Giants Castle Slackpacking Trail

Explore the Drakensberg foothills without the burden of a backpack walking from lodge to lodge, having your luggage transported for you and looking forward to excellent 3 course meals. The Drakensberg Slack packing trail is a luxury hike offering comfortable and varied accommodation experiences each night, luggage transfers and delectable catering. The Giants Castle slack packing hiking trail includes some of the most scenic and bio diverse parts of KwaZulu Natal. This hiking trail provides access to private land, a game reserve and locally forged conservancies. Special places where people normally would not have access. All you need to do is organise a group of friends or join one of our prearranged trips, and look forward to a gentle stroll carrying nothing more than a packed picnic, some binoculars and a good birding book. This is a three day round hike encompassing curated paths through the Zulu Waters Private Game Reserve and the Lowlands Conservancy. Well known for its rich biodiversity, the daily hikes are gentle in distance and gradient making this hike a perfect beginner’s hike for families and for those less experienced and fit. The lodges offer locally grown, home cooked meals as an added bonus. In the summer, there are rivers and dams to swim in and plenty of picturesque picnic spots on route.

Trail Details

Trail location

Southern end of the Central Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

Nearest city

Nearest town is Escourt, KwaZulu-Natal

Transport options

Escourt is on the N3 bus route. Collection from the Midway, Caltex bus stop by arrangement or self-drive to Antbear Lodge. 

Transfer from Shaka Lodge to start at Antbear Lodge at the end of the trail

Trip Duration / Options

Option 1.  3 days walking / 3 nights fully catered  (full hike)
Option 2.  Route and length can be individually customized to meet specific client needs.
Option 3. Additional days and activities can be added to standard trail


Start / Finish

Start & Finish: Antbear Lodge
GPS: 29˚14’48.53 S / 29˚ 81’30.61 E

Daily Time / Distances

Day 1: 15 km, Day 2: 15 km, Day 3: 16 km

Day 1: 5 hrs, Day 2: 5 hrs, Day 3: 6 hrs

Trail Grading

On a grading of Easy – Moderate – Strenuous
Moderate with some up hill sections.

Physical Fitness

Walking is easy and requires no previous experience with a reasonable fitness level. It is great for families with children.

Technical detail / Terrain

No technical skills required


Antbear Lodge – Luxury Eco-Lodge
Leopards Lair Lodge – Agri-tourism experience
Shaka Lodge – Private Safari Lodge

Food Supply / Catering

3 course dinners, packed lunches, high teas and full breakfast included

Logistic support / Guiding

Qualified guide and luggage transport between lodges included



Hiking in a private game reserve

Other Activities

Options for horse trails, hot air ballooning, mountain biking, star gazing and hammock camp

Fauna & Flora

The flora of the Drakensberg is broadly described as being Afro-montane in the Little Berg foothills and Afro-alpine on the summit. On a local scale the vegetation is affected mainly by altitude (height) and attitude (angle to the sun). With altitude it is not only the low winter temperatures but also the greater temperature range that cause the consequent stresses on the things living there.


Moderate summers, cold winter nights

Seasonality & Best Time Year

All year. Summer expect thunderstorms in the afternoons. In winter expect cold nights

Group Size

Minimum of 4 hikers – maximum of 10 hikers per group

Price P/P

Price on application. Price review 1 November annually


Price Includes

  • 3 nights accommodation (pp sharing)
  • All meals and pack lunches
  • Transfer from Escourt if applicable
  • Optional Extras: Additional activities such as hot air balooning, mountain bike and horse riding

Here you'll find any scheduled trails that you can join. Trails may be booked up to one year in advance, so be sure to scroll ahead using the arrows on the left to find if there are any available.  The trail operator page will also list any scheduled trails.

If you would like to enquire about different dates, please fill in the form below.  Trails are initiated when someone makes an enquiry, and go ahead once the minimum numbers are confirmed.

Scheduled Giants Castle Slackpacking Trail

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