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Amphitheatre Chain Ladders
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed 24 August 2016

There are two options for hiking to the top of Tugela Falls: either via the gully or via the chain ladders. Use the chain ladders as the gully is steep with loose rocks - it is significantly more dangerous.

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank aidandaniel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"car park"
in 6 reviews
"mountain lodge"
in 3 reviews
"tugela falls"
in 6 reviews
"few meters"
in 2 reviews
"worth the effort"
in 2 reviews
"fear of heights"
in 2 reviews
in 21 reviews
in 9 reviews
in 4 reviews
in 4 reviews
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in 3 reviews
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26 - 30 of 37 reviews

Reviewed 20 July 2016

This is not for those with vertigo, but if you can bring yourself to climb the two ladders, the view on top is more than enough of a reward. This is one of those places that one wishes everybody can experience, because photos do not comprehend the fantastic views.

Date of experience: July 2016
Thank Pinky2011_4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2016

We only did one hike in the Drakensberg area, but we could not have been any happier with the one we chose. When you get to the top of the amphitheatre you see wast distances into Kwazulu Natal and Free State. It is amazing to stand at the edge of the great plateau. All of a sudden you are no longer looking up at the Drakensbergs, you are in them. We are in our mid twenties and did the walk up the gully and down the chain ladders in less than five hours. We had a few questions before we went on the hike, and we did not find answers to all of them before the hike, so here are the answers to the questions we had before the hike:
- The chain ladders are safe, but falling of them are far from safe (the highest one is probably more than 10 meters high). They could have been rigged as a via feratta in Europe.
- It is safer and absolutely possible to walk up and down "the gully". However it is very steep and we found it to be a little strenuous. When you see "the gully" you will know it. The gully will be visible to the left along the path. A few meters up you will also find a wooden pole, but up through the gully you will not find additional marking apart from the path itself.
- We found the transfer from the transfer from the Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge to the Sentinel car park well worth it (R110 pp) and were happy that we did not try to drive our two wheel rental car there.
- Before we travelled we read that one had to register to do the hike. This is not something you have to worry about. This is something you do at the Sentinel car park. You will also have to pay a small fee there (less than R50).
- You do not really need a map in clear weather. If you really want to know where you are and your progress, I can recommend the app maps.me (free). The map of South Africa is not perfect, but the section covering this path is surprisingly good. It shows the two different routes to the waterfall (which is not very exiting on its own) in addition to a viewpoint which there also is a signpost to along the trail. It is a short detour which is well worth it.

Date of experience: May 2016
1  Thank ultimatedotvoyage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2016

We were a group of three and took the hike in January 2016. It was the first mountain hike for my teenage son. We were welcomed by friendly personnel at the main gate and also the 2nd gate to the mountain. The directions were not clear and no maps were availed at the gate. So, it is advisable to do your homework prior to taking the trip. We entered the 2nd gate just before 10h00 and exited around 17h00. In the full day we went to the summit - up the two Chain Ladders, which are approximately 50 rungs each. Throughout the trip and certainly at the summit, the views are breathtaking. Sadly there was no running water because of the drought - so the Falls were not real Falls! But that does not take away the hike being worthwhile.

Date of experience: January 2016
Thank SkhuM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 week ago
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Date of experience: January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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