PATRICK'S TRAIL leads to Patrick's Rock art Site in the Sandhlwana Valley with options for a cultural visit, exploration and continuing to Cathedral Peak. For arrangements to visit rock art sites open to the public, a guided trip, porters and/or cultural visits, please see the list of guides at the bottom of the page.
For day or overnight hiking trips please complete the mountain rescue register and pay the hiking fee at at the Mnweni Cultural & Hiking Centre.
The trail allows several options for morning trips, day hikes and overnighting as follows:
1. A morning (or day trip) to Patrick's Shelter with (optional) cultural visit
2. Day trip to Patrick's Shelter & exploration
3. Overnight trip: Exploration from Patrick's Shelter to Cathedral Peak
From the Mnweni Centre drive to cross the Tonyelane Bridge and continue for several kilometres before taking the turnoff to Ndala Mountain. Continue to homestead parking.
The trail commences just past the fence of the homestead and winds along the slopes of the Sandhlwana River at an elevation of 1350m which gradually rises to over 1500m then leads to Patrick's Shelter on a small tributary of the Sandhlwana River.
The small shelter should not be entered by more than two people at a time. Several large sandstone boulders in the interior severely limit the available space.
Members of the Mnweni cultural and Rock art Group monitoring the site.
View of Cathedral Peak from the Trail
Unusual images in the shelter include one of the few known paintings of a tree, therianthropes and figures whose heads incorporate small holes in the rock-face. The main panel is shown in the photo, with detail of figure on the left.
For further information on this shelter, and other rock art sites, visit this page on Drakensberg Rock Art.
The area in the vicinity of the shelter provides opportunities for exploration of this seldom hiked area while a waterfall on the Sandhlwana River, downstream of the site, can also be visited.
OVERNIGHT TRIP: EXPLORATION PATRICK'S SHELTER TO CATHEDRAL PEAK (Round trip of about 26km)
From Patrick's Shelter zigzag up above the shelter bearing right until reaching the Little Berg plateau. Continue for about 5km to cross the Sandhlwana River where a large forest can be seen in a gorge below. A path winds in and out of the Little Berg for about another 6km and finally leads to a crossing of the Nxaye River. The hiking map notes that Sgonqweni Cave is situated close to the path just before the river crossing, although this has not been verified. The path continues towards Ganabu Ridge and ultimately to the top of Baboon Rock from where Cathedral Peak Hotel is visible.
The following mountain and cultural guides are also rock art custodians: Khumbulani Ndaba - 076 989 7387 Caiphus Mthabela - 073 6039 107 Leonard Hlatshwayo - 079 6155 041 Mlayo Miya - 076 3060 964
Click to enlarge the map of the trail below, alternatively download a full-scale version of the map.
Trail development supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme, implemented by UNDP.