If you ever find yourself in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa and you have a thing for waterfalls, then it is definitely worth your while to make the hike up to see the magnificent Tugela Falls.
The Tugela Falls is a complex of seasonal waterfalls located in the Drakensberg mountain range, and is one of the many natural attractions in the Royal Natal National Park. It is generally accepted as the world’s second-tallest waterfall following Venezuela’s Angel Falls (though there are a number of compelling arguments that it may in fact actually be taller).
The combined total drop of its five distinct free-leaping falls is 948 m (3,110 ft). At the right time of year, they are easily visible from the main road into the park, especially after a heavy rain. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for ‘sudden’) is the Mont-Aux-Sources plateau which extends several kilometers beyond The Amphitheatre escarpment (itself a natural wonder of the area) from which the falls drop.
There are two trails to Tugela Falls. The most spectacular trail is to the top of Mont-Aux-Sources, which starts at “The Sentinel” car park (through Phuthaditjhaba on the R57, approximately two hours drive from Royal Natal National Park via the R74, 90 minutes from Harrismith via the R712, or 80 minutes from Golden Gate Highlands National Park). From here it is a relatively easy climb to the top of the Amphitheatre, however it does take about 4.5 to 8 hours round-trip depending on fitness level. Access to the summit is via two chain ladders. This is the only day hiking trail which leads to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment.
Another trail to the foot of the Tugela Falls starts at Royal Natal National Park. The easy 7 km (4.3 mi) gradient up the Tugela Gorge winds though indigenous forests. The last part of the hike to Tugela Falls is a boulder hop. A little chain ladder leads over the final stretch for a view of the falls rushing down the amphitheater in a series of five cascades.
Related Link: Wikipedia