Drakensberg Hiking Checklist

The essentials when packing for your Drakensberg hike

Are you and your family planning a hiking trip to the Drakensberg? Hiking sure is one of the most popular activities available for people staying in the Drakensberg and is a definite must do activity if you are visiting the Drakensberg Mountains. The question that always arises is “What to pack when hiking?”.  We have compiled a Drakensberg hiking check list for you so that figuring out what to pack becomes something you no longer need to worry about.

Day Hiking checklist:

  • Safety always comes first, you will need to pack a map of the area and possibly a compass and GPS
  • A small first aid kit can come in handy for small cuts, thorns or headaches that may be experienced whilst on your hike.
  • Sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen are a must in the hot African sun, you don’t want to burn and risk ruining the rest of your holiday because you are suffering from heatstroke and sunburn.
  • Depending on the time of day you choose to take your hike, you will possibly need to pack a headlamp or torch to be able to see where you are going, when the natural light fades.
  • A water bottle is essential to pack so that you stay hydrated and are able to quench your thirst while walking through the Drakensberg mountains.
  • Hiking boots. Although this one may seem like an obvious one, many people choose to pack flip flops when packing for a relaxing holiday away and then forget to think about safe closed shoes for activities such as walking or hiking, so don’t forget yours!
  • A rain proof jacket. Having something rainproof is always a good idea but remember to get dressed in layers, be prepared for the sun and getting warm from the hike too.
  • Socks and tick tubes (if you have). A nice pair of thick hiking socks will help prevent you getting blisters from walking and tick tubes, whilst not an essential, will ensure that you do not collect ticks on your hike with us.
  • Binoculars. If you are an avid bird watcher you will have plenty of time to look through those lenses at the infinite variety of birds that call the Drakensberg Mountain their home.
  • A camera or camera phone. If you are a photo or social media junkie, you will want to capture your hiking moments and views to share with your friends and family.
  • Insect repellent is a good idea too, this will protect you from the pesky mosquitos and repel away any other bug that might consider biting you.
  • And finally, a light snack in case you or one of your kids gets hungry. Try to keep the snack light on your stomach to avoid developing a stitch/cramp and light on your already jam-packed bag to avoid your luggage becoming unpleasantly heavy to carry on your hike.
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Overnight Hiking checklist:

  • all of the items on the day hiking checklist
  • Boots or walking shoes (boots offer protection to your ankles and are recommended if hiking up or down the passes)
  • Spare boot laces
  • 3 Pairs of socks (some people like to hike with a thin pair of socks under their thick pair of socks)
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 1 quick drying shirt
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 2 quick drying trousers
  • 1 shorts
  • Fleece (a thick fleece if hiking in winter)
  • Down jacket
  • Beanie
  • Lightweight full brim hat with chin strap (offers much more sun protection than a normal peak and the chin strap is essential in the wind)
  • Gloves (even in summer)
  • Tracksuit pants and t-shirt for night time
  • Sandals or lightweight flat shoes.
  • Thermals (top and bottom)
  • Bandana (you will be thankful you can cover your ears and face in the wind)
  • Gaiters (for wet grass in summer and snow in winter)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet paper (store in a zip lock bag) and a lightweight trowel
  • Biodegradable body/facewash
  • Quick drying towel or Microfibre towel
  • Waterproof matches in a water-tight container
  • A headlamp with spare batteries
  • Tent with built in groundsheet and tent pegs
  • Sleeping bag (recommend rated at least -5 Celsius)
  • Sleeping bag liner (if hiking in winter for the extra warmth)
  • Self-inflating mattress
  • Backpack with rain cover (65l will fit everything and prevent you from over packing)
  • Camera
  • Power bank to charge your phone and camera.
  • Trekking poles (they are very helpful downhill, you won’t regret it)
  • 20l collapsible water cannister (useful when camping to be used by everyone, especially when water is far from your campsite/cave)
  • 6m of rope (useful if a large boulder section on a pass)
  • Whistle
  • 2 or 3 Ziplock bags
  • Cash (R100 is enough)
  • Passport (if hiking to the escarpment top)
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Some our best hiking trail suggestions in the Drakesberg

Giants Castle Slackpacking trail
Slackpacking in the Drakensberg
Chain Ladder to the top of sentinel Peak and the Tugela Falls
Climb up the chain Ladders to get to the top of the Tugela Fallc
Giants Castle - Central Drakensberg
If you only ever do 1 overnight trail in the Drakensberg than this has got to be it.
Drakensberg Hiking Guide
Need a professional Drakensberg hiking guide?
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