Tugela Gorge
Tugela Gorge
4.5
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles35 reviews
Excellent
23
Very good
9
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Lorraine B
Funchal, Portugal38 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2012 • Family
Pay your entry fee to the park and if you want to climb up to the falls you need to pay a fee for the hike as well. We drove up to the car park at 2500 metres then walked the 9km hike to the falls. To get there you need good shoes, water and a head for heights as you have to climb a chain ladder to reach the top of Sentinel Rock to get to the falls another 200 metres up. The flowers are amazing on the way up with lots of Alpine flowers. If you want to camp in the park you need to have a Park Ranger stay with you. The Hotel seems to be quite run down despite big signs that state it is under new management. Great hiking area.
Written 20 February 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KBBM
Vienna, Austria62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2012 • Couples
At the information center you get some maps and information about the mountains, but not a lot. The woman at the information center wasn't really able to give us some advice on hiking routes and her english was terrible. Miss this information center, ask at your accomodation or try to find some information at the internet.

We visited the Royal Natal National Park instead of the touristy Drakensberg. We headed for the huge waterfall, but in the end we weren't lucky.
It was a very hot, sunny day. No clouds. We payed the entrance fee for the Royal Natal National Park and park at the parking lot. The information center isn't worth a visit.
At the parking lot you pay the usual fee for the "watching after your car service" and register at the list, just in case if you get lost. We started the Tugela Gorge walk. It is quite an easy walk with stunning views of the "Amphitheater" and you can do this on your own. The mountains are beautiful. The path is not really signed, but you can't miss it. Just walk along the gorge. At the end you have the possibility to climp steep chain ledders, but we took a different way to get to the (almost) top of the gorge. As it was summer and hot, unfortunately there was no waterfall.

In total we walked for about 5 and a half hours, 14 kilometers. But it was worth it. We had gorgeous views of the mountains and the gorge. Next time we will definitely stay longer and make more hikes.
Written 5 January 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark Z
Seattle, WA96 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Couples
We stayed in one of the cottages in Thendele and did this as a day hike. The park workers said this is the most popular in Royal Natal National Park and I can see why. It wasn't too difficult with only a little bit of elevation gain and had great views of the Amphitheater most of the hike.

At one point the trail leads into the river bed and you hike in or along the river for a few minutes. We hiked in October so there was little water and the river was pretty much dry. During the rainy season I'm sure it's probably more difficult.

At the end of the hike you have several options to explore around. You can take a ladder up on the right side, which was cool to do but didn't really give us any better views. You can go straight ahead and explore the tunnel. Or you can take the climb on the left side that gives you a higher up view. As it was dry, there was no falls when we were there.

Overall, the hike took us about 5.5 hours, including a 45 minute stop for lunch. Loved the views and we are really glad we did this hike.
Written 26 November 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Martin W K
Basingstoke, UK59 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Solo
It is a good walk with many good vistas. However, do watch out for afternoon thunderstorms. The first hour of the walk is a steady uphill on an exposed and well-maintained path. Then about half-an-hour still exposed but mostly contouring. After that it goes into thickets and along the river/gorge itself.

The problem is that afternoon thunderstorms can develop and, if you don't set off back to the car in good time, you can find yourself on those exposed hillsides in foul weather. On the day I did the walk a hail and heavy rain storm lasted about an hour from about 13:30 with the lightning only on the tops and in the clouds. However, the previous day there had been heavy rain and lightning starting about the same time and lasting into the evening.

Therefore, best to get as early a start as can manage and plan on turning back about 12:00.
Written 13 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rpretorius
31 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Couples
What a scenic and beautiful hike. We hiked from the Gorge car park to the Gorge. The Royal Natal visitors guide and trail map indicates the hike to be 14Km's, but my Endomondo GPS tracker measured it to be closer to 16Km's. I recommend an early start so you can take in all its beauty. Take water and some nutritious food to fuel the body. We only had an apple each, so had to rush back to The Cavern for lunch. Next time we will go for the lunch pack offered by The Cavern.
Written 4 August 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

therapina
Limassol City, Cyprus615 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2014 • Friends
Like others, we entered the Royal National Park, got very little help from the
visitor centre, and registered our details in the book. The guard now has a paper
sheet from the authorities saying not to pay him. So no fee here.
We did the walk on our own but once we got to the top we lost the path. What we
didn't know is that you have to cross the river and walk up the riverbed, in all
crossing the river three times. We only found this out afterwards, so we went back a second day.
It was so hot I told my younger 58 year old walker friend to go ahead. She was
determined to make it but we'd had heavy rains the night before. She crossed the
rivers, climbed over the boulder with the metal ladder and then saw the tunnel.
People were gathered here to eat their lunch before swimming through the water in the
tunnel. They had no belongings such as camera, phone etc and wore swim ware under
their clothes. If you've got these you're scuppered. She tried to climb up the ladder with no rungs, just metal pegs, but ran out of energy. There is very little info on
this - no-one tells you. I told the guard on our return about these problems. The
young people said it was fine he said. I asked him how old his mother was? 47 he
said. Would she walk up there- I aked. All he could do was laugh in denial. So how
are the over 50's and 60's supposed to know that you have to be young, fit and in the know to
ever reach the waterfall.

Having said that as a warning - it is still a great walk, you see so few other walkers, the scenery is stunning and even the birds don't move as they're not used to seeing people.

great walk but it should come with a danger warning and full instructions.
Written 2 March 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stuart S
Pretoria, South Africa17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
Very beautiful hike in Royal Natal. The scenery changes at every bend. We did the hike in September, which is a dry month in the Drakensberg - so the mighty Tugela was a trickle (and no water over the falls). Very easy to follow the trail, just make sure that you go all the way to the tunnel (on the right). We were planning to go all the way to the base of the Tugela Falls, but the chain ladder was 'closed'. We also didn't have enough time or water with us. Did this hike with my 10 and 13 year old children and they managed easily, but you do need a moderate level of fitness to enjoy.
Written 9 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Louise E
Southampton, UK20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Couples
This is a very clearly marked trail. You leave down a steep concrete path from the left of reception, following the clear signs. It is then a fairly relentless slight uphill gradient, that left me quite out of puff, for about an hour. It then follows the slope/hill above the river for another hour, undulating up and down, before dropping down to the river bed for some walking over boulders for about 1km. You then have to walk back up on the hill/side path, which is slightly broken in one place and would be hard for a child to walk over but doable. Once it reaches the tunnel we managed to keep out feet mainly dry (very low water levels + a bit of scooting) but the end of the tunnel has a 6ft high ledge with no ladder (just a pole!!), which is accessed from 1-2ft deep water. We doubled back and tried the ladder (which is marked closed) which was fine and then had to climb up a rock crevasse which had metal pins and tree roots to help (if I can do this, then anyone can). We continued for another 1/2km but the path was very overgrown. It rejoined the earlier path above the 6ft ledge/pole combo and continued on a ledge in the hillside. This had taken us about 4 hours at this point, so we turned back to avoid walking in the dark. 2.5 hrs return.
Written 16 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mégane
France11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2017 • Couples
It's a must-see if you are in the region !

If there is only one hike that you can do, go for the Tugela Falls hike ! Even in winter, it's fabulous. When you reach the top, you are on a huge plateau, above everything else. The sensation is just indefinable.

>> The thing for this hike, and in general for hikes in this region, is that it's difficult to find maps and informations about the tracks. But it's not impossible ! If you want to be super sure, you can go to one of the information centers in the national park. They will provide you very simple maps.

But for the Tugela Falls, there is really NO NEED FOR A MAP. On the spot, the path is super easy to follow. There is only one way to go, you can't get lost ! You will easily find the chain ladders (it's impressive, you have not to be afraid of heights, but it worths it! So go for it!).

In the french book (le routard) the information about the time for the hike is wrong. it's not 8 to 9 hours. Not at all. More like 5 HOURS HIKE for people in good shape (really, I'm not the best walk woman ever, but we ran a bit on the return). You have a big rise to climb at the beginning (like for 1 hour it's tough). But right after this, it's really chilled. Actually it's more or less flat because the path is following the cliff. The very last meters of ascension, you will do it on the famous ladders ! Really scary for me but also amazing. And after, on the plateau, you gave 30 minutes to one hour of chilled walk (flat path) to reach the waterfalls point of view.

ROAD TO GO :

>> the beginning of the track is at the SENTINEL CAR PARK (photo below). Where you can leave your car (you have to give a bit to the guys over there, like 2 or 3 euros, try to negotiate !). From there, there is only one path : the Tugela Falls one. But no signs for it. But it's here, don't worry and start climbing !
BE CAREFUL : the road to go to this car park is not good at all at the end (lot of holes). It's a dirt road on the final 7 kilometers. If you have a small car, it's not impossible, but it's really tough. We rented a car at the time, a , and we really thought that we will kill it and stay for the night there. But we manage to pass through (the return is the most difficult part in the car, because you have to climb a huge dirt rise full of holes). But we saw a lot of small cars do it too, so it's possible but I will advice you to take a good car, a little 4x4 if you can, it will avoid you some really strong fears.

>> To reach this point you have to drive until the very last city before the mountains : it's PUTHADIJABA (not very sure with the spelling, sorry, but ask people over there). From there, everything is indicated to reach the beginning of the hike. We will have signs on the road. If possible, don't stop in this city, at the time it didn't look very safe for us. We had to stop to find some petrol to come back because we forgot to do it before. So check your fuel before!!
Written 3 March 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jirehgrobler
Pretoria, South Africa26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Couples
A favourite walk. One needs to be fairly fit. Nature along this trail is beautiful! It can be hot but there are many parts that one walks in the shade. We passed a few bushbuck and peaceful baboons. It's important to bring water and snacks.
Written 25 December 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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