A Hiker’s View

The Midlands MagazineAugust 17, 2022

The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot and there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.


Meet Ian Shooter, he has been hiking in the Drakensberg since he was about 10 years old, and there are very few things that he loves more than being out in nature and sharing it with other like-minded people. His goal is to make people love the Drakensberg as much as he does. Ian is the founder of Drakensberg  Hiker and does amazing guided hikes in the Drakensberg. “For me, it is my spiritual home, and I absolutely love taking people around it and sharing stories about our unique fauna and flora and some of the amazing history of our province,” Ian says with a smile.

All hikers have options to join them as fully portered (Gold), partially portered (Silver) and non-portered hikes (Bronze), depending on your level of fitness and ability. A porter is someone who carries luggage or items for another – in hiking, it’s to help split the weight that is to be carried for the journey. So be sure to choose the package that best suits you. All hikes are catered with three meals a day and have all the hiking gear, like tents, backpacks, etc., available for rent.

The hikes are all listed in order of difficulty on the website, so anyone interested can have a browse there and pick the one that suits them best. There are a few easy family friendly hikes that he does. Typically these are overnight two-day hikes. The Giant’s Cup Trail Hike (two days) is a lovely, easy hike on fairly even ground (no steep climbs), and you sleep in Polela Hut overnight. It is an excellent introduction to hiking in the Drakensberg for anyone wanting to try an easy hike!

Another that is lovely and easy is the Xeni Cave hike, a fantastic experience for families with children 12 or over to sleep in a cave. The Pillar Cave hike is open to people with children as young as six, and both of these hikes are in the Cathedral Peak area, so the views are magnificent. For the more advanced and adventurous hikers, Drakensberg Hiker has a journey just for you. They are obviously more extreme with the longer hikes, ranging from 9-14 days in duration. “The Grand Traverse is definitely quite a daring hike and a life-changing experience!” Ian exclaims.

Hiking these same trails and routes can never get boring. You get to meet new, like-minded people on your adventure, plus soak in the beautiful views of the Drakensberg. For Ian, this year’s Drakensberg Grand Traverse had been the highlight of his year so far; they had 11 amazing people join for the hike. If you want to tick a box on your bucket list or enjoy a group adventure, book a guided hike with the Drakensberg Hiker on the website. You can either arrange a private hike as a group of people or join any of the Scheduled Hikes organised throughout the year.


Words by: Kai Coates