Drakensberg Northern Trail

04 March 2023

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 renovating the Windmill cottages… The old home of the event. With their help and the rallying support of various local landowners, we were able to establish the initial courses for the first Drakensberg Northern Trail. Since then, we’ve navigated various obstacles and created a route that runs back on itself – avoiding restricted areas – and brought about what is probably the most famous part of the marathon course, Vultures Pass, a torturously steep climb not long after the main aid station at Greenfire Lodge.

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Entries and Registration

Enter Here

Early Bird Entries Open: 10am, Monday, 01 August 2022
Online Entries Open:
12am, 08 August 2022
Online Entries Close: 
12pm, Tuesday, 28 February, 2023

Registration and Late Entries: Registration will open at 04:00pm on the day before the event and will close at 08:00pm. Registration will commence again on race day at 04:30am. Late Entries will be available at registration  for the short and medium courses but at a R50 surcharge.



Please Note:

Assessing the routes outside of the event is not allowed and would be viewed by the land owners as trespassing. Please use the GPX files responsibly.

Mountain Marathon

Start time: 05:30am
Distance: 39.30km
Elevation gain: 1865m
Aid Stations: 

*Please note this course requires compulsory equipment.

2022 Stats

Mens Winner: Sinovuyo Ngcobo (03::42:16)
Ladies Winner: Trish Eksteen (04:55:50)

Average Time: 06:33:28
Longest Time: 10:19:55

Finishers: 135 runners

Download route

Mountain Challenge

Start time: 06:30am
Distance: 18.54km
Elevation gain: 768m
Aid Stations: 

*Please note this course requires compulsory equipment.

2022 STATS

Mens Winner: Mxolisi Ndlovu (01:33:38)
Ladies Winner: Leah Sloman (01:57:34)

Average Time: 03:12:30
Longest Time: 05:12:25

Finishers: 150 runners

Download route

Medium course

Start time: 07:00am | Walkers Welcome
Distance: 9.52km
Elevation gain: 410m
Aid Stations: 

2022 STATS

Mens Winner: Nicholas Notten (01:05:02)
Ladies Winner: Christina Rencken (01:25:43)

Average Time: 01:59:52
Longest Time: 03:36:59

Finishers: 109 runners

Download route

short course

Start time: 07:15am | Walkers Welcome
Distance: 6km
Elevation gain: 213m
Aid Stations: 

2022 STATS

Mens Winner: Joshua Botha (00:03:22)
Ladies Winner: Rachel Moffat (00:45:31)

Average Time: 01:18:39
Longest Time: 02:07:02

Finishers: 58 runners

Download route


aha alpine heat Resort, Northern Drakensberg, Bergville

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

Alternative Accommodation

Greenfire lodge, Northern Drakensberg, Bergville

A 1000-hectare National Heritage Site that has to be seen to be appreciated. At 1800 meters above sea level and lies in the shadow of the greater Drakensberg peaks. With dramatic waterfalls, deep valleys, and high peaks housing Cape Vultures, Eland and many other animal and bird species as well as lush indigenous forests and hidden San Rock Art, this venue provides the ideal terrain for hiking, climbing, exploring, mountain biking, horse riding, or simply taking in the views.

Accommodation is in Canadian styled log cabins, each en-suite. Twin rooms all have their own fireplace. A communal lounge, dining area, and surround veranda overlooks the Royal Natal National Park and breathtaking Amphitheater.