About us

All about us at Drakensberghiker

Drakensberg Hiker is a self-owned business established to assist visitors who want to hike, trek or backpack through the South African Northern, Central and Southern Drakensberg Mountains with an experienced & expert guide.

We also offer interesting and informative overland tours of Southern Africa through our sister business, www.safricaoverland.co.za.

Drakensberg Hiker can tailor-make a South African adventure to suit all your holiday requirements.

Drakensberg Hiker’s owner, Ian Shooter, was born and raised in South Africa and at the age of 11 years, after joining the Boy Scouts, started a life-long passion and exploration of the Drakensberg Mountains.

all about us at Drakensberghiker

Ian is registered with the South African Mountaineering Development & Training Trust as an Advanced Mountain Leader. He offers his considerable expertise, knowledge and passion for South Africa, and the Drakensberg Mountains in particular, to anyone keen to explore it.

Whether it be on a guided hike through the remarkable Drakensberg Mountains or a slack-packing tour of KwaZulu-Natal.

Incorporating visits to some of South Africa’s premier attractions.

Wilderness trails in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve or touring the Kwazulu-Natal Battlefields. Also White-Water Rafting down the mighty Umkomaas River, Trout Fishing, or any of the other amazing adventures to be had here – Ian will make sure it is a once in a lifetime adventure.

After finishing his National Service and studying to be a paramedic, Ian moved to Canada, where he ran his own equestrian center. While in Canada Ian spent a great deal of time hiking, skiing and ice-climbing in the Canadian Rockies.

Eventually, after spending 10 years in Canada, Ian decided to return to his roots in South Africa and start his own business – arranging guided, portered and catered hikes in the Drakensberg Mountains and leading 4×4 overland tours of Lesotho.

Ian’s love of South Africa, the Drakensberg Mountains, his general knowledge of South African flora and fauna, and interest in regional history, is immediately evident to all who meet him. He is a strong and enthusiastic leader.

When not hiking in the South African Drakensberg, Ian spends his time mountain biking, trail running and canoeing (kayaking).

About the South African Drakensberg…

The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range is the highest mountain range in South Africa, rising some 3,482m above sea level.

The Drakensberg offers incredible natural beauty, panoramic views, a wealth of unique plant and animal life, and most of all is one of the richest collections of San Rock paintings in Africa.  The range is situated in the eastern part of South Africa, running for some 1000km from south-west to north-east, separating the province of KwaZulu-Natal from Lesotho and the Free State.

The Afrikaans name Drakensberge comes from the  earliest Dutch settlers who referred to the range as the “Dragon Mountains”.  While in Zulu the name for the Drakensberg Mountain Range is uKhahlamba – meaning ‘Barrier of Spears’.

One of South Africa’s premier attractions, the Drakensberg offers unrivaled opportunities for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, and bird-watching all of which can be explored via guided and portered hikes led by Ian Shooter, who has made the Drakensberg his second home for over 30 years.

Mnweni circuit hike

The South African Drakensberg dates back approximately 200 million years and is made up of sedimentary rock capped by a solid basalt layer that can be up to 1400m thick in places.  Weathering has reduced the mountain range’s size and has caused the plateau to erode away in places, resulting in a combination of spectacular vistas, including steep-sided blocks and the fantastic spiraling pinnacles which make for incredible scenery and unrivaled photo opportunities; many of which can only be reached on a guided hike with us.

Our FaceBook Page has pictures of some of the spectacular vistas, rare birdlife and flowers to be seen on some of our guided hikes in the South African Drakensberg.

The pictures shown here are just some of the fantastic images we have from our Drakensberg hikes, KwaZulu-Natal & Lesotho Overland Tours and excursions.

See our popular guided hikes page for the best of our guided hikes. We can also custom design any hikes or backpacking experiences in the South African Drakensberg to suit your needs. The uKahlamba-Drakensberg Park, which extends along the escarpment of the Drakensberg is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and hiking here is part of the South African experience of a lifetime.

South African Drakensberg Fauna & Flora…

The Drakensberg’s habitat contains some of the most remarkable and diverse range of plants, birds and animal life which have adapted to their harsh environment in South Africa.  Covering 250 000ha, the South African Drakensberg is ecologically unique, and is home to an extraordinary variety of plants and animals, many of which are on the threatened and endangered species list.  In many cases, the only way to see them is on by hiking in their habitat and without an experienced guide many opportunities to see the unique fauna and flora of this area would be missed.

Please see here for a current weather forecast for Bergville, a town close to the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg to get an idea of the current climate.