Route: Drakensberg: Bannerman's Pass - Langalibalele Pass Loop (South Africa, Lesotho)

Submitted by Hanno Langenhoven on Mon, 09/14/2020 - 02:14am
Location
South Africa
Lesotho
Distance
27.5 km
Vertical Gain
1720 m
Description

The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site spanning South Africa and Lesotho and includes the Drakensberg range and the Maloti mountain range. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is the South African section of this iconic area. The route is situated in the Central Drakensberg in the area called Giant's Castle. From the UNESCO website: "The site has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts as well as visually spectacular sculptured arches, caves, cliffs, pillars and rock pools. The site's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally important plants. The site harbors endangered species such as the Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres) and the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus).  This spectacular natural site contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara. They represent the spiritual life of the San people, who lived in this area over a period of 4,000 years."

The route starts in the Giant's Castle reception parking lot, a safe place to park. Please to fill in the mountain register before you start. From here you run a short distance down to the day picnic site and the start of the Bannerman's Path trail head. Follow the path up and along the ridge till it reaches the contour path where you turn right towards Bannerman's Hut. The Hut is at the bottom of Bannerman's Pass. Head up the pass, the most challenging in this area, and at the top make a left turn. You follow the edge of the mountain, past The Thumb and drop into the Langalibalele (meaning the Sun is boiling hot) valley. The valley is the site of an historic grave for perished soldiers in the Rebellion of Langalibalele. You drop down Langalibalele pass, cross the contour path and head straight down on Langalibalele Ridge stopping your watch when you are back at the Giant's Castle reception parking lot.

The loop can be done alone or in groups. If you are not familiar with the area rather opt to head out in a group. Water may or may not be available on the mountain depending on the season. Weather is always very unpredictable so carry the needed kit. This is mainly an unsupported route, with the exception if you have a crew hiking unto the route to support you.
 

GPS Track