This is the first post of a series of four about a fantastic trip we had to Giant’s Castle in the Drakensberg.
I’d been looking forward to the Drakensberg trip for over two months. Five days in the Berg at Giant’s Castle sounded like the best time in the world. After all the preparations were done, we started off on the great drive. Surprisingly, the drive was quite easy and pleasant. Five or so hours from Joburg is a small price to pay for the incredible nature you get to be in.
As we drove into Giant’s Castle, the views took my breathe away. The reserve is set next to a beautiful river in a valley, surrounded on all sides by rolling mountains. The chalets themselves are fantastic, and fit right into the natural landscape. After checking in we decided to go for a quick exploratory hike.
We head out around five pm or so, hoping to get a decent hike in before the sun set. We head out from the camp on the main trail route which runs along the side of the valley. I cannot overemphasize how beautiful these views are. Rolling mountains with valleys as far as you can see, rivers splitting and joining, with the horizon being filled with the magnificent escarpment.
We did a short hike to the main caves, going through some thick forest, crossing rivers, and ending at the start of the main caves tour. The tour was closed when we arrived, but after finding out more about it we added it to the to do list. In Giant’s Castle, there are many caves left with very well preserved rock paintings, and a tour is given of these along with some incredible history. We head down back to the main path, and then started along a route called Giant’s Ridge. We took some time to soak it all in, and as the sun began to set we head back.
After the short exploratory hike, we had a good idea of some of the routes to take in the coming days: a longer hike to World’s view, the Main Caves tour, a nice river walk and my favourite – a massive epic to summit the escarpment.