Waking up to a beautiful sun rise on Champagne castle with Drakensberghiker
The Champagne Castle Circuit Hike leaves from the Monks Cowl car park. I like to stay at iNkosana lodge the night before so we can get an early start walking up the mountains. We walk past the Sphinx and on to lunch with a view at Blind Man’s corner. After lunch, we have a gentle stroll along the contour path for about 3 km and start getting our first views of Champagne Castle.
Until now it had been hiding behind Cathkin Peak…
We camp in the valley with all these huge cliffs above us, so it is quite beautiful. Keith Bush camp is way in the middle of huge mountains that tower all around us. We can see the famous Monks Cowl Peak that Keith Bush fell off. Here we can also see the stunning Dragons back. Up ahead is Grays Pass that we use to get to the top of the Drakensberg Escarpment. Have a look here to see how to prepare for your hike with us. http://www.drakensberghiker.co.za/guided-drakensberg-hikes-in-south-africa/planning-your-drakensberg-hike/
Gray’s Pass at Champagne Castle, Drakensberg Trekking
I like to take 4 days to do this hike and we camp on top of the pass near Vultures Retreat. Once on top of the Escarpment, we walk up the 3rd highest peak in South Africa, Champagne Castle.
Champagne Castle is 3377m above sea level, and the views from up there are amazing.
We can look South past Injasuthi and on the Giants Castle and North past Cathedral Peak and even the Devils Tooth. Grays Pass is 3 km long and rises 900m above our camp. Short and sweet. Once on top, we have lunch at the small Nkosazana River and a walk to the top of Champagne Castle. There is also a big Cape vulture colony which is well worth a visit and the Nkosazana River falling over the edge is beautiful. The Zulus also call Monks Cowl Nkosazana, the “Princess”.
After a lovely night under African stars on top of Grays Pass, we head back down and along the contour path to camp near Blind Mans corner. Finally, the last day is a stroll back to the cars at Monks Cowl arriving in time for tea. And there we have the Champagne Castle Circuit Hike.