Your Guide to the Drakensberg and Natal Midlands

Monks-Cowl Drakensberg

Monks Cowl, taking its name from the peak between the towering mountains of Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak, is part of 260,000 ha Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park and is the access point for the Mlambonja and Mdedelo wilderness areas . It is known for its wonderful scenery and provides hikers with wonderful routes that weave through the deep valleys and forests of the Northern Drakensberg and up onto the main escarpment. The routes vary from a few hours to several days and provide opportunities for young and old, the fit and not so fit, to visit places with evocative names like the Sphinx and Blindman's Corner.

Monks CowlThere are only camping facilities available at Monks Cowl. The campsite is fairly flat and bordered with indigenous trees and shrubs; there are barbecue facilities, and sites are not numbered. There are two ablution blocks, one has showers with hot and cold water, whilst the other has toilets only. The lower section of the campsite is reserved for 4 x 4 vehicles which can traverse the steep road. Overnight hiking must be booked in advance. Bring along hiking stoves as fires are not allowed due to the danger of run-away fires. The mountain campsites of Keith Bush Camp and Cowl Fork campsite have no facilities and hikers must be suitably equiped.

Campsites and caves are booked directly with the Camp Office. Telephone No. (036) 468 1103.

Monks Cowl Vital Information

  • Gate Opening and Closing Times:
    Summer ( October to March ) 05h00 to 19h00
    Winter (April to September ) 06h00 to 18h00
  • Office Hours:
    The office is open from 08h00 to 12h30 and from 14h00 to 16h30
  • Camp Telephone Number: (036) 4681103
    Camp Fax: (036) 4681103
  • Shop:
    Limited curios and supplies.
  • Special Precautions:
    The weather is subject to change at short notice and can become very cold so hikers are advised to be well equipped and to fill in their details in the Mountain Rescue Register.
  • The nearest town which has a full range of services is Estcourt which is 70 kms away.
  • How to get there:
    From the north take the N11 to Bergville then the R74 to Winterton there after take the R600 to Monk's Cowl.
    From the south turn off the N3 on to the R74 after Estcourt and proceed to Winterton, there after the R600 to Monk's Cowl.
  • Pets are not permitted into the reserve.
  • Concessions:
    Education groups from KwaZulu-Natal are admitted free to the reserve
  • Facilities for people with disabilities: Nil






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