Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge facilitates a hike to the Mlambonja and Mdodelelo Wilderness area on a 19km return hike to the summit of Cathedral Peak. This can be regarded as ‘extreme hiking’ on an ascent of 1,500m therefore fitness and endurance are required. Challenging and rewarding!
64 Kilometres from the lodge in the Mlambonja and Mdodelelo Wilderness area another famous summit can be found, Cathedral Peak. In its shadow the Mlambonja River flows through the valley and “Ndedema Gorge” is home to the LARGEST indigenous forest in the Drakensberg. It is considered to be the RICHEST rock art area in the WORLD. There are 3900 paintings in 17 sites. “Sibayeni Cave” has 1146 individual paintings in it alone! But it is the actual peak itself that we summit. This is not a hike for beginners. We wake up early for this hike as it is a long tough hike and you’ll need all the energy you can get! For this hike you need decent hiking boots, warm clothing, waterproof clothing, a hat and sun cream.
From the lodge we drive directly to Cathedral Peak Hotel where we sign the register and then the upward hike begins with short rests on steep sections towards Orange Peel Gap. By midmorning we break close to Sherman’s Cave and then continue heading up Bugger Gulley to where the badly eroded path heads up, up, up towards the peak. Here we negotiate very exposed sections using a safety rope to aid where necessary and at last we lunch on this free-standing peak and enjoy the breath-taking 360 degree views taking breath-taking photographs of the views. Then we descend and head down Bugger Gulley to Orange Peel gap and across the tricky and exposed sections.
If it’s winter this will probably be the last bit of sun before heading down the valley towards the Hotel. The trip takes a FULL day leaving at 06h00 and returning at 20h00. This trip includes guide’s fees, food, transport, entrance fees, community levy and equipment.