Top 10 Things to Do in the Drakensberg with Kids (Central & North)

The Drakensberg Mountain Range is one of South Africa’s most outstanding natural features. As one of Southern Africa’s biggest attractions, it frequently attracts hikers, nature lovers and families looking for a memorable holiday destination. With that in mind I’ve put together this post featuring a few of our recommended things to do in the Drakensberg with kids.

The Drakensberg is split into three primary sections: Northern, Central and Southern and predominantly, it lies within the lush KwaZulu-Natal province.

This outdoor lover’s paradise offers something for everyone… It is also a wonderful place to introduce children to raw, rugged and breathtaking nature.

In the Drakensberg you will find plenty of outdoor spaces, fun activities and stunning natural beauty. It is the perfect place for a special family holiday which we discovered a few years back when we did a mega road trip from Cape Town to KZN in the Ford Kuga!

 

Below are some of the best things to do in the Drakensberg (Central & Northern region) with kids:

1. Go Ziplining with the Drakensberg Canopy Tour

Reach new heights with Drakensberg Canopy Tour… What could be more fun than ziplining in the central Drakensberg?

Enjoy a thrilling zip line adventure, led by fun, experienced guides. This is an unmissable experience for adrenaline seekers, young and old.

With Drakensberg Canopy Tour, you can discover Africa’s first elevated rock face walkway. It offers a good mix of both cliff face and treetop-style platforms and some cable slides up to 60 metres in height!

The Blue Grotto forest is also home to some 150 bird species… So it’s an education in nature too! This beautiful forest is sheltered by the towering Cathkin Peak, meaning the scenery is great.

Join them for a zip through indigenous Blue Grotto forest.

Tours are generally best suited to kids 7 and up. Read all about our experience enjoying the Drakensberg Canopy Tour as a family and discover who enjoyed the experience the most. It will surprise you!

Here is a short video of our zip-lining adventure…

Drakensberg Canopy Tour

Activity prices: R695 per adult. R495 per child.

Duration: Approximately 3 hours.

Tel: +27 (0)83 661 5691

Email: info@drakensbergcanopytour.co.za

Web: www.canopytour.co.za

 

2. Go for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Few experiences could be dreamier than a hot air balloon ride. And this is an especially magical way to soak up the sights of the Drakensberg.

Locally, there are a few hot air balloon tour providers to choose from. One of the most famous companies is Drakensberg Ballooning.

They offer scenic flights over KZN. Guests enjoy panoramic views, spanning from the Northern Drakensberg’s famous Amphitheatre to Giant’s Castle in the Southern Drakensberg.

Book a shared flight or gift someone with this memorable travel experience!

Drakensberg Ballooning

Activity Prices: Contact Drakensberg Ballooning for prices.

Tel: +27 (0)78 0646 209/ (0)82 802 7527

Email: info@drakensbergballooning.com

Web: www.drakensbergballooning.co.za

 

3. Visit the Amphitheatre

If you have ever seen any photos of the Drakensberg, chances are you have seen a shot of the Amphitheatre. As one of South Africa’s most spectacular geographical features, it is an almost immediately recognisable scene.

The surrounding Amphitheatre Valley is loved for its incredible beauty and great hiking- and outdoor-opportunities.

While the hiking is probably not ideal for children, this valley is perfect for exploring with kids. Especially as there are great, family friendly activities and accommodation nearby.

Surrounded by crystal waters, vegetation and crisp mountain air, it’s a lovely way to introduce the little ones to nature.

4. Hike to the Cascades Waterfall

Although not all Northern Drakensberg hikes are family friendly, the hike to Cascades Waterfall and McKinlay’s Pool certainly is.

The starting point is at the campsite within the Royal Natal National Park. (The Park forms part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.)

To find it, follow the campsite road to the car park (only campsite residents are allowed beyond this point). From there, you walk for about 15 minutes until you reach the Queen’s Causeway and the Cascades.

At the Cascades, a steady path leads to McKinlay’s Pool, where the Gudu stream meets the Mahai.

It’s a short, yet scenic hike to the Cascades – and an ideal family outing to enjoy together.

Thendele Royal Natal National Park

Operating Hours: For guests staying at Thendele, the entrance gate is open 24 hours, 365 days per year. Accommodation rates vary.

Activity prices: Vary according to the activity.

Web: www.royalnatal.info

 

5. Go Horse Riding

What could be more fun than going for a horse ride? In both Central and Northern Drakensberg, a number of local tour providers offer peaceful horse rides.

These are suitable for everyone from beginners to more experienced riders. This makes it an unmissable outdoor adventure for the whole family.

Book a horse or pony outing or arena ride to enjoy together… It’s a unique way to experience the beautiful Drakensberg.

6. Go Fly Fishing

With its crystal streams, rivers and dams, the Drakensberg offers some incredible fly fishing opportunities.

There are a number of well-known fly fishing areas and locations in the Drakensberg. These are as follows:

  • Little Mooi River (Kamberg)
  • Bushman’s River (Giant’s Castle)
  • Highmoor Nature Reserve
  • Giant’s Castle 
  • Royal Natal National Park

And, as you enjoy searching for elusive trout, why not get the kids involved? Whether just for some quality bonding or to teach them more about this outdoor sport.

For fly fishing rules and regulations, please contact the relevant location before visiting.

7. Visit Highmoor Nature Reserve

In the central region of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, one finds Highmoor Nature Reserve.This pretty reserve offers visitors a variety of rich outdoor experiences.

Aside from its famous trout dams and stunning scenery, the reserve is also home to other highlights. These include several campsites, nature walks (some suitable to all ages), a picnic area and two caves for overnighting.

It’s also a wonderful place to expose your kids to nature.

The reserve is home to many wildlife species, including Cape clawless otters, oribi, mongoose, baboons and more. When you visit, see how many animals or birds you can identify or show your kids.

A variety of birds can also be seen here so it is a winner for avid birders too!

Highmoor Nature Reserve

Gate entry times:

Summer (1 October – 31 March) 05:00 – 19:00

Winter (1 April – 30 September) 06:00 – 18:00

Activity prices: Vary according to the activity.

Tel: +27 (0)72 190 9612

Email: bookings@kznwildlife.com

Web: www.kznwildlife.com/Highmoor.html

 

8. See Bushmen Paintings

The Drakensberg is also rich in amazing rock art. Some of this impressive, well-known bushmen art is found at the Royal Natal National Park and Didima San Rock Art Centre.

At Royal Natal, you can enjoy one-hour, guided tours. These take you to see the beautiful Sigubudu Bushmen paintings.

This fascinating outing is sure to captivate both children and adults alike. For this experience, there is a park entrance fee and a separate excursion fee.

The second location for sighting incredible rock art is Didima San Rock Art Centre.

This unique centre is a cultural heritage space that showcases the rock art of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.

At Didima, you can discover the significance of the eland to the San people. This element is carefully woven through the whole centre, evident from the display hall right through to the 100-seater, cultural auditorium.

Afterwards, visit the Ndumeni Craft Centre and Coffee Shop to enjoy a bite to eat. While you are there, browse or purchase some handmade craft goods.

Didima Camp Rock Art Centre

Operating Hours: Gate is open 24 hours; office hours are from 07:00 am to 7 pm.

Activity prices: Vary according to the activity.

Tel: +27 (0)33 845 1000

Email: bookings@kznwildlife.com

Web: www.didima.info

 

9. Get Adventurous with Adventure Centre

Adventure Centre is your one-stop destination for family fun in the Drakensberg!

With nine different family friendly adventures on offer, Adventure Centre is a delight. It is the perfect place to go for family trips, birthday parties and school outings.

The resort also boasts a restaurant with wonderful views of the Drakensberg. So you can soak up the scenery while enjoying pure, safe fun.

Some of their child-friendly activities include:

  • Scootours
  • Tubing
  • Kids zip line
  • Kids paintball
  • Kids tree climb 
  • King Swing (recommended for ages 8 and up)

Each activity has a recommended age suggestion for children. Kids both young and old will find something great to try.

All activities are guided by professional, careful guides. This gives added peace of mind to parents.

If you want to get in on the fun, there are also some nice adult-friendly activities too!

Adventure Centre

Activity prices: Vary according to the activity.

Tel: +27 (0)74 103 3613

Email: info@adventurecentre.co.za

Web: www.adventurecentre.co.za

 

10. See the Birds of Prey at Falcon Ridge

Last but by no means least, take the kids to see the incredible birds of prey at Falcon Ridge.

Situated in Champagne Valley, Falcon Ridge is a safe haven for large birds who have been rehabilitated and saved from injury and probable death.

Here, visitors can partake in daily shows. These include informative talks and memorable avian performances and displays.

Be mesmerised as the resident birds of prey swoop or dart to catch tasty morsels mid-air.

It is a humbling, educational place for young and old to enjoy. And a wonderful experience where you can see birds of prey up close in a safe environment.

Falcon Ridge

Activity prices: Contact Falcon Ridge for pricing.

Tel: +27 (0)82 774 6398

Email: lesenbarb@telkomsa.net

 

 

These are just ten of the incredible outdoorsy things to do in the Drakensberg with kids…

Which is top of your list to try next? Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

 

Our recommended accommodation in Central and Northern Drakensberg

Montusi Mountain Lodge

Antbear Lodge

 

 

 

Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Tamlyn Amber Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

1 Comment
  1. Love this! Although a little embarrassed to admit that after going to the Drakensberg twice a year for the past 8 years – we have only ever done 2 of these activities (horse riding and the birds of prey) Thank you for sharing for our next Berg getaway x

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