Taking its name from the peak between Champagne Castle and Cathkin Mountain, this reserve is situated in the heart of the Drakensberg. Monks Cowl has a diverse topography, giving form to magical forests, deep valleys, sweeping grasslands, towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking vistas from the mountains.

Main attractions

  • Day hikes suitable for all fitness levels
  • Overnight hiking with access to the Mdedelo Wilderness Area


  • Guided cultural walks
  • Day walks
  • Overnight hikes and sleeping in caves or anywhere in the wilderness area
  • Picnicking
  • Swimming in fresh mountain streams and rock pools

Top sightings: Oribi, blesbok, red hartebeest, martial eagle, bearded vulture

Accommodation: Camping, overnight hike caves

Gate times: October – March 05:00 – 19:00, April – September 06:00 – 18:00

Nearest centre: Estcourt is 70km away (about 45 minutes).

Know before you go

  • All hikers must fill in the Mountain Rescue Register on arrival.
  • Make sure you’re well equipped as the weather can change with little warning.

Contact reserve: +27 (0)36 468 1103

Ezemvelo Central Reservations: +27 (0)33 845 1000, [email protected]

Visit Monks Cowl Nature Reserve’s home page.