Tugela Falls is a complex of seasonal waterfalls located in the Drakensberg of Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa.
Address: Royal Natal National Park, Giants Castle Game Reserve, South Africa
Longest drop: 1,350′
Number of drops: 5
Elevation: 2,972 m (9,751 ft)
Phone: +27 21 424 1037
Watercourse: Tugela River
Tick off the highest waterfall in Africa and the planet’s second highest waterfall in the Drakensberg (Dragon’s Mountains).The Tugela Falls drops 947 meters down the rock-face of the Amphitheatre in three free-leaping falls. The source of the Tugela River is at Mont-Aux-Sources, several kilometres from where the falls cascade down. Situated in the Royal Natal National Park, the falls are easily seen after heavy rains from the main road into the park. The best time for viewing is during the summer rainfall season. Two superb hiking trails lead to the Tugela Falls. The most spectacular trail is a full day walk to the summit of Mount-Aux-Sources and to the top of the falls. The other trail leads to the foot of the falls up the Tugela Gorge though the indigenous forest. A climb up a small chain ladder takes you to a stunning view of the falls rushing down the Amphitheatre in a series of spectacular cascades.
View of Tugela Falls
The view of Tugela Falls from the top of the Amphitheatre is considered by many to be the highlight of any trip to the Drakensberg. The picturesque and pristine mountain hiking trail takes hikers to the summit of Mount-Aux-Sources and starts at the Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek traveling through Phuthadjhaba, from where it is a fairly short climb to the top of the Amphitheatre. With the use of two chain ladders, one can gain easy access to the summit. This is the only day hiking trail which leads to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment.
Another popular walk is the twenty-three kilometer long hike along the Thukela River to the tunnel. The trail is rather long, but the route is not too strenuous, and hikers of varied fitness should all manage it. The trail travels alongside the river and leads directly up into the Amphitheatre. Near the end of the trail, there is a natural tunnel which has been eroded out of the rock by the river. Above the tunnel, it is possible to continue following the river until the awe-inspiring Thukela Falls can be seen.
Another trail at the Royal Natal National Park leads to the base of the falls. From the base of the falls, the Thukela Gorge is carved through the sandstone layers of the “little” ‘berg. This trail winds through the Tugela gorge, passing through indigenous forests along an easy-to-hike gradient, covering a distance of seven kilometres. The final stretch of the route to the falls consists of a series of boulder crossing over the river. After climbing a small chain ladder visitors can take the opportunity to view the majestic falls, tumbling down the Amphitheatre into a series of five spectacular cascades.
Location & Directions
There are two trails to the falls. The trail to the top of Mont Aux Sources leaves the parking area for “The Sentinel”. The trail is about 4 miles (6.4km) to Tugela Falls, gaining perhaps 1,700 feet (518m) in elevation. A cursory glance might suggest that isn’t TOO hard, but the elevation at the parking area is about 8,300 feet, and the lip of Tugela Falls is close to 10000′ (3048m) above sea level. The air is a bit thinner here.
The second means of access follows the Tugela River upstream through the Tugela Gorge. This trail is 4.3 miles (7km) in length, but the gradient is much more level, gaining perhaps a thousand feet in elevation. The trailhead is roughly 5,200 feet (1585m) above sea level.
Popular Attractions Near Tugela Falls
The Royal Natal National Park is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site. The main features of the park are the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, a rock wall 5 kilometres long by up to 1,200 metres high, Mont-Aux-Sources peak where the Orange and Tugela rivers have their origins and the 948-metre Tugel
Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
National Park in South Africa
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, covering 242,813 ha of area.
Address: Mkhomazi Wilderness area, Drakensberg, 3257, South Africa
Hours: Open today · 9:30PM–12AM
Phone: +27 76 628 0735
Inscription: 2000 (24th Session)
Royal Natal National Park
Park in South Africa
The Royal Natal National Park is in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.
Address: South Africa
Area: 31.25 mi²
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