From hiking to relaxing in Drakensberg, South Africa

I did it. This is me, making it to the scenic and safe end of our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. The steep portions coming down from the hike were scary and unnerving and definitely slow going on my part. At one point, my legs were actually trembling as I was moving slowly down the steep declines, but that hiking a mountain feat, at least for now, has been crossed off my list. (Oct. 8, 2018)

It was an early Monday morning six hour drive from the busy city of Durban inland towards the majestic Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa. Also called the “Mountains of Dragons,” the Drakensberg mountains form part of the international border between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.

The plan, once we arrived at the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa, was to do a group hike…which I thought was for one hour...only to learn that it was actually a three hour hike to Tiger Falls. I really contemplated backing out and waiting on the bus, but even though I pretty much lagged behind the group and needed to make more frequent stops, I’m so glad I did the hike…even though it turned out to be a 4-hour hike….the breathtaking views made it all worthwhile. Thank you Nick and Meshack for staying behind with me and Alexis and Praveeta for chatting with me and keeping me entertained.

Here’s the Drakensberg mountains, our hike to Tiger Falls in the Royal Natal National Park in South Africa, the spectacular Drakensberg mountain views and our stay at the Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge in North Drakensberg. Next is the Lesotho Highlands in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Just making sure I get a photo of myself hiking with our Intrepid tour group and guide, Meshack, to Tiger Falls in the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. Initially, I thought the trek was for an hour but found out when we arrived that it was a 3-hour hike. It was hot, slowing going and I was definitely behind the others with my too frequent stops, but I made it. Thank you to my patient tour mates and to Nick who kept encouraging me to keep on keeping on. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. Alexis and Gunnar getting their scenery snaps in. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The red spiky flowers are the Natal Battle Bush along our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
Meshack, our Intrepid guide, and I chilling for a few minutes at the not so watery waterfalls during our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
Some of our Intrepid tour group checking out the heights during our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
Alexis taking a photo of me while I’m taking a photo of her during our Monday afternoon hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The views from our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
I did it. This is me, making it to the scenic and safe end of our hike to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. The steep portions coming down from the hike were scary and unnerving and definitely slow going on my part. At one point, my legs were actually trembling as I was moving slowly down the steep declines, but that hiking a mountain feat, at least for now, has been crossed off my list. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The Intrepid hiking team to Tiger Falls inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa. From left: Nick, Alexis, Gunnar, Kate, Ian, Angela, Meshack, Ray, me, Helen, Dominic and Praveeta. (Oct. 8, 2018)
A family of baboons on the road and along he road inside the Royal Natal National Park in Drakensberg, South Africa.(Oct. 8, 2018)
The countryside views views of Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The countryside views views of Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 8, 2018)
This gorgeous carved wood statue graces the entrance to our Intrepid camp site, it’s the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 9, 2018)
The entrance to the Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 9, 2018)
The bar and lounge the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa, with an indoor jacuzzi. (Oct. 9, 2018)
The stone and thatched dwellings of the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa, with some rooms located in converted grain silos is surrounded by beautiful indigenous rocks with panoramic mountain views. (Oct. 9, 2018)
My humble abode #28 at the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 9, 2018)
My very comfy #28 room at the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. This room came with an en-suite bathroom, my first since leaving Johannesburg at the beginning of this tour. I felt rather spoiled and enjoyed relaxing in this room, at the bar and on the gorgeous grounds of this lodge. (Oct. 8, 2018)
The grounds of the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. While most of my group participated in an all day Sunday hike, I slept in and enjoyed a chill day. (Oct. 9, 2018)
The grounds of the Amphitheater Backpacker’s Lodge in Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. (Oct. 9, 2018)
Sunday night group dinner at the Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge in Norther Drakensberg, South Africa. Most of our group took the day hike and came back with incredible photos and stories including how the weather changed from warm to cold to raining and even snow. Meshack, our wonderful guide and fabulous chef, made a macaroni lasagna…that was absolutely scrumptious…and a platter full of delicious vegetables in the Amphitheater’s guest kitchen/dining room. I spent this glorious free day lounging, writing and simply just relaxing. Loved it! (Oct. 9, 2018)
Our Intrepid bus/truck (Never sure what to call this sturdy transportation vehicle) had a blown out tire. Goodman, our driver, had to get our vehicle to a local garage which meant a delay in our leaving bright and early. Luckily, Goodman got the tire fixed rather quickly and since we were all packed and ready to go when he got back, the delay for our trip to Kingdom of Lesotho wasn’t too bad. (Oct. 10, 2018)
A close-up of the blown tire that Goodman, our Intrepid driver, was able to get repaired rather quickly so we could get on the road Monday morning to the Kingdom of Lesotho. (Oct. 10, 2018)
Saying good-by Monday morning, after blown tire was fixed, to the South Africa portion of the Drakensberg mountains and the awe-inspiring mountain views from the Amphitheater Backpackers Lodge in Northern Drakensberg. Next stop, the Kingdom of Lesotho. Sept. 10, 2018)