The Champagne Castle Hike leaves from the Monk’s Cowl car park. I like to stay at iNkosana lodge the night before so that we can get an early start walking up the mountains. On the first day, we walk past the Sphinx and then head 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 to get our very first views of the magnificent Champagne Castle.
Until now it had been hiding behind Cathkin Peak…
This night, we camp in the valley at Keith Bush Camp with these huge cliffs and mountains that tower above us, so it is quite beautiful. From our campsite we can easily see the famous Monks Cowl Peak that Keith Bush, after whom the camp is named, fell from. Here we can also see the stunning Dragons Back. Up ahead is Gray’s Pass which we will use to get to the top of the Drakensberg Escarpment.
I like to take 4 days to do the Champagne Castle Hike, and we camp on top of the pass near Vultures Retreat.
However if you are pushed for time, the Champagne Castle Circuit Hike can be done in 3 days with just 1 day spent walking up and down Gray’s Pass.
Once on top of the Drakensberg Escarpment, we walk up the 3rd highest peak in South Africa,
Champagne Castle and enjoy the magnificent views it offers. Click here to see who we are.
Champagne Castle is 3377m above sea level, and the views from up there are amazing. We can look South past Injasuthi and on the Giant’s Castle and North past Cathedral Peak and even see the Devils Tooth. Gray’s Pass is 3 km long and rises 900m above Keith Bush Camp. Short and sweet. Once on top, we have lunch at the small Nkosazana River and then take a walk to the top of Champagne Castle. There is also a big Cape Vulture colony which is well worth a visit. Plus 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.