Tugela Gorge Hike

14 Oct 2011 11:00 #4362 by plouw
Tugela Gorge Hike was created by plouw
I need some advice on the Tugela Gorge hike. Would you have to be very fit? i want to take some first time hikers in December up to the bottom of the falls, or as close as we can get, depending on the state of the river. I have camped at Mahai before, but was bit dissapointed that you don't have a view of the Amphiteatre from the campsite. What is the Rugged Glen campsite like? views, facilities, etc.
Any other advice on the hike will be appreciated. Thanks

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14 Oct 2011 11:43 #4367 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
I did this hike on 24 December 2005 (my 3rd Berg hike ever). Its far and "difficult", but considering it was very hot on that day and we didn't have a proper back pack (not to mention the fact that I was nowhere near mountain fit), you should be ok. Its a very nice hike, but the river water is dodgy, so take purification tablets...

Some advice, climb the chain ladder at the split in the path (check the awesome tunnel) and keep walking for about 4km after this (my brother lead the hike and he has a no-path-no-walking policy, so we turned around when it becomes a rock scramble), from what I read in David Bristow's Best Hikes of the Drakensber, the rock scramble is the best part...

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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14 Oct 2011 13:15 #4369 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Tugela Gorge Hike

plouw wrote: What is the Rugged Glen campsite like? views, facilities, etc.

I haven't stayed at Rugged Glen for ages (as in >15 yrs) but I always preferred RG to Mahai - which is much more like a 'beach' campsite with pitches next to each other, v.big, often v.crowded. RG was quieter, more rustic, in a nicer spot etc. I don't know what security is like at RG though.

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14 Oct 2011 13:31 - 14 Oct 2011 13:33 #4371 by Kragbees
Replied by Kragbees on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
I've done the gorge 2 times in the past few years. Bit of an unhill climb going in, but not too bad, and back is mostly downhill obviously. Lots of forest and places to cool down though. Think its 11km in total.

Wanted to camp at Rugged Glen, but did not feel safe at all (probably due to no other people !), so booked in at Mahai, at least it was only 1/4 full. Yes, the fact that there is no view of the Amphiteatre is a bit sucky, but I guess you only have to walk a 1km or so to get a proper view.

Climb the chain ladder, and boulder hopped for 1km or so, but turned around as it seemed to much of a mission to continue. also went up to the cave (to the left at the chain ladders/tunnel), nice view of the waterfall from there.
Last edit: 14 Oct 2011 13:33 by Kragbees.

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14 Oct 2011 13:44 #4372 by elinda
Replied by elinda on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
I did the Gorge hike some years ago - we also tried to get to the foot of the Falls. After the tunnel, the going gets heavier - lots and lots of boulder hopping. We eventually had to turn back as we were running out of time and it's quite a long trek back. Also did the Devils Tooth gully a couple of weeks back as we were trying to get to Tooth Cave. Not for the fainthearted - plenty of boulder hopping, scrambling and steep grass banks to contend with. You definitely need abseiling gear to get down again. Anyone else done this recently?

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14 Oct 2011 14:13 #4373 by kliktrak
Replied by kliktrak on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
Hey

check out this place, a little further away but will give you a view of the Amphitheatre:
www.amphibackpackers.co.za/

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14 Oct 2011 15:15 #4374 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Tugela Gorge Hike

elinda wrote: Also did the Devils Tooth gully a couple of weeks back as we were trying to get to Tooth Cave. Not for the fainthearted - plenty of boulder hopping, scrambling and steep grass banks to contend with. You definitely need abseiling gear to get down again. Anyone else done this recently?


We managed to get up to Tooth Cave without using climbing gear but couldn't avoid a fairly long abseil down the waterfall on the way back. My climbing partner was pretty tired and pulled the ropes down at the end of the abseil straight into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall - adding a few more kilos to the rope weight for the way back.

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14 Oct 2011 16:32 - 14 Oct 2011 16:36 #4375 by Sterkhorn
Replied by Sterkhorn on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
The hike from the Tendele carpark to the tunnel is about 5 km long and not too difficult - I have taken a number of groups up, even children. From the start of the tunnel (either through with a swim or over the top with the chain ladder) and then the boulder hop up the gorge is a little more strenuous and you will have to gauge how far you can go according to your group. The only way to see the Tugela Falls nicely is boulder hopping up the gorge, or to a certain degree, the view from the cave that Kragbees mentions.

In December, be prepared for a few river crossings where wading may be necessary. Drinking water is easily accessible from the numerous side streams flowing into the Tugela.

For another possiblity for camping try: Hlalanathi
This is a little nearer than Amphitheatre Backpackers, with a similar view, but both places are outside the Drakensberg Park. Its a matter of trading closeness to the mountains with a panaromic view.

Enjoy - it is a classic day trip.
Last edit: 14 Oct 2011 16:36 by Sterkhorn.

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27 Apr 2012 14:30 #53667 by Mattalica
Replied by Mattalica on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
Hi,
In about 2 weeks there is a trail run in mweni and some of my friends are doing that run. We are going to be camping at mahai before and after the run for an awesome get together, but myself and another friend want to go up early and do an over night (tent) hike near mahai. This is my reason for posting in this thread as I was thinking of Tugela gorge/valley. I last hiked this area when I was very young and don't remember it at all. Is there somewhere to hike to (as far up the base of the amphitheatre as possible) and camp over night and then return to Mahai the next day? I obviously do not want to summit the amphitheatre at all, I was just thinking of any of the valleys at the base of the amphitheatre.
My knowledge of this area is very limited so have no clue of the trails, so any advise would be great. Thanks.
Regards
Matt

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28 Apr 2012 07:33 #53670 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Tugela Gorge Hike
Matt, I don't think that overnight camping in the Tugela gorge is allowed. In the past there has been a rule to ban camping in the area, including tunnel cave, so as to protect the area. If this rule has changed then I am not aware of it.

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