An index of passes in the Central Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal.


[1]    [2]    [3]    [4]






Difficulty rating



Key aspects


Used by locals


GPS data
Gray's Pass


3105 m


S29° 04.296

E29° 19.386
 4   major  gpx Grays Pass
Cowl Pass   
2955 m
S29° 04.833
E29° 20.869
 7   no   Monks Cowl
Keartland's Pass  
2045 m
S29° 03.979
E29° 22.622
Ships Prow North Pass (Cathkin Mountain Pass)  
3305 m
S29° 05.781
E29° 19.559
    no  gpx Ships Prow Pass
Ship's Prow South Pass  

3285 m

S29° 05.988
E29° 19.539
 9   minor  gpx Ships Prow
van Heyningen's Pass  
1815 m
S29° 06.332
E29° 26.243
Old Woman Pass   
3005 m
S29° 07.937
E29° 21.257
    unlikely   Injasuthi views
Apes Pass (SG maps version)  
2985 m
S29° 08.249
E29° 21.245
 7   unlikely    
Leslie's Pass  
3075 m
S29° 09.210
E29° 20.637
 6   unlikely  gpx  
Injisuthi Pass  
3225 m
S29° 10.552
E29° 20.785
    no  gpx Injasuthi Pass
Rowsell's Pass         no    
Hilton Pass  
3140 m
S29° 10.855
E29° 21.342
    no   Hilton Pass
Corner Pass (Northern High Approach)  
3155 m
S29° 12.760
E29° 24.471
 5   yes    
Corner Pass (gully)  
3155 m
S29° 12.760
E29° 24.471
 5   unlikely  gpx Corner Pass
Around the Corner Pass   
3110 m
S29° 13.078
E29° 24.673
 5   yes gpx   
Judge Pass  
3135 m
S29° 13.347
E29° 24.629
 4   major  gpx Judge Pass
Gypaetus Pass   
3060 m
S29° 15.156
E29° 25.414
 4   no  gpx  
Bannerman Pass  
3085 m
S29° 15.195
E29° 25.192
 3   yes gpx  Bannermans Pass
Thumb Pass   
3030 m
S29° 16.465
E29° 26.431


  The Thumb
Hlubi Pass (North)   
2990 m
S29° 16.603
E29° 26.353


  Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Hlubi Pass (South)   
2990 m
S29° 16.633
E29° 26.358


 gpx Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Langalibalele Pass  
2920 m
S29° 16.753
E29° 26.137
 2   major   Giants Castle - 06 June 2010
Bond Pass   
3060 m
S29° 17.588
E29° 26.384
 5   no  gpx  
Jarateng Pass North   

3115 m

S29° 18.139
E29° 26.475
 4   unlikely    
Jarateng Pass Middle  
3175 m
S29° 18.578
E29° 26.287
 3   minor  gpx  
Jarateng Pass South   
3140 m
S29° 18.870
E29° 26.482
 3   unlikely    
Katana Pass   
3025 m
S29° 19.393
E29° 27.087
 4   unlikely    


Giant's Castle Pass West variation


3195 m
S29° 20.787
E29° 27.621
Giant's Castle Pass  
3110 m
S29° 20.919
E29° 27.864
 5   yes  gpx  
Giant's Castle Eastern Gully  
3275 m
S29° 20.819
E29° 28.924
Elandshoek Pass   
3120 m
S29° 21.114
E29° 28.804
 5   yes    
Taylor's Pass  
2365 m
S29° 23.000
E29° 31.922
Lotheni Pass North Fork  
2950 m
S29° 21.709
E29° 26.739
    no   Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass
2940 m
S29° 21.787
E29° 26.676
 4   minor  gpx

Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass

(main access) 
2920 m
S29° 21.882
E29° 26.760
 4   yes  

Cattle Rustling on Lotheni Pass

eNtubeni Pass  
2900 m
S29° 22.088
E29° 26.970
 4   unlikely    
Uklebe Pass   
3000 m
S29° 23.733
E29° 25.782
 5   unlikely    
Ka Masihlenga Pass  
3195 m
S29° 23.867
E29° 25.145
 5   unlikely   ka Masihlenga Pass
Redi Pass  
2985 m
S29° 25.514
E29° 26.036
 4   unlikely  gpx  
Buttress Pass - The Passage  
2925 m
S29° 25.979
E29° 25.489
 4   unlikely   Buttress pass (The passage)
Hlatimba Pass North  
2885 m
S29° 26.023
E29° 24.333
 4   unlikely   Hlatimba Pass
Hlatimba Pass South  
2845 m
S29° 26.163
E29° 24.018
 3   major  gpx Hlatimbe pass - South

Mlahlangubo Pass (Hlatimba Valley) 

2890 m
S29° 27.120
E29° 23.448
 3   yes    
Mlahlangubo Pass (gully)  
2910 m
S29° 27.134
E29° 23.282
 3   minor  gpx  


Ntsupenyana Pass


2810 m
S29° 27.835
E29° 22.254
5    unlikely    
Ngaqamadolo Pass North  
2830 m
S29° 27.874
E29° 22.113
 5   unlikely    
Ngaqamadolo Pass South  
2900 m
S29° 28.078
E29° 21.975
 5   unlikely    
Dyke Pass
2980 m
S29° 27.997
E29° 20.563
Mkhomazi Pass  
2870 m
S29° 28.702
E29° 19.171
 4   major  gpx  
Mohlesi Pass  
3165 m
S29° 29.023
E29° 18.310
 6   no    
Nhlangeni Pass  
3225 m
S29° 29.428
E29° 17.565
 5   unlikely   Nhlangeni Pass
ka-Ntuba Pass  
3310 m
S29° 31.203
E29° 17.787
 6   minor  gpx kaNtuba Pass
Twin Peak Pass          yes    
Mangaun Pass  
3035 m
S29° 32.498
E29° 18.807
 6   no  gpx  
Ntshintshini Pass  
3120 m
S29° 32.860
E29° 18.502
 7   unlikely    
Mqatsheni Pass  
3200 m
S29° 33.304
E29° 18.682
 7   unlikely    
Mqatsheni South Pass
3020 m
S29° 33.947
E29° 19.267
Phinong Pass  
2935 m
S29° 34.501
E29° 19.556
 4   Yes    


1. By Drakensberg standards the majority of passes are those which provide access to the escarpment, and this is naturally where much of the interest by hikers lies. Some trails that provide access to the Little Berg plateau have been designated the status of "pass" in the names that were given to them. This list simply honours that historical designation, and no attempt it made in determining whether other trails that provide access to the Little Berg should be given the same designation. Some passes provide passage over a range, but not to the escarpment. These are included in this list on a case-by-case basis that is mainly driven available documentation provided by those who explore these options. Finally, some unusual routes, such as ones that link up the summits of two different passes via a traverse are also included here on a case-by-case basis.


2. Some passes can be considered classic in the sense that they offer a good, recommended route that has a well-worn trail. Other passes may have less of a trail, or no trail at all, but may still be good options for reasonably fit and competent hikers. Some routes are very adventurous, often being strenuous, crossing difficult terrain, and with challenging route-finding. Certain routes may even be described as "technical". This list, in seeking to be comprehensive, lists all of the above. It could be argued that some routes listed here are actually mountaineering routes and should not be referred to as a "pass". Several routes listed here could land a party up in serious trouble if they are ill-prepared or if they have wrongly assessed their own competency. The reader is asked to use the information presented here with caution and sober assessment.


3. Passes may have more than one route leading to the same summit point. Others have routes that converge well below the summit. On the other hand there are passes that are considered distinct from each other yet share common approaches, while others are described as variations of a main route. While attempting to draw attention to what options are available to hikers, this list currently does not follow strict definitions in how these distinctions are made.


4. The names provided have a variety of origins and should by no means be considered final or official. While many names used here are well established and documented in classic Drakensberg literature and maps, there are a significant amount that have arisen in more recent times. Many have been put forward and utilised by hikers who are active on Vertical Endeavour's forum (or who at least follow the forum). There is currently no system for documenting these origins. There is also no framework or set of guidelines whereby such names can be proposed, researched, ratified or even revised. There may be other names in use that could be more appropriate - even among hikers different names may be used. Even in the absence of alternate names, the ones put forward may not always be the most appropriate ones.


5. Heights are drawn from maps wherever possible, and in some cases from literature. In the absence of these, the heights are drawn from hand-held GPS readings, which may not be accurate. Currently there is no system for indicating where the figure comes from. Figures may be adjusted from time to time.


6. These co-ordinates are recorded using hand-held GPS devices and thus may be subject to a degree of inaccuracy. Likewise, using this data across different devices will also result in some variance.


7. The difficulty grading system is developed and maintained by Stijn Laenen, Jonathan Newman and Tony Marshall on a voluntary basis. Effort is made to maintain accuracy and eliminate bias but readers are reminded that any sort of grading system is subject to interpretation and opinion. One person's experience on a pass will differ from another due to a variety of reasons. The ratings are a comparison of Berg passes relative to each other - always bear in mind that all Berg passes should be considered challenging hikes in a mountainous environment. A good level of fitness, resilliance and competency is required for any Berg pass. While aimed at being a useful guide, remember that the authors cannot be held responsible for the way this information is used, nor for any adverse outcomes resulting from decisions which were made using this information.


8. Keywords are used to convey important ascepts about each pass in a succinct manner. They help paint a picture of what a pass may be like with the limitation that they may not always convey the entire picture. This feature is in a beta phase and is subject to frequent updates and corrections.


9. "Locals" here refers to other people who make use of these passes apart from hikers. They may be from South Africa or Lesotho and can include smugglers, rustlers, herdsmen, traders and migrant workers. The knowledge of which passes are used by them, and to what extent, helps create a realistic picture for hikers to know what to expect when exploring these mountains. This is particularly relevant for helping hikers make informed decisions to reduce their risk to crime. For example it is generally a good precaution to try not overnight directly on busy trails as much as possible. However, just because a pass is used heavily by locals does not necessarily mean that incidents are taking place there. The security-related discussions on our forum keep track of the "where", "what" and "why" of these incidents. Vertical Endeavour seeks to portray an accurate and honest picture of what is going on in the Berg - not to frighten people away but rather to help them make good decisions to reduce the risk of problems.


10. This page is always being updated, edited and improved as more or better information becomes available. Those who have contributed to the maintenance of this information include Chris Sommer, Merv Gavin, Andrew Porter and Tony Marshall.

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