Royal Natal National Park
A Unesco World Heritage site, renowned for its spectacular scenery and famous mountain trails. Named the Royal Natal National Park after the visit by the British Royal family during a State visit in 1947, earning the right to be called Royal Natal National Park.
Princess Elizabeth(now the Queen) celebrated her 21st birthday during their visit. A bridge was specially built for the Queen, called the Queen’s Causeway, this can be seen on the trail to the Cascades.
The hotel no longer exists, due to neglect by the new Government.
The main feature of this nature reserve in South Africa is the world-famous Drakensberg Amphitheater, a rock wall 5km long. This spectacular cliff face hosts the highest waterfall in Africa. This waterfall can be clearly seen from the Berghouse and Cottages windows in the summertime, especially after a good shower of rain on the mountain top.
The source of the famous rivers, the Tugela River that flows into the Indian Ocean as well as the Orange River that flows 2000 kilometers approximately to the Atlantic Ocean, this part of the Drakensberg is fondly referred to as the Continental divide, for that very reason.
Hiking in the park is very popular, here we will feature 2 trails to hike, the Gorge trail and the Sentinel trail via the chain ladders to the famous Tugela falls.
The Gorge trail is approximately 7.5 km long, one way. The Gorge is absolutely spectacular, steep cliffs either side of the Tugela River, carved by the flow of water from time immemorial. Lovely rockpools to swim in, awesome idea is to take along a picnic to enjoy after the long walk. Look out for the Bearded vulture (Lamergeyer) and the Black Eagle along the way. Many species of birds can be spotted along the way as well as antelope and baboons.
Be sure to sign the Mountain register at the visitors center in the park, prior to your hike and then again on your return.
The Tugela falls hike takes you to the top of the Amphitheater mountain via the Sentinel car park and chain ladders. You will feel like you’ve reached the “Roof of Africa” you will almost be in another country called Lesotho.
A moderate to difficult accent to the top, remember to carry extra clothing, food, and water, as you will reach the top of the mountain 3000m above sea level. Conditions can change rapidly, you could experience 4 seasons in a day!
The trail leaves the Sentinel car park which is approximately 1.5 hours by road from the Berghouse and Cottages. Sign the mountain register on arrival and departure, very important! Take the trail to the chain ladders and summit continue all the way to the waterfall by following the path adjacent to the river, approximately 2.5 km from the ladders. Take a swim(weather permitting) in the “jacuzzi” a pothole 20m from the edge of the cliff and waterfall in the Tugela river! Walk for approximately 250m away from the waterfall to capture the waterfall by the camera.
Guides may be arranged in advance of your visit.