If you are looking for a hiking adventure in the heart of the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, you should definitely visit Monks Cowl Park. This park is part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and offers access to some of the most spectacular wilderness areas in Africa. You can choose from a variety of trails that range from easy to difficult, and explore the stunning scenery of grasslands, forests, waterfalls, and cliffs. Some of the popular destinations include Sterkspruit Falls, iNandi Falls, Zulu Cave, and Grey’s Pass. You can also enjoy swimming in refreshing rock pools or camping in designated sites.


Sterkspruit Falls: This is a 3.4 km loop trail that starts and ends at the Monk’s Cowl campsite. It is rated as moderate and takes about an hour to complete. The trail follows the Sterkspruit or iMpofane stream and leads to a beautiful waterfall that drops over a rock face. You can enjoy the views of the waterfall from a viewing platform or go behind the curtain of water for a refreshing spray. Along the way, you can also see various plants, birds, and small animals. There are several rock pools where you can swim or relax. The trail is well-marked and suitable for families.


iNandi Falls: This is an 8 km loop trail that also starts and ends at the Monk’s Cowl campsite. It is rated as easy to moderate and takes about three to four hours to complete. The trail passes through forests, grasslands, and river valleys, offering diverse scenery and wildlife. The highlight of the trail is the iNandi Falls, which are named after the Zulu word for “sweet”. The falls are about 15 metres high and cascade into a large pool below. You can swim in the pool or picnic near the falls. The trail is clear and well-maintained.


Zulu Cave: This is a 13 km out-and-back trail that starts at the Monk’s Cowl campsite and goes up to the Zulu Cave on the summit of the Little Berg. It is rated as moderate to difficult and takes about six hours to complete. The trail climbs up the Hlatikulu Nek and then follows the contour path along the Mhlwazini River valley. The Zulu Cave is a large overhang that can accommodate up to 12 people for overnight camping. It has a waterfall that drops over the front of the cave into a pool below. The cave is surrounded by trees and bushes that provide shelter from the wind and rain. The cave also has some San rock paintings nearby that are worth exploring.


Grey’s Pass: This is a 10 km out-and-back trail that starts at the Keith Bush Campsite near the head of the Mhlawazini River valley and goes up to the top of Grey’s Pass on the main escarpment. It is rated as difficult and takes about five hours to complete. The trail ascends steeply up a zigzag path with log steps and then follows a gully under the cliffs to reach the pass. The pass offers spectacular views of Cathkin Peak, Champagne Castle, Monk’s Cowl, and Gatberg. You can also explore the valley at the top of the pass, which has some streams, pools, and caves. One of these caves is Nkosazana Cave, which can be used for overnight camping


To make your hiking experience more comfortable and enjoyable, you can stay at The Nest Hotel, a delightful family resort located in the Champagne Valley of the Central Drakensberg. The Nest Hotel offers cosy accommodation, delicious country style food, and friendly staff. It also has a spa, a pool, and a range of activities for the whole family. The Nest Hotel is one of the few hotels that offer breakfast and dinner plus morning and afternoon teas at excellent rates. It is also close to the Monk’s Cowl camp ground and other attractions in the area.

So what are you waiting for? Book your hiking trip to Monks Cowl Park and your stay at The Nest Hotel today and experience the beauty and adventure of the Central Drakensberg. You won’t regret it!