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Great route with some tough sections but the views around you are well worth it.

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10,139' 3,090 m


8,338' 2,541 m


2,131' 650 m


2,125' 648 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (43°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Waterfall · Wildflowers

The road leading to the Car park is extremely rough.


This route is also known as the Chain Ladders and involves climbing two fixed-chain ladders up one of the almost-vertical rock faces to get on top of the west side of beacon buttress. Also on this hike you'll find yourself at the top of Tugela Falls, which is the second highest waterfall in the world. From the east side of Beacon buttress there is an amazing view looking across the Amphitheatre which is widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth.


The hike starts off from the Sentinel car park, but be sure to have a 4x4 due to the road leading there is extremely rough for normal road cars. Witsieshoek mountain lodge offers a car park and a 4x4 ride to the car park so plan ahead.

From the car park you start off on a nice slightly slanted trail that has a path laid out to prevent corrosion from explorers. At the end of this section you'll begin to zig zag up and onto the side of Sentinel Peak. Once on this path way, you'll hike around the side of Sentinel with some breath taking views if you are lucky enough to have no fog.

Once you are on the South western side of Sentinel, you can either carry on and follow the path to the chain ladders or climb up the gully between Beacon buttress and Sentinel Peak. This gully is usually used as the down and back route of the chain ladders.

Once up on Beacon Buttress, the gully was leads to the peak of beacon Buttress and sports some breath taking views across the Amphitheatre where you'll be able to see many of the amazing peaks of the Drakensberg. From there, you'll follow the trail to Tugela Falls (the second highest waterfall in the world). Carry on with the tail to the chain ladders where you can climb down and follow the trail back to the car park.

From the chain ladder side, the trail will lead you to Tugela Falls. From Tugela, follow the trail onto the peak of Beacon Buttress and across to the gully where you follow the trail back to the car park.

Shared By:

Rees Webber

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  4.0 from 2 votes
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in South Africa


28 Views Last Month
615 Since Sep 7, 2020
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A view of the Drakensberg Amphitheater at the top of the Tugela Waterfall, the second highest in the world.
Feb 16, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
View from the North of Sentinel Peak.
Sep 7, 2020 near Phuthad…, ZA
Top end of the gully and down you go.
Feb 19, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Up the ladders you go!
Feb 19, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
The road starts getting steeper and the view bigger - after Sentinel Peak Car Park.
Feb 19, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Heading up in the snow.
Feb 19, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA


Current Trail Conditions

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Feb 25, 2022
Wynand van Jaarsveld
11.5mi — 8h 15m
Mar 21, 2021
S dV
Oct 26, 2020
Michelle Gavin
Watch out for the mountain men

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