Cathedral Peak

catherdral peak river

Cathedral Peak

Stars streak across the nocturnal sky over the Cathedral Peak mountain range, an exposure of 32 minutes creating the effect. The warm glow in the sky is created by the very last few rays of astronomical twilight.

Cathedral Peak is a 3,004 m (9,856 ft) high free standing mountain in the Drakensberg. It is part of the Cathedral Ridge which is at right angles to the main range. The Cathedral Peak area is a paradise for climbers, mountaineers and trekkers. Although the rock climbing is not for the faint-hearted, there are many hikes, from multi-day treks and long, single-day, peak-bagging journeys, to more friendly hikes and trails in the lower foothills.

Cathedral Peak Hikes


  • Doreen Falls – 1.5 hours return (easy), skirting the low contours of the foothills near the hotel, and leading to the picturesque Doreen Falls. Ideal for an after-breakfast or after-lunch romp in the hills.
  • Ribbon Falls – 3.5 hours return (medium), an ideal morning walk into the foothills beneath the escarpment, along a ridge and past some caves to the impressive Ribbon Falls. There is some very easy, enjoyable rock scrambling involved.
  • Rainbow Gorge – 5 hours return (medium) a scenic journey including indigenous forests, and boulder hopping up high narrow gorges to reach the famous hanging boulder, which is a good place for lunch.
  • Cathedral Peak – 8 to 10 hours return (difficult), is one of the finest outings in the Cathedral area, if you are fit enough. The 20km round trip takes you over rolling foothills, along high ridges, through necks, up steep gullies, over steepish rock, and finally up the flank to the summit at 3 004m, where views of the Drakensberg can be seen from all sides.

Hiking Guides

Cathedral Peak Central DrakensbergWiseman Mdluli is a freelance mountain guide operating through the Cathedral Peak Hotel. To arrange any trips in the Cathedral Peak area he can be contacted on 076 089 4307.

Cathedral Peak - Ndedima Valley - Eland cave

Activities in this area

Cathedral Peak Golf course

  • The nine-hole course at Cathedral Peak has often been described as one of South Africa’s little gems. Located high up in the Drakensberg mountains, you are guaranteed fabulous mountain scenery and plenty of elevation changes throughout.
  • The San Art Interpretive Centre, which opened in 2003, provides fascinating insights into the art and culture of the San and includes static displays and audio-visual presentations featuring a reconstructed cave covered with accurate reproductions of actual San Art sites.
  • Westline Aviation offer helicopter flips from Cathedral Peak Hotel. These Drakensberg tours taken in some of the area’s most spectacular landscape features, including the Bell, the Inner and Outer Horns, the Chessman, the Three Puddings, and of course the awe-inspiring Cathedral Peak itself. 036 488 2055
  • Cathedral Peak Wine Estate offers wine tasting for the wines they make with a clear sense of place. Cathedral Peak Wine Estate is the only wine estate in the Central Drakensberg. Visit it for a unique wine experience.
  • Mikes Pass provides an opportunity to drive to the top of the Little Berg near the head of Didima Gorge for spectacular views of the main escarpment and the surrounding lowlands. A 4×4 is required.
  • Cathedral Peak containing the magnificent Didima Valley with its many examples of San Rock art is perhaps the best area to view bushman rock art. But to get to the rock art you will need to find a guide and walk for a long way