The Amphitheatre is the most recognizable and dramatically imposing feature of the Drakensberg mountain range. It is a World Heritage Site of outstanding environmental and cultural significance. The Amphitheatre is a mighty wall of basalt which rises over 1000 metres from the Tugela Valley to the Lesotho plateau nearly 3000 metres above sea level. The Amphitheatre gains much of its aesthetic appeal from its near perfect symmetry – extending as a sheer wall of rock some 5 kilometres in length from the Eastern Buttress to the Sentinel Peak in the west – altogether an area of majestic and incomparable beauty.
The Tugela Falls
The Tugela Falls, the world’s second tallest falls (and the highest in Africa), plunges 948m over the basalt face of the Amphitheatre, down to Royal Natal National Park below. The highest point on the escarpment is the Mont-Aux-Sources at 3283m. A hiking trail to the foot of the Tugela Falls starts at Royal 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 one over the final stretch from where there is a stunning view of the falls rushing down the Amphitheatre in a series of five spectacular cascades.
The best photographic opportunities
The Amphitheater is without a doubt the most photographed part of the Drakensberg Mountains. The Amphitheatre is a majestic mountain and you could capture its different moods rising through the colorful clouds at dawn or as the sun sets behind it. The iconic shot is with the Tugela River in the foreground rising back to meet the overshadowing escarpment. As you drive into Royal Natal Nature Reserve you pass a dam wall. A picture across the water of the Amphitheatre is also stunning