The Royal Natal National Park is situated within the Drakensberg World Heritage site. Royal Natal was named after the visit by the British Royal family during a State visit in 1947 where princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) celebrated her 21st birthday during their visit. A bridge was specially built for the Queen, called the Queen’s Causeway, this can be seen on the trail to the Cascades.
The main feature in the Royal Natal National Park is the world-famous Drakensberg Amphitheater, a rock wall 5km long. This spectacular cliff face hosts the Tugela Falls which is the highest waterfall in Africa. The Tugela Falls can be clearly seen along the Gorge Trail.
This part of the Drakensberg is referred to as the Continental Divide. Its the sourse of 2 major rivers in South Africa. The Tugela River that flows east into the Indian Ocean and the Orange River that flows west into the Atlantic Ocean.
Hiking in Royal Natal National Park is very popular in particular the Gorge trail to the foot of the Tugela Falls and the Sentinel trail via the chain ladders to top of the famous Tugela falls.
The Gorge trail is approximately 7.5 km long, one way. The Gorge is absolutely spectacular, steep cliffs either side of the Tugela River, carved by the flow of water from time immemorial. Lovely rockpools to swim in, awesome idea is to take along a picnic to enjoy after the long walk. Look out for the Bearded vulture (Lamergeyer) and the Black Eagle along the way. Many species of birds can be spotted along the way as well as antelope and baboons.
The Tugela falls hike takes you to the top of the Amphitheater mountain via the Sentinel Peak car park and chain ladders. You will feel like you’ve reached the “Roof of Africa” you will almost be in Lesotho. It a moderate to difficult accent to the top, remember to carry extra clothing, food, and water, as you will reach the top of the mountain 3000m above sea level. Conditions can change rapidly, you could experience 4 seasons in a day!