Bell Traverse

Majestic, diversity, close encounters with numerous peaks
11 September, 2023

Bell Traverse

Escape for 3 nights in contrasting Drakensberg wilderness environments. One in a lush forested river valley, the next in alpine Lesotho, lastly perched on the edge of cliffs just below the peaks.  


Starting at Cathedral Peak hotel we spend the first night next to the Mlambonja river at the base of the pass, beautiful views up and down the valley and a big pool for swimming. 

Day two is a half day hike up the notorious Mlambonja pass, and we camp either in Twins Cave or over the ridge in Lesotho next to the Kwakwatsi river. We usually arrive around lunch time and spend the afternoon soaking in the scenery along the escarpment, swimming, and of course a few coffee breaks. If all goes well weatherwise, we enjoy a night under the stars in the stillness of Lesotho 

Day 3 is the highlight, traversing from Twins Cave just below some major peaks like the Mitre, Inner Horn, Outer Horn, The Chessmen, The Bell, and of course Cathedral Peak. There are one or two tricky sections but for the most part it’s an almost miraculously easy contour for 6km between all of these peaks, making it a unique berg experience. We take our time winding along with regular stops to take in the scenery before Bugger Gully (towards the end) provides a final challenge, and we then make camp at the base of Cathedral Peak. The 360 views from this site are incredible, resident cape eagle owl calling when you’re nodding off, and you can position your tents to catch the sunrise with a view all the way to Champagne Castle towards the South East. 

Day 4 we make an easy descent via Orange Peel Gap and back to the hotel for a well deserved lunch and some storytelling. 

Difficulty: 8/10
4 Days / 3 Nights
Elevation gain: 2303m
Distance: 34km
Trail Map
At a glance
  • Cathedral Peak Hikers Parking
  • Cathedral Peak Hikers Parking
  • 6
  • hike not currently scheduled
  • Guide, permits, tents, all meals & snacks
Marc Echstein,

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