drakensberg northern trail


06 March 2021


Alpine Heath, Northern Drakensber, KZN


5km, 10km, 20km & 40km

the story

In 2015 Skyrunning was really taking off in RSA, but the Drakensberg in KZN had no offerings on the circuit. This seemed bizarre considering its status, but as we would discover the high berg offered very few options with most of declared Wilderness and unavailable to formal events. We knew we wanted to go North and find a trail well positioned between Durban, JHB and Bloemfontein and the top of Oliviershoek presented itself as an obvious place using the lower ‘Berg and its ridges.

With the help of the Zunckels from Bergville we were introduced to Craig van Rensberg who was busy renovating the Windmill cottages having recently purchased the establishment. We established a few possible routes before seeking permission from all the land owners. For the long course we put together a large loop, this idea has to be abandoned when one of the main land owners simply would not entertain the idea of us running on his land. Fortunately everyone else was right behind the idea, so we reworked the route to run back on itself in parts along the higher ridges, avoiding prohibited lands. This brought in what is probably the most famous part of the Marathon Course, Vulture Pass, a torturously steep climb not long after the main aid station at Greenfire Lodge.

the venue

Alpine Heath is a great family destination sporting a magnificent Drakensberg backdrop. This 4-star, self-catering resort has offered it’s 6 sleeper chalets at an excellent rate and is perfect for families to enjoy the Drakensberg with luxury accommodation. It houses a unique village market selling both groceries and trinkets and has the Gruyéres Restaurant and Pizza Inferno Pizzeria for your choice in dining. With many exciting activities including horse riding, mountain bike riding, hiking, a beauty spa, table tennis, miniature golf and swimming, this venue holds the cards for a great family weekend away.

race info

The Drakensberg Northern Trail is a trail running event that takes place in the northern section of the spectacular Drakensberg Mountain Range in South Africa. The main event is a 40km Mountain Challenge. There are 3 shorter distances of 20km, 10km and 6km making a great weekend of running for all levels of runners and walkers.