Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lookout Rock / Tiger Falls Hike

The first short hike we did on our stay in the Royal Natal National Park in the Drakensberg was a 6km round trip starting at the gate of the Mahai campsite.  The route took in sights like Tiger Falls, Lookout Rock and the Cascades and takes one up a very steep climb and gradually back down in an anticlockwise direction.  Because we were going to do the walk with the Rugrats we decided to rather do it in a clockwise direction as they would have struggled up the steep section.

Right from the start of the walk going up the rolling hills the fantastic views started to open up all around.  It was a nice sunny day and the mountains were stunning.  From the top of the first hill we looked down on the Mahai campsite and we could see our tent in the distance.  For the first kilometer Drama Princess was at her best objecting to the hike and trying to find every reason in the book for us to turn around while Chaos Boy loved the walking and took the lead.
About two kilometers into the walk we entered the protea belt that seems to run along the mountains as we encountered it on another walk at about the same distance up the mountain.  The Sugar Bush is one of 6 protea species that grow in the Natal Drakensberg and must be breathtaking when its all in flower.  At this time of the year only a few of the bushes had flowers on them though.  By now Drama Princess had gotten into the walk and stopped moaning which meant that we could enjoy the scenery more without having a running (walking) battle with her.

Just after the halfway mark we passed the Tiger Falls.  By now the day was starting to get hotter and we paused for a rest at the bottom of the waterfall.  The Rugrats had their costumes on and it wasn't long before they cooled down in the cold mountain water tumbling over the falls.  I will do another post at a later stage with a couple more photos of Tiger Falls. 

The literal highlight of the tour was getting to Lookout Rock.  Here we encountered a number of huffing and puffing red faced folk who have come up the steep trail and who you could have knocked over with a feather when they realised that they could have done the trail in reverse and avoided the hill.

Looking up towards the mountains you could see Gudu Falls in the distance.  If I had an extra day at the end I would have attempted the walk up there, but there was just too much to see and with all the rain we had not enough time to do it in.

Down the valley we could see our final destination back at Mahai in the distance way below us.  On the way back down we had a swim at Cascades, but that's for another post. Oh yes, and while going down the hill I was looking around so much for things to photograph that I missed the path and rolled my ankle.  It didn't stop me though and for the next two days I made my way around, somewhat slower, with a tennis ball sized ankle.


  1. Such spectacular country. Love the lush greens and flowers. Plus those views..... Glad Drama Queen came around. Sorry to hear about the ankle.

  2. Stunning views!! We've done that trail too. Glad Drama Princess got the hang of it and enjoyed it in the end - nothing worse than a moaning child when you are trying to enjoy every step!
    Ouch .. too bad about the ankle

  3. I'm a bit late getting to your holiday pics, but so glad I have. I spent many childhood holidays at Royal Natal and this is bringing back so many memories. Even though I haven't been back for years (decades!) it still all looks so familiar and so beautiful. Must admit I was a reluctant walker (just like your daughter!) but now I long to go back for a walking holiday. This is really motivating me to plan a trip!