Useful Drakensberg Travel Tips
Getting to the Drakensberg:
The quickest way to get into the Drakensberg is to fly into Pietermaritzburg Airport. There are 5 flights a day into this airport from Johannesburg and 1 from Cape Town. It is roughly an hour and a half drive fro Pietermaritzburg to the Southern and Central Drakensberg and two hours to the Northern Drakensberg.
The other alternative is to drive from Durban or Johannesburg. It is roughly a two and a quarter hour journey to the Central Drakensberg and about a two hour journey to the Southern Drakensberg. You can add on half an hour to get to the Northern Drakensberg.
To get to the Southern Drakensberg, you turn off the N3 at Howick, in the case of the Central Drakensberg you would either take the Loskop turnoff to Winterton from Durban and the Winterton turnoff on the N1 from Johannesburg. In the case of the Northern Drakensberg, you take the Winterton turnoff on the N1 from Durban or in the case of Johannesburg the Bergville turnoff.
Shopping, amenities, medical services:
Underberg, Himeville, Winterton and Bergville have well stocked supermarkets.. In addition they have most of the other services you require such as pharmacies, dentists and doctors.
Most of the resort areas also have smaller supermarkets, craft centres or in-house stores for basic necessities.
It is a good idea however, to bring a basic medical kit, with the typical supplies one would keep at home.
If you are going to hike in the Drakensberg, make sure you have a day or overnight pack, which can contain at the bare minimum, warm clothing, a poncho, sufficient food, a small medical kit, torch, pocket knife, maps, a whistle, water purification pills, at least a 1 litre water bottle and space blanket.
The Drakensberg can get extremely cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. However, winter days can be warm and similarly summer days unpredictably cold. Pack both warm winter clothes and cooler clothing as well.
Some of the resorts expect their guests to at least dress in smart casual clothing in their dining rooms at night. Shorts and slip slops are usually frowned upon.
Banks and ATM's:
The bigger towns in the vicinity of the Drakensberg have both banks and ATM's. Some of the bigger resorts do FOREX transactions. It is wise to have both credit cards, debit cards and a reasonable amount of Rands at hand.
Passports, visas, identification documents:
if you are going to hike into Lesotho or go up Sani Pass, make sure you have your passport and if relevant a visa to enter Lesotho.
Many of the stores in the Drakensberg don't trade on Sunday's or later than 17h00.
10% is an an acceptable tip.
There is no need for any immunisation in the Drakensberg area.
Useful telephone numbers:
Winterton Police 036 488 1502
Bergville Police 036 4489421.
Himeville Police 033 702 1300
Emergency Police Number 10111
Mountain Rescue Club of South Africa:
Base: Durban / Pietermaritzburg / Drakensberg
Tel: 0800 005 133 (Provincial Health Ops. Cntr.)
Convenor: 082 990 5876 - Gavin Raubenheimer