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3 Day/ 3 Night Slackpacking Hike - Southern Drakensberg

The Giants Cup Slackpacking Trail follows the well-marked hiking trail that runs along the base of the southern Drakensberg. Contouring around the Sandstone outcrops of the Little Berg, the trail affords magnificent views of the high mountains and a good chance of game sightings, especially during the winter months when eland and other ungulates move down from the higher slopes to graze on the more edible grasses and small trees.

Because there are no sustained climbs on this trail, the hike is surprisingly non-strenuous, making it a good option for friend and family groups that would find the daily ascents of an average berg hike too daunting.

This slackpacking trail effectively covers the first 4 days of the Giants Cup Trail, and can be extended to cover the full 5-day 60km trail all the way through to Bushmens Nek. At the end of each days hike, you are ferried a short distance to a comfortable lodge or farmstay, with your bags awaiting your arrival. This means you can hike the trail without the burden of a heavy pack, giving you more time to take that swim in a refreshing mountain pool or photograph the wild flowers along the way.

Being a three day trail, it is a good option for a long weekend getaway. For those walker's who want to marry fine dining and more luxury lodgings to the experience, this is one of those trails which can be easily upgraded to do so.


Trip Duration Standard Package: 3 Hike Days/ 4 Nights 
* Extra days & customised trails offered on request
Daily Distances Day 1: 13km/ 4-5hr      Day 2: 17.5km / 7-8hr
Day 3: 9-12km /4hr
Trail Grading  
Physical Fitness Grade 3 - Day 2 (17.5km) is a relatively long day though the ascent is not great (7-8hr avg hike time). For older, younger or less fit group members there is the option to skip this day & be transferred to the next lodge.
Technicality Grade 2 – a clear path (relatively well maintained) trail with no sheer vertical sections. A swinging suspension bridge across a small stream is possibly the most technical part.
Trail Terrain Trail contours around the Clarens Sandstone hills of the Little Berg (1250 – 2000M altitude). Clear hiking path, maintained by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Accommodation Farmstays & 3-4 Star equivalent Guesthouse / B&B's
Logistic Support This is a fully-catered & vehicle supported trail, sleeping in comfortable farmhouses or lodges. The trail is self-guided but follows a well marked trail with emergency support service.
Tour Highlights Comfortable lodges, log-fires & hearty country cuisine, spectacular mountain vistas (Giants Cup & Hodgson’s Peak), great swimming holes in the mountain streams, proteas & watsonia’s in flower. Fantastic views from Night 2 Accommodation, Eland and other antelope, swinging bridges.
Other Activities Sani Pass 4x4 Tours, Birding, Flyfishing, San Rock Art & Wild Flowers, Horse-Riding, Quad-biking, Mountain Biking, River Tubing
Fauna & Flora Montane vegetation belt of the Little Berg consisting of grassland (mostly Themeda triandra, which turns brilliant red in winter).  Ouhout & sagewood scrub communities along stream beds.  Krantz aloe, Natal Bottlebrush & Mountain Cabbage. Pink & peach Watsonia’s, Agapanthus & Red Hot Pokers provide beautiful splash of colour whilst flowering.
Good chance of seeing ungulates – Eland, Reedbuck. Birding specials incl. Black Eagle, Cape Vulture, Lammergeir (Bearded Vulture), sunbirds, Ground Woodpeckers, Drakensberg Rockumper. Jackal, porcupine, baboon & rock hyrax also often seen.
Climate Summer (Nov -May) is wet and warm, with most rain during Oct -Mar. Daily temps can climb to 25 - 30 deg C & rain falls mainly as afternoon thunderstorms. Winter (June to Oct) consists of mainly dry, sunny, clear, crisp days with daytime temps avg 15-20 deg C & night-time temps can drop below zero.
Seasonality & Best Time Year All year round. In Summer it is wise to make the most of the mornings, and presume afternoons will be wet. Whilst days are shorter in winter because the weather is more stable, the whole day can usually be used for hiking. Spring & Summer are the best months for wild flowers. March–May and Sept–Nov are particularly good months for Drakensberg hiking. Try avoid months when they burn (beginning of winter)
Group Size Preferred min of 4 persons - maximum 12 for single group, but can accommodate multiple groups, staying in different accommodation   
Price / PP Price quote dependent on group size, but based on a min group of 4 persons - from: R 6400/pp - R7500/pp
Price Includes
  • 4 Nights B&B Accommodation (private guest lodges)
  • 2 x Dinners & Packed lunches included
  • Luggage Transfer from Lodge to Lodge
  • All transfers including end point transfer back to vehicles
  • Park Entry Fees

view across the Drak Gardens valley - from the overnight cottage - Night 3 of the Giants Cup Hiking Trail
Castleburn accommodation - Drakensberg Gardens Valley, just below Castleburn