This pass follows a spectacular route up the Tseketseke River and gully alongside the Pyramid and the Column. Even though it has similar route details to Mlambonja Pass (see above), the upper grassy slopes are a lot steeper and make this pass feel as if it belongs in the Mnweni area. The beautiful river section and stunning views near the top make this a classic Drakensberg Pass.
* * * (6/10)
Difficulty of the pass is rated from 1-10 (10 being very difficult, only to be attempted by the fit and experienced). A subjective quality rating is indicated by the number of stars (1 being low, 5 being the highest). Factors such as scenic beauty and overall experience come into play here, which may differ from person to person.
There are many ways to access Tseketseke Pass but the most direct route would be to hike up to the contour path via the “waterfall route” passing Doreen Falls, Albert Falls and Ribbon Falls and then to follow the contour path for 2 km to the right, descending to the Tseketseke River where the pass starts.
The distance from the contour path at the base of Tseketseke Pass to the top is 3 km with an altitude gain of 1000m.
Scramble up past the small waterfall where the contour path crosses the Tseketseke River and follow the intermittent cairns up the river. After about 1 km of boulder-hopping, a clear path veers off to the right (north) of the river and heads up the steep grassy slopes. The path stays on the northern slopes of the pass, climbing higher and higher, until about halfway up the pass. It then contours back to the river and climbs up the steep, small ridge which heads towards a huge boulder in the centre of the pass near the top. It’s simply a steep slog past this boulder and up the final grassy slopes to the top of the pass at 3000m.
Finding the pass from the escarpment:
There is a large gully heading down the edge of the escarpment to the right (southeast) of the Cockade. This is NOT Tseketseke Pass. Tseketseke Pass is a much smaller gully, a little further up the slope to the right (southeast) of this large gully. Just make sure you have the Column on your left when descending the pass and you will be in the correct gully.
Tseketseke Hut is a convenient (though very dilapidated) shelter on the Tseketseke River, 500m upriver from the contour path. It sleeps about 6 people. There is also a small campsite at the point where the contour path crosses the Tseketseke River. As usual, there is plenty of good camping on the escarpment.
There is a lot of water when boulder-hopping along the river for the first km or so but once the path leaves the river, some small trickles can be found in summer but otherwise the next water is in a river on the escarpment, 100m from the top of Tseketseke Pass.
There is a variation to the south of the main gully, which is described here: