Tugela Falls via the Chain Ladders

About the Trail

Although this is by far one of the easiest routes to take to get on top of the escarpment, you should still be well prepared for severe mountain weather. It is known that storms can arrive without warning at any time of the year and it is not unknown to get snow in winter. Be well prepared with a warm jacket and rain wear even if it’s just a day outing.

This walk is a popular overnight trip as well and a tent will be needed if you choose to sleep over. Sleeping over will allow you to experience most probably one of the best sunrises in South Africa.

The path starts at the Witsieshoek Car Park and follows the contour path towards the Witches and then swings towards the zigzags, the path has been upgraded with paving stones to help curb erosion, so stay on the path and don’t take short cuts as this leads to erosion. The path will lead up to the base of the Sentinel and veering to the right it gently climbs on a contour path following the base of the basalt cliffs towering over you. Soon you will reach the chain ladders which is actually 4 ladders in total, that will lead you to the top of the escarpment. The first ladders were commissioned in 1930 by Otto Zunckel and later a second set was installed next to the old one to help speed up the process of going up and down. For those with a fear of heights there is a path up the Sentinel Gully that will bypass the ladders and take you to the top without adding too much extra on to your walk. The path will lead you to the top of the falls where you can find a number of vantage points to view the water tumbling down 614m into the basalt abyss below. Take care on a windy day as the wind can be very strong on this exposed plateau.

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Tugela Falls
Tugela Falls via the Chain Ladders


Distance: 12.2km

Elevation: 483m

Ask the Expert who knows this trail

Author: Berg Adventures

Bio: Deon is a hiking guide that specialises in the Drakensberg Mountains

Email: drakhike@gmail.com


What makes Tugela Falls via the Chain Ladders such a special hike?

This is without a doubt one of the greatest trails in the world, where you will be able to get up close to the fourth highest waterfall in the world.


The trail experience


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