Giants Cup Hiking .Trekking transfer. Durban Airport transfers

DRAKENSBERG MOUNTAINS/ DRACONA MOUNTAINS!
The Tugela Waterfall is the longest/ highest/ tallest waterfall in the World at 983 meters and an elevation of 2972 meters!

Tailor -made unforgettable experience of Hiking or Mountain Biking from the Northern, Central and Southern Bergs

Normally own Mountain Bikes are required or Thaba Tours can hire in at additional cost!
TOURS 1-4 are Hiking and TOURS 5+6 are MTB
Airport and Durban Transfer can be arranged.

TOUR-1                                   
Northern Drakensberg-Tugela Falls via The Chain Ladder- 3 Nights/ 4 Days

Grade: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 3 days

Total distance covered: ±12.2km
Total height gain: ±440m
(All distances should only be used as a guideline and a detailed route description will be supplied on confirmation of booking.) What makes this special: This is without a doubt one of the greatest trails in the world where you will be able to get close to the second highest waterfall in the world.   Route: Although this is by far one of the easiest routes to take to get on top of the escarpment, you should still be well prepared for severe mountain weather. It is known that storms can arrive without warning at any time of the year, and it is not unknown to get snow in winter. Be well prepared with a warm jacket and rain wear even if it’s just a day outing. The Chain Ladders could be the most challenging part of the whole walk and anyone with a fear of heights should use the Gully as an alternative route.  

Day 1: All Meals-own cost! 
Options are to be transferred from Durban /King Shaka airport, up to the Northern Drakensberg + - 3hours! 
Overnight: at Lodge.     

Day 2: All Meals-own cost! 
This walk is a popular overnight trip as well and a tent will be needed if you choose to sleep over. Sleeping over will allow you to experience most probably one of the best sunrises in South Africa.
The path starts at the Witsieshoek Car Park and follows the contour path towards the Witches and then swings towards the zigzags. The path has been upgraded with paving stones to help curb erosion, so stay on the path and don’t take short cuts as this leads to erosion. The path will lead up to the base of the Sentinel and veering to the right it gently climbs on a contour path following the base of the basalt cliffs towering over you. 
Overnight: Camping.     

Day 3: Breakfast  Included!
Tugela Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world-the combined total drop of its five distinct free-leaping falls is officially 983 m (3,225 ft). Soon you will reach the Chain Ladders which is actually 4 ladders in total, that will lead you to the top of the escarpment. The first ladders were commissioned in 1930 by Otto Zunckel and later a second set was installed next to the old ones to help speed up the process of going up and down. For those with a fear of heights there is a path up the Sentinel Gully that will bypass the ladders and take you to the top without adding too much extra to your walk. The path will lead you to the top of the falls where you can find a number of vantage points to view the water tumbling down 614m into the basalt abyss below. Take care on a windy day as the wind can be very strong on this exposed plateau. Arrival back at lunch time, lunch and depart immediately for Durban airport!  
                                                                        

Day 4: Breakfast included!
Or spend the afternoon at leisure and depart on the , for Durban? 
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(Additional cost)!    
Included: Park & overnight fees, Durban airport transfers and return, rescue levy and first aid kit.
Excluded: All meals and snacks, stove & pots, tents, sleeping bag, backpack, personal gear and equipment, personal medication, mineral waters and footwear.
Gear Hire is available- additional cost.
Porters can be included at an additional cost.        


TOUR-2           
Hodson's Peaks/Giants Cup & Thabana Ntlenyana-Hiking – 2 Nights/ 3 Days  

Here is a proposal for the three days for two clients who are fit and have some previous hiking experience. The proposal is based on my experience and knowledge of what people who like hiking would enjoy.  

Day 1:  Meet at Motel at 07H30.
Transfer up the Sani Pass into Lesotho; meet up with the hiking guide at lodge –the New Highest Pub in Africa. Thaba Tours guide will book you into your room and make sure your luggage is safe! He will depart and pick you up on the 3rd day. Hike to the summit of Thabana Ntlenyana 3482m (the highest point in Africa south of Mt Kilimanjaro). We will first drive to Skirring village and leave our vehicle there. Total hike distance 26kms, time 7 to 8 hrs. Transfers are available closer and will shorten the hike from 6- 7 hours!
Overnight: at Lodge. 

Day 2: Breakfast Included!
Hike to Hodgsons Peaks South (3256m) and possibly North (3257m) as well. The views on this hike are exceptional as both peaks are on the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment. Hike distance 10 to 12 kms, time 5 to 6 hrs. Start time from lodge will be 8.30am after a full breakfast. You will have 2-3 hours at leisure, maybe you’d like to speak to the guide, and you can go for 1-2 hours horse ride (own expense, they charge per hour)! 
Overnight: at Lodge.  

Day3: Breakfast Included!   
Depart lodge after breakfast and do half day's hike down to the river and return via a circular route back to lodge for lunch and depart for Underberg. Arrival in Underberg early afternoon, unless you’d like a horse ride-own cost!    

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Included: Accommodation & meals as indicated
Excluded: All drinks Entry Fees Personal Expenses Mineral Water Personal Insurances Transport in 4x4 vehicles Walks/Hikes Driver/Guide Fees Tips to guide.
                                                                                           General Information
Every guest on tour is entering a rural and unspoiled African terrain. Therefore, it is necessary to travel with a tolerant and flexible mind. Accommodations, bathroom facilities and meals are at most places very basic, simple and rustic.
  • Most lunch stops based on packed lunches or picnic meals.
  • There are no toilet facilities on route or very seldom.
  • We reserve the right to alter any routes or itineraries should circumstances, like weather, road conditions, unforeseen obstacles, etc. so demand.
  • Some accommodations use generators for the supply of electricity, which switches off at 22:00, and gas geysers for hot water supply.
  • This is True, unspoilt Africa –at its Best!   
TOUR- 3                              
Northern Drakensberg- Champagne Castle Peak- 4Nights/5 Days  

Grade: Strenuous to Severe
Duration: 3 days

Total distance covered: ±37.7km
Total height gain: ±2448m
(All distances should only be used as a guideline and a detailed route description will be supplied on confirmation of booking.) What makes this special: Summit the 3rd highest peak in South Africa and ideal training for your upcoming Kilimanjaro Trip?  
Route: This hiking trail is doable for most people who have a moderate to high fitness level and some hiking experience will make this a more enjoyable trip. Although not a true expedition style trip, you need to be prepared for all types of weather as this area is known to have all four seasons in one day. Care also needs to be taken on Gray’s Pass as the path is not always well defined and taking the wrong turn could lead you into a precarious position. Champagne Castle at 3377m is the 3rd highest peak in South Africa and from the summit you can see both Mafadi at 3451m and Injasuthi Dome at 3410m in the distance. From the top of the pass, you will enjoy close-up views of Cathkin and Monks Cowl.   

Day 1: All Meals-own cost! Options are to be transferred from Durban /King Shaka airport, up to the Northern Drakensberg + - 3hours! 
Overnight: at Guest Lodge.    

Day 2: All Meals-own cost! 
The trail starts at Monks Cowl main camp and follows the standard route up to the Sphinx and then on to Breakfast Stream where you will appreciate a well-earned break and a chance to fill up water bottles. From here the path is an easy walk to Blindman’s Corner. At the junction you want to turn right and for the next few kms you will be following the contour path all the way past Hlathikulu Neck. This section is the same route on the Zulu Cave hike. Follow the path down, but not all the way down to the river, there is a path that will lead off to your left-hand side and will take you up into the Mhlatswini Valley. In front of you, you will see Gat Berg and the Dragons Back. The path will follow the side of the valley before dropping down into the river and you will follow the path crossing the river a few times before reaching Keith Bush Camp. The campsite is located on the right-hand side of the river as you look up the valley and is suitable for a couple of tents. There is a feint path that leads down to the river and in summer water is not an issue. In summer you might have to look for water higher up or lower down. At the campsite you will be surrounded by towering peaks on 3 sides and be treated to an awesome sunset as the clouds get painted by the setting sun. 
Overnight: Camping.   

Day 3: All Meals-own cost! 
After a good night’s rest and packing up camp as early as possible, find the path that leads up the spur to Gray’s Pass. The climb is steep, and the going will be slow with a heavy pack, remember to fill all your water bottles as there is no water on the pass until you reach the top of the pass. There are quite a few paths made by smugglers, find the path that’s in the best condition and follow it. At a rock band the path disappears, and it looks like it carries on into the valley, but it actually swings back and up the rock band. Take care here as a few people have gotten lost here. The path climbs up until you are in the shadow of the basalt cliffs and then contours around to the last little crux and then you enter the last rock scramble to the top. The scree is loose so make sure that the group is spaced out so that loose rocks will not hit anyone. Once on top you follow the path to the stream, and this is a good place to have a break and replenish your energy levels. Consult your map and plan a route to the top of Champagne Castle peak, the easiest route is to follow the valley as it tops out close to the highest point. On top of Champagne, you will have awesome views over the KZN midlands and looking south you will see the other two highest points in South Africa namely Magadi and Injasuth Dome. Follow the same path back that you came in with. At the river you will find a few flat camping spots close to the small waterfall. Remember to practice LNT principals and carry out all your trash and if you need to go, walk away from the river to dig your cat hole. 
Overnight: Camping.    

Day 4: All Meals-own cost! 
Your last day is going to be a long day, so an early start is to your advantage. The route follows the same one you took up but now in reverse. Take care at the crux as it does look quite intimidating when you stand above it. Find a safe way down and take special care when wet. The downhill is taxing to your knees so go slowly and steadily. Be careful on the loose rocky section. When looking down the pass you can actually see the route the smugglers use, and it is easy to follow it all the way back to Hlathikulu Neck. The contour path section is going to feel like it never ends but before long you will be at Blindman’s Corner and the end is in sight. Remember to fill your water bottle up regularly and to keep hydrated especially in summer. By the time you reach the last downhill by the Sphinx your legs will be tired so take care on the last section especially on the loose rocks. You will appreciate reaching the camp and if you are in time, you can still enjoy a cold cooldrink at the little shop. 
Overnight: Guest Lodge. 

Day 5: All Meals-own cost! 
After breakfast, be transferred back to Durban or King Skaka airport.  

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Included: Park & overnight fees, rescue levy, first aid kit and Durban airport transfers x 2.
Excluded: All meals and snacks, stove & pots, sleeping bag, backpack, personal gear and equipment, personal medication, mineral waters and footwear.
Gear Hire is available-at additional cost.
Porters can be included at an additional cost.  
  

TOUR- 4                                              
GIANTS CUP LUXURY TRAIL – HIKING ITINERARY- 5Nights / 6 Days  

Day1: Be transferred from Durban to Underberg-Dinner  
Overnight at Guest Lodge 
  
Day 2: Breakfast, packed lunch and Dinner. (approximately 13 km): 
After a restful night at Seaforth where you will gather for dinner the day before your hike, you will be transported to the start of the trail at the bottom of Sani Pass. The first objective is to cross the bridge between the Mkomazana and Gxalingwa valleys. Ngwenya Pools is an ideal stop for lunch on a sunny day or, if it is raining, there is a cave a little further along the trail. After this the trail gradually ascends through attractive country into the Pholela valley, crossing a suspension bridge over the river to the Cobham reserve. You will be collected from this point for your transfer to Briar Lea farmhouse in the Cobham Valley where you will overnight. 
Overnight: Guest Lodge.  

Day 3 (17 km):  Breakfast, packed lunch and Dinner. 
This is the longest and most eventful day, and you will need to make an early start to get the most out of it! You will be transported to the beginning of the day's walk at Cobham and continue the trail which ascends the Sipongweni Ridge past ortoise Rocks before traversing its southern flank and dropping down into the Mzimkulwana valley. You will see the Mzimkulwana Hut (normally the 2nd nights hut on the GC Trail) nestling beside one of the tributaries of the uMzimkhulu. A good spot along the way is bathplug cave, named after a hole in the cave floor through which disappears. Observe but do not touch the Bushman paintings on the cave walls. Try and leave Mzimkulwana Hut after an early lunch in order to complete the remainder of the days hike which will first take you on a long climb towards Little Bamboo Mountain. On the top of the ridge, you will find a number of small vleis (tarns) where blue cranes frequent and remains of petrified forests can still be found. The trail then continues down following a pleasant stream valley with tempting swimming pools, and finally reaches the tar road of the Drakensberg Gardens Valley where you will be picked up and taken to Orchid valley for the third night. 
Overnight: Guest Lodge.

Day 4: Breakfast, packed lunch and Dinner. (13,5km): 
You will need to be guided out of Orchid Valley to pick up the marked Giants Cup Trail above Winterhoek Hut. The first half of the trail ascends the ridge to the west of Garden Castle Mountain via the scenic but steep Black Eagle Pass. Be sure to fill your water bottle before you start as there is little surface water along this section of the trail. You eventually reach an altitude of about 1900 meters between the two river valleys of the uMzimkhulu and the Mzimude. Many pleasant vistas present themselves as you follow the contour path to the top of the Drakensberg Gardens 
Overnight: Guest Lodge.
 
Day 5: Breakfast, packed lunch and Dinner. 
Continue the Giants Cup Hike to Bushman's Nek the Giants Cup trail continues onto the Bushman's Nek valley, first crossing the wide Mzimude valley, climbing up to the fire station look-out, before dropping gradually down to Bushman's Nek Police Station, an official border post between South Africa and Lesotho. The trail is relatively easy walking and about 12 km in length which should get you into the hotel for lunch and an early afternoon pick up. 
Overnight: Guest Lodge   

Day 6: Breakfast, packed lunch and Dinner. 
A Climb Rhino Peak the Rhino is a free standing 3000-meter peak standing away from the main Drakensberg Wall and towering over the Drakensberg Gardens Hotel. Very fit hikers who enjoy a challenge can hike to the top of the Rhino Horn and return in one day. They must be prepared to start early as it’s a 10-to-11-hour hike with about 1000m ascent, but the hike is non-technical (although there may be some scrabbling up the gully leading to the top of the escarpment). On clear day the views from the top are unforgettable. 
Overnight: Guest Lodge.  
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Included:                                                                               Excluded: 
All accommodation                                                                             Personal Insurances and Expenses
Transfers to accommodations                                                            Tips to guide. 
3x meals a day                                                                                      Own back packs required. 
2 x mineral water pp a day 
Entry fees 


Tour - 5                      
Mountain Biking in the Northern Drakensberg of KwaZulu Natal- 4 Nights/ 5 Days

Day1: All Meals-Included!
Pickup in Durban/Airport and transfer to the Drakensberg.
Overnight at Lodge.

Day 2: All Meals-Included!
The first day starts off down the valley on flowing single track through the Acacia Meander and past the pecan grove before climbing up to Montusi Lodge via a short section of tar. From Montusi its back on the single track down into the Wanhoop Valley, across the Wanhoop stream and into the Langkloof community. Stop for cold drinks at a local spaza shop before heading up the spectacular Berg Traverse. This section of trail is usually only accessible as part of the Ridetheberg race, so this is a special section. The descent back into the Wanhoop Valley offers some challenging switch backs – just to make sure everyone is wide awake. The trail then climbs steeply back to Montusi via Angry Astma, and then back up the valley to the . +- 45 km. If the group stays at Montusi, the route will exclude the ride down the valley past the Pecan Grove and back again but will include more of the single track around Montusi. The distance will be +- 30km.
Overnight at Lodge.

Day 3: All Meals-Included! 
Back down the valley on the fast single track, but this time keeping to the track that runs parallel to the road. Then the climbing starts. Over the hill to Alpine Heath, then 6km of steep climbing on the concrete strips to Greenfire Lodge. The pain is worth the reward at the top – the new Ingwe trail is a mind-blowing meander through the sandstone outcrops and yellow wood trees. The trail then joins back up with the Nook Road – a 4x4 trail which hugs the Sandstone cliffs and ends with an arm pumping descent past Montusi. Stop in there for a cup of tea and a scone, (or a lovely Drakensberg Brewery Craft Beer) before meandering back to the Cavern via the single track of the Windmill trail and the awesome berms on Forbidden Pass. (+- 38km). If the group stays at Montusi the ride will start down the Berms at Forbidden Pass, take in the switchbacks on the Quad Trail past the Montusi Water fall Cave and Owls Pass, before heading through the fields past the Pecan Grove and the climb over to Alpine Heath and up to Greenfire. The ride finishes with the fast Nook Road descent. (+- 36kms).
Overnight at Lodge.

Day 4: All Meals-Included!
Today’s route starts with a sharp climb out of the Cavern on to the spectacular Grotto Trail and heads over to base via Down Time – an 8km masterpiece of coordinated turns that drop down form the ridge into the valley. After a cappuccino fun continues down the Berm Trail into the Montusi Gorge. If the guys have the legs for it, they can have a go at the Lap Race (2x 5km laps) to see if they can get on to the leader board. If the Lap Race isn’t on the cards, the route meanders back through the valley on a gentle gradient, along the river in the acacia trees, until the last climb up The Cavern (+-25km). If the group stays at Montusi the ride will start down the berms of Forbidden Pass and through the single track beside the Pecan trees, before joining with the trail that climbs up to The Cavern. The ride finishes back up Forbidden Pass. (+-35km).
Overnight at Lodge.

Day 5: All Meals-Included!
After breakfast depart for Durban.

                                                                           END OF TOUR!


TOUR- 6               
Midlands Meander Mountain Biking- 3 Nights/ 4 Days

Day 1: All Meals- Included!
Pickup in Durban /Airport and transfer to Howick Falls Hotel after breakfast, arrival lunch time, book into Lodge. The mountain bike guide will pick you up there (+- 13H00).  and driven out to the Karkloof Country Club. I would recommend he eats lunch prior to being collected at the hotel or from Woolworths up the road. +-40-50km ride depending on how your client’s legs are feeling. This ride would follow a 30km marked loop, and then join onto a 20km loop – mostly single track. I can’t give exact elevation gain and loss, but on the 30km portion he will climb about 700m in elevation total over the ride, and on the 20km loop he will get about 533m total elevation over the ride – so approximately 1200m of climbing. But please note that is an estimate. 
Overnight: at Lodge.  

Day 2: All Meals- Included!
Collected at 7am from Hotel by Nathan and driven down to Hilton. I am afraid I don’t know this route myself, but it is used as training ride for many of the top marathon riders in KZN. They will descend from Hilton into the Cascades MTB Park to ride single track and climb out again and into the Cedara forests in Hilton to ride more single track. This will be a big day of riding; I think around 70 – 80km. The elevation loss from Hilton to the bottom of Cascades is about 500m, and they will be undulating back up again, Nathan said there is a lot of climbing in this ride but it’s one of his favourites.
Overnight: at Lodge.   

Day 3: All Meals- Included!
Collected at 7am from Lodge and driven out to the Karkloof Country Club to park. Here they will ride a circular ride out to Mount Gilboa, round the back of the Mondi plantations and into the Karkloof single track, down Lebanon. They will join into the Pressure Cooker climb and descend a 5km section of single track that they will have done on Sunday. Clients enjoy doing this a second time because they now have experience of what is coming ahead, it is really good riding, so I am sure he won’t mind doing it again. They will end back at the Karkloof Country Club. +- 75 – 80km, some scenic country tar road riding to start (10km), but then dirt road for approximately 15km and into the Mondi jeep track. It is a challenging training ride with some big climbs, and good descents. 
Overnight: at hotel.  

Days 4- All Meals- Included!
Depart Lodge at 07H00 and arrival at Durban airport at 08H30
                                                                                                     
                                                                        END OF TOUR !       










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