. The views, through natural indigenous forest into and across the valleys below are unequalled. Most of the routes to and from the caves and the caves themselves are in wilderness. In most cases, the routes incorporate very good San or Bushman Rock Art sites.


A ‘Caves Traverse’ can incorporate several different combinations of rock shelters in the Drakensberg, and can be extended by hiking from one suitable overnight rock shelter to the next, or by staying for two nights in one rock shelter, allowing a full day to explore the surrounding area, swim in pristine rock pools, climb a nearby ‘High Berg’ peak, or simply relax and enjoy some unspoiled wilderness.


Distance covered each day would be between 10kms and 12kms, with a typical altitude gain or descent each day of around 500m. After arriving at the rock shelter and making camp, there is normally time to swim or explore.


Starting times each day are flexible, but will be as early as possible, depending on prevailing weather conditions.


Price:


   Professional Hiking Guide:        Base rate R1,650.00 per day for 1 up to 4 persons (For groups larger than 4 persons – add

                                                    R400.00 per extra person per day).


   EKZN Wildlife overnight fee:      R45.00 per person per night

 

South Africa / Lesotho Cross-Cultural Hikes

(3 days 2 nights up to 6 days 5 nights)  NB: PASSPORTS ESSENTIAL.


This Southern Secrets hiking trip is unique anywhere in Southern Africa as it encompasses pristine mountain wilderness hiking in the South African Maloti Drakensberg World Heritage Site, and a night in a rock shelter (cave), with a trip across an international border into a remote village in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. In addition, time is spent in Lesotho’s spectacular and unspoilt Sehlabathebe National Park.


The hike is designed to provide as many contrasts as possible, cultural interaction, as well as experiencing some of the ‘southern secrets’. When staying the night in the Basotho Village, there will be time for a guided walk, and an introduction to Lesotho mountain village life and culture. Dinner and breakfast will be traditional meals, and we will sleep in an authentic Basotho hut.


Among other alternatives on the hike, there would be a possible option to climb the magnificent freestanding peaks of Baroa ba Bararo or ‘The Knuckles’ (3050m). San or Bushman Rock Art sites can also be visited.


On the 4 day version of the hike, the last night is spent in the relative luxury of the Sehlabathebe Park Lodge in Sehlabathebe National Park. Among other alternatives on the hike, there would be a possible option to climb the magnificent freestanding peaks of Baroa ba Bararo or ‘The Knuckles’ (3050m). On the 4 day version of the hike, it is possible to include a walk to Tsoelikane Falls, or to go horse riding with a local guide. San or Bushman Rock Art sites can also be visited.


In the Mnweni area of the Northern Drakensberg it is possible to do a longer and more strenuous version of a cross cultural hike interacting with both Basotho and Zulu cultures. Porters are available in this part of the Drakensburg if required. Alternatively it is possible to enjoy a Zulu village visit with virtually no hiking at all! This would suit those who are unable to walk long distances for any reason.


Starting times each day are flexible, but will be as early as possible, depending on prevailing weather conditions.


Price:


   Professional Hiking Guide:        Base rate R1,850.00 per day for 1 up to 4 persons (For groups larger than 4 persons – add

                                                    R400.00 per extra person per day).


   Rock Shelter (Cave)         R  45.00 per person

   Village                     R220.00 per person (including dinner and breakfast)

 

High Traverse Hikes

(3 days 2 nights up to 5 days 4 nights) 

NB: Due to hiking along the S.A. / Lesotho Border, PASSPORTS ARE ESSENTIAL.


Hikes such as these are extreme and should only be tackled by persons who are very fit and are prepared to endure a little discomfort in return for spectacular views and vistas.


At times, weather conditions on top of the Drakensberg Escarpment can be very cold and windy, and visibility can be compromised by mist and rain. Snow is possible in any month of the year, but falls mainly between May and November. Kit and clothing must be of the highest standard.


Examples of such hikes are the ‘Mini Traverse’ from the Sentinel to Cathedral Peak in the Northern Drakensberg, or the Southern Traverse from Sani Pass to Bushmans Nek. Because the start and end points are a long way from each other, necessary transport arrangements must be made.


As most of the hiking is along the SA Lesotho border, it would not be in the pure wilderness of the World Heritage Site. Other people such as Basotho shepherds, as well as domestic animals such as sheep, goats, cattle and horses are likely to be encountered, although a sense of isolation, and of being a long way from anywhere, is prevalent.


The scenery is wild and starkly beautiful, with many exquisite ridges, valleys, rivers, mountain streams and pools to be discovered. Bird life is interesting with a good chance of seeing raptors such as Cape Vultures and the rare and endangered Bearded Vulture. Distances covered each day would be between 12kms and 20kms. Altitude gain or descent in any day can total 900m and can be as much as 1500m if the route includes a Drakensberg pass.


Shorter versions of High Berg traverses are possible, as well as hikes that take in a night or two at lower altitude in a rock shelter (cave) in a wilderness area, with a couple of nights on the escarpment in tents. These can often be planned to return to their original starting point, thus avoiding the need to make complicated transport arrangements.


Starting times each day are flexible, but will be as early as possible, depending on prevailing weather conditions.


Price:


   Professional Hiking Guide:        Base rate R1,975.00 per day for 1 up to 4 persons (For groups larger than 4 persons – add

                                                    R425.00 per extra person per day).

                                                  

 

Trekking & Pony Trekking in Lesotho

(2 days 1 night and longer) NB: PASSPORTS ARE ESSENTIAL.


Lesotho trekking and pony trekking trips can be arranged by Southern Secrets in combination with other tour operators. They normally involve a 4x4 trip up the legendary Sani Pass and link up with Basotho horse guides and community tourism initiatives.


Overnight accommodation is in villages, and involves considerable cultural interaction with the friendly Basotho people. Philip Grant or Christeen Grant will be the guide and driver to and from Lesotho, and accompany clients on the rides or treks. It is also possible to combine a Southern Secrets hiking trip with a Lesotho cultural trip or pony trekking trip.


Because of the time taken to travel into Lesotho, all trekking and pony trekking trips are multi-day trips, lasting from 2 to 4 days. Longer trips can be arranged.


Philip Grant and Southern Secrets will happily offer help and advice on the best way to compile and combine hiking, trekking and pony trekking itineraries, so as to assist clients to get the most out of the experience.


Price: On Request


Regrettably, due to many variable factors, prices can only be quoted on enquiry, after details such as trip duration and number of people are known.


Philip and Christeen are willing to offer help and advice on the best way to compile and combine hiking, trekking and pony trekking itineraries, so as to assist clients to get the most out of the experience.