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Tugela Falls

South Africa
KwaZulu-Natal Province
Type of Location
Water Fall
About Location

Tugela Falls are the world's second highest waterfall. The total drop in five free-leaping falls is 3,110 feet (947 meters). They are located in the Drakensberg (Dragon's Mountains) in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa. They are easily viewed after a heavy rain from the main travel road into the park, glistening from the reflection of the late afternoon sun. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for 'sudden') is at Mont-Aux-Sources several kilometers from the escarpment from which the falls drop. The water is pure and safe to drink above the falls.

There are 2 stunning trails to the Tugela Falls. The most spectacular trail is to the top of Mount-Aux-Sources and starts at the Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek via Phuthadjhaba from where it is a relatively short climb to the top of the Amphiteare. (About 5 hours return) Via two chain ladders you can gain easy access to the summit. This is the only day hiking trail which will take you to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment and to the head of the Tugela Falls. Another trail to the foot of the Tugela Falls starts at R    oyal Natal National Park. The easy seven kilometre gradient up the Tugela Gorge winds though indigenous forests. The last part of the hike to the Tugela Falls is a boulder hop. A little chain ladder takes you over the final streach from where you have a stunning view of the falls rushing down the Amphitheater in a series of five spectacular cascades.

How to Reach

By Plane

The only important airport of KwaZulu-Natal is in Durban. It is the province's largest airport and offers domestic and international flights (only to Dubai, Mauritius and Maputo). The old Durban airport was closed at the end of April 2010 when a new airport, King Shaka International, opened on 1st May at La Mercy, 35km north of the city.

If you’re flying in to Durban, book your rented car beforehand. If you’re arriving on a late flight, book Avis and ask them to keep their kiosk open until you arrive. They are happy to comply.

By Train

Durban is linked to Johannesburg by rail, almost daily overnight, and once per week to Cape Town; trains are operated by Spoornet

By Bus

The main companies run regular buses from Durban to Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Public transport east of Durban is limited.
The Baz Bus runs from Port Elizabeth to Durban (a compulsory overnight stop) and from there to Johannesburg via the Drakensberg and Swaziland respectively.

Key places to visit
Royal Natal National Park, Tugela River, Mooi River, Tugela Falls - Rose


Places to Visit

Royal Natal National Park

Royal Natal National Park was proclaimed in 1916, and contains some of the most spectacular scenery in Africa. The main feature of Royal Natal is the Amphitheatre, a rock wall about 5km in length, and approximately 1000m in height between the Sentinel (3 165m) and Eastern Buttress (3 047m), with a number of domes rising from its relatively flat summit plateau. In 1836, the French missionaries Arbousset and Daumas named the largest of these domes Mont-aux-Sources - a literal description of this source of five rivers.

Tugela River

The Tugela River (Zulu: Thukela) is the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The river originates in the Drakensberg Mountains, Mont-aux-Sources, (itself the source of tributaries of two other major South African rivers, the Orange River and the Vaal River) and plunges 947 metres down the Tugela Falls. From the Drakensberg range the river follows a 502 kilometres (312 mi) route through the KwaZulu-Natal midlands before flowing into the Indian Ocean The total catchment area is approximately 29,100 square kilometres (11,200 sq mi). Land uses in the catchment are mainly rural subsistence farming and commercial forestry.

Mooi River

The Mooi River was named by the Afrikaans Voortrekkers who though it was a pretty "mooi" river.
Guests should take the time to view the Mooi Falls located from the R622 between Mooi River and Greytown in an area known as the Hidden Valley. Near Edengrove this is a rocky gorge that is pelted with the weight of water falling 80m from an upper ridge of the Mooirivier. Visits to the falls must be arranged.

Tugela Falls - Rose

This extremely vigorous rose produces masses of flowers and will cover bare fences and walls in no time, with long stems of flowers hanging down to the ground. It grows 2 to 3 metres per year.

Right Time to Visit

February - April


June - July -> 10(°C) - Spring
February - March -> 25(°C) - Summer


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