Main Menu

Ben Macdhui Hiking Trail

Want to know more about hiking in the Eastern Cape?
The Border Outdoor Adventure Association has all the info.
Contact them at

1-6 day circular hikes through a spectacular wilderness

If you are seeking silence, unspoiled scenic beauty and true peace for your soul, you will find it on the Ben Macdhui Hiking Trail.

Rhodes is situated at an altitude of 1 945 meters above sea level and also boasts the highest mountain pass in South Africa (Naude’s Neck Pass – 2 500 meters above sea level).  The hiking trail winds along the foot of the highest mountain peak in the Cape Province (Ben Macdhui – 3001 meters above sea level), while the Hooggenoeg overnight hut, at 2 535 meters above sea level, is the highest on a hiking trail in South Africa.

The rare Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer), which is only found in the high Drakensberg and Lesotho, can be seen in the area.  In summer, a special kind of flower, the Dolos Dobo Lily, can be found on the higher slopes, where it grows only from an altitude of 2 450 m up to 3 200 m.

Weather and Climate

The area has a typical highlands climate with moderate summers and cold winters.  The summer days are warm, but the nights are cool.  Thunderstorms occur frequently in summer.  In winter, the days are cool and the nights very cold.  On the high-lying areas, the temperature can drop as low as –18 C during the night.  Snow often falls during winter, but can even occur the summer months.

All hikers using the trail must be well prepared for foul weather.  A good raincoat, windproof clothing and warm clothes (even in summer) are essentials.  During the winter months, hikers must also carry a survival bag or piece of canvas because you can be surprised by snow anywhere along the trail.

The Hiking Route

Although the hiking trail is routed out in the Drakensberg, it is not very steep.  Parts of the route, however, run over rough terrain, giving it a moderate to somewhat high degree of difficulty.  The trail is not recommended for inexperienced hikers or unfit people (also due to the risks arising from the weather).  The route is marked with paint on rocks and fence poles.  Hikers must keep to the marked route, because the entire route runs over privately owned land.  Also be sure to pay attention to the markers and look out for changes in direction.

  The hiking trail offers

  • A circular route of 51 km through magnificent mountain scenery
  • A number of waterfalls along the route
  • Sparkling streams and many swimming holes
  • Pleasantly cool summer evenings
  • A good possibility of snow in winter
  • A wide variety of wild flowers in spring, with pleasant fragrances filling the air
  • A variety of 191 bird species (some rare species to be seen are the Bearded Vulture, Mountain Pipit, Yellow breasted Pipit, Orange breasted Rock jumper and Drakensberg Sisken)

Please take note of the following

Hikers do the trail at own risk.

Although the route passes near the borders of Lesotho and the Herschel District of Transkei, hikers need not be worried about this.  It is a remote, sparsely populated area where only a few shepherd boys are to be seen.

The rivers and streams, which have to be crossed along the route, can flow very strong after rain.  Do not take any chances in such circumstances.

Normally two-way radios will be available at the workers’ huts near the overnight huts.  These spots are indicated in red on the map.  In an emergency, hikers can call for help from there.

No fires may be lit along the route.

No litter may be left behind along the trail.  Farmers can suffer stock losses if animals feed on it.

Please help us to preserve this sensitive ecological area.

Hikers must stay on the marked route.



For more information and bookings, please contact us on the following

Telephone number    045 974 9305                 Elizma den Heyer

                             045 971 0446                 Gideon van Zyl

                             045 974 9273                 Gerrit Henning

Fax number              045 974 9308

e-mail address          


A maximum of 24 hikers per day can be accommodated

Want to know more about hiking in the Eastern Cape?
The Border Outdoor Adventure Association has all the info.

Contact them at

 How to get to Rhodes |Main Menu