The Sentinal Hiking Trail
The One Day Sentinal Hiking Trail to the top of the Northern Drakensberg Escarpment on the Mont-Aux-Sources massif is an absolute ‘must do’ if you are in the Eastern Free State near Harrismith and Clarens.
The hike is only ever 1 day, but will take more or less the whole day, and requires a certain level of fitness and a marked lack of vertigo. It can test the unfit, and a couple of hours from the start, the hike requires a 300m vertical ascent up a cliff face on the Sentinal Peak – the highest peak on Mont-Aux-Sources – via chain ladders.
The rewards are incredible views down off the escarpment into the Kwa Zulu Natal Drakensberg – specifically into The Amphitheatre in the uKhalhamba Drakensburg National Heritage Site.
You also hike right to the top of the Tugela Falls, the second highest waterfall in the world, and watch it cascade down into a carpet of clouds lying beneath the edge of the escarpment or into a clear valley via 5 drops with a total height of 900 metres.
The Sentinel Hike can be dangerous in wet and/or very misty weather, and it’s not advised to risk it.
It’s also not advisable in winter when it can be freezing, snowy and iced-up.
However, even on a clear day, mist can pull in suddenly, covering the trail and the edge of the escarpment and it is advisable to be prepared for this with GPS and a warm wet-weather jacket.
The Sentinel Hiking Trail is a self-guided, well-marked and popular day trail. There is a cost of around R75 each, last time checking, so take enough cash – and don’t forget a really good camera to make the most of a the magnificent panorama that awaits you at the outer edge of Mont-Aux-Sources.
Getting there: Take the R57 via Phuthaditjhaba. Go early, as the Sentinal Car Park is around 50km from Phuthaditjhaba on a mountain pass road, so its a bit of a drive from Phuti…
|More on the quaint town of Phuthaditjhaba||More on the Eastern Free State area|