This is an excellent though relatively strenuous 4-day circuit that commences and ends at Mnweni, one of the least developed valley bases in the Northern Drakensberg. You are likely to meet very few hikers here, yet the trek takes you into some of the Drakensberg’s finest scenery. The Rockeries Pass is a long but fine ascent and once on top you’ll have access to precipitous viewpoints, as well as a vulture colony in a very dramatic situation. You’ll experience close-up views of the Cathedral Peak range as you proceed to the descent route via the nTonjelana Pass. A pre-trek stay in a Zulu Kraal at Mnweni makes for a fascinating cultural diversion.
- Trek in one of the most secluded areas in the Drakensberg
- Classic Drakensberg scenery in the Mnweni Cutback area
- Stay in a traditional Zulu Kraal for a night pre-trek
- Get close to a vulture colony in a very dramatic situation
the mnweni circuit in more detail
This is an excellent 4-day circuit that commences and ends at Mnweni, one of the least developed valleys in the Northern and Central Drakensberg. “Developed” that is in the western sense – Mnweni is home to the Amangwane Community, a Zulu tribal faction, whose traditional huts and kraals occupy the head of the valley, adding to the draw of this very attractive corner of the Drakensberg. Other than the excellent Mnweni Cultural and Hiking Centre, there are no hotels or B&Bs up here and the area is rarely frequented by day-walkers.
For those intending to trek for a few days, spend a few nights out and put the effort in to make a long climb over two days up the lovely Rockeries pass, the rewards are numerous – the plateau from which the Orange river springs affords many fine views and as you trek south towards nTonjelana the views over Cathedral Peak and the Bell Traverse are truly impressive.
There is a possibility of meeting Basotho herders en route and experiencing a variety of mountain birds, including the magnificent Bearded Vulture (previously named the Lammegeier, or “lamb killer”), whose wingspan can reach 3m. The vulture colony occupying a series of ledges high up on the escarpment walls, just south of the Rockeries, can be viewed from close proximity and provides mesmeric viewing. Owing to the proximity of tribal lands, this trek can easily be run on a fully portered basis.