Mnweni area viewed from Catherdal Peak

Mnweni area viewed from Catherdal Peak

Between the popular hiking areas of the Amphitheatre and the Cathedral range is a remote and rugged area known as Mnweni, which is controlled by the amaNgwane Tribal Authority.  Mnweni includes the Ifidi Pass, Buttress and Abbey, Peak and Pinnacles, Icidi Buttress and Pass, Mbundini Pass, Buttress and Abbey, the Fangs, Rwanqua Mnweni, the Rockeries and Ntonjelana River and Pass.  All Mnweni hikes begin at the Isandlwana Police Post, which also keeps the Mountain Register. Hiking trrails at Mweni are not marked, and hikers should follow the footpaths and only experienced and well-equipped hikers should explore the area.

Mnweni is in terms of its remoteness, the most superb wilderness quality that you will find in the Drakensberg Mountains.  Here at Mnweni the Drakensberg is spectacular offering  scenic beauty and wild cultural landscape. The Mnweni Cultural Centre offers a combination of traditional hospitality in the true spirit of ubuntu amidst the grandeur of mountains, which can offer you any of the following:

  • Swimming: There are numerous beautiful rivers (some with trout) and pools, some only a few hundred metres away from the Mnweni Culteral Centre and also along the many Mnweni hiking routes.
  • Horse riding on local horses can be arranged.
  • The Mnweni area offers mountain bikers with many options for short out and back gravel road rides or a circular route that goes over Woodstock dam and back to the Mnweni Culteral centre.
  • The Drakensberg offers unique birding opportunities which are normally undertaken during day or overnight hikes in the area.
  • Homestead visits, accommodation, traditional meals, dancing can be arranged with the manager or guides – early booking essential.
  • Hire a local Amafa accredited rock art custodian/s (obligatory) to guide you to rock art sites open to the public in the area.
  • The Mnweni area offer mountaineering routes with breath-taking views, challenging climbing routes and the most rugged terrain in the Drakensberg.

Mnweni Hiking Trails

All hikers should sign the Mountain Register.

  • Icidi Pass.  Extreme (round trip minimum 3 days). Requires serious, potentially hazardous rock scrambling. Only experienced mountaineers.
  • Ifidi Pass. Extreme (minimum round trip 3 days). Requires climbing. Only experienced mountaineers.
  • Mbundini and Fangs Passes. Extreme (27 km, 2 days). Should not be attempted by the inexperienced.
  • Mnweni via Rockeries and Mnweni Passes. Extreme (48km, 4 days).
  • nTonyelana Pass. Extreme (round trip minimum 2 days).

Mnweni Accommodation

  • Sandford Park Country Hotel Established in 1850 as a British garrison for troops sent to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith, Sandford Park allows the history of the region to narrate the essence of the hotel.  Located conveniently off the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban
  • Montusi Mountain Lodge Space, comfort and peace are what you will find when you treat yourself to the natural splendour and peaceful, romantic ambiance of this Drakensberg haven
  • The Cavern The Cavern is a holiday resort offering you Drakensberg accommodation in the KwaZulu Natal region. Named after the “Cannibal Cavern”, it is situated on 3000 hectares of private mountain reserve adjacent to the Ampitheatre Royal Natal National Park –
  • Alpine Heath Resort Considered to be one of South Africa’s premier conference and holiday venues, Alpine Heath Resort allows you to relax in the comfort of an exclusive mountain village nestled in the midst of Northern Drakensberg, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
  • The Homestead   The Homestead is a 3 star tranquil hideaway,’Home from Home’,situated in the quiet sanctuary of Geluksburg .It is three and half hours from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and three hours from Durban
  • Drakensberg Mountain Retreat-Vergezient Lodge The Guesthouse, with its numerous lounges and fireplaces, is comfortably furnished and has an elegant, old-fashioned feel, while maintaining that rustic farm house charm. The guesthouse has tastefully decorated en-suite bedrooms.
  • Little Swiss Mountain Chalets Rise with the sun to view the majestic grandeur of the Amphitheatre in one of her many guises…clad in clouds, shrouded in snow, mellow in mist or crisp and clear.
  • Thendele Hutted Camp (Royal Natal National Park) Thendele hutted camp is situated in one of the most picturesque settings in the country with a view of the world famous amphitheatre from every chalet.
  • Berg House and Cottages Experience a mountain atmosphere with breathtaking views, described as the “IMAX Views” of the Drakensberg. This private destination on a 1600 acre estate enables you to reunite the mind, body and soul, restore the essential “you”.
  • ATKV Drakensville Holiday Resort The Tugela-Vaal Water Scheme was started in 1969. It was the aim of the government to ensure that a large amount of water would be channeled yearly from the Tugela River and kept inland rather than it eventually finding its way into the Indian Ocean
  • Bergville Caravan Park & Chalets The Bergville Caravan Park is situated on the foothills of the Drakensberg and on the banks of the Tugela River.  Some of the most picturesque hiking trails at Cathkin Park, Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle, Oliviershoek, Royal National Park Mount Aux Sources
  • Buhlebemvelo B&B Bed and breakfast accommodation in Bergville
  • Kwaggashoek Game Ranch Kwaggashoek is a wildlife sanctuary with a wide variety of game and birdlife which makes it a birdwatchers paradise. This Private Reserve consists of beautiful valleys, mountain streams, waterfalls and breathtaking views. Animals roam freely around the lodge.
  • 8 Royal Palm Guest Lodge & Conference Centre Nestled in the heart of Umhlanga Ridge, Durban, near the La Lucia Office Park and Gateway Business Precinct is Harrier Palms Guest House.Situated 500m from our Royal Palm Guest Lodge and within a 5 minute drive to both Gateway and the Umhlanga Beach area.
  • Amphitheatre Backpackers Our funky lodge is located at the foot of the Amphitheatre between Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak Reserve. Here the emphasis of your stay is on having fun and filling each day with as many experiences as possible.
  • Bingelela Lodge About Situated in the with Northern Drakensberg, Bingelela offers earthy hospitality and outstanding service in a charmingly authentic setting. Our stylish yet cosy approach to hospitality means that whatever kind of stay you are looking for
  • Ingwe Cabin Situated in the Northern Drakensberg halfway down Oliviershoek Pass, between Little Switzerland and Alpine Heath, high up in the mountains on an easy 4×4 track nestles the farm ingwe.
  • Mont-Aux-Sources Resort Orion Mont-Aux-Sources is named after Mont-Aux-Sources, the highest peak in the world-famous Amphitheatre in the northern Drakensberg. Measuring 3282 metres high, it was discovered in 1836 by French missionaries and christened Mont-Aux-Sources, or “mountain of springs”
  • Tower of Pizza  Experience traditional farmstyle hospitality in close proximity to all major attractions in the Amphitheatre valley, Northern Drakensberg. Artistic and off beat décor complement the tranquil and natural beauty of the area.
  • Tozer’s B&B We offer an enclosed swimming pool, private braai area and off street parking. Situated centrally for day trips to the Northern and Central Drakensberg. The B&B is halfway between Gauteng and Durban. Member of the Drakensberg Tourism association.

Mnweni Links