By Vicky · Published Mar. 7th, 2021 · Updated Nov. 23rd, 2022
Injisuthi Camp is a great rest camp with plenty of hikes in the middle of the Drakensberg Mountains, surrounded by fantastic scenery. There are huts and a large campsite, and plenty of walks to do. Fishing is popular, and there’s a great pool in the river for cooling off.
Injisuthi Camp is a rest camp in the central Drakensberg. You need a car to get here. Google says it’s 3 hours from Durban and 5 hours from Johannesburg. If coming from Johannesburg, I’d recommend staying on the N3 highway as far as Estcourt before heading towards the mountains. The non-highway roads in this area are often much slower than Google suggests. It’s useful to have a real map that distinguishes between paved and unpaved roads. Check out our article on the best road maps of South Africa.
A roughly 4 km section of the approach road is unpaved, though with no real technical difficulties. 4x4s are recommended, though we saw many normal saloon cars at the camp. Once you officially enter the park, there’s 7 km of tar. When we drove here in late 2020, the tarred section was worse than the unpaved section because of all the potholes.
Injisuthi Camp & Hikes Map
- Summers are cool, winters very cold. In summer there are regular afternoon thunderstorms. Lightning can be dangerous, so setting off early, and getting back before the afternoon storms is a good idea.
- There’s no phone signal in the park.
- Injisuthi Camp only has a basic shop. Estcourt is the nearest large town and the last place to buy non-essentials.
- Gate times: 5am-7pm summer (Oct-Mar), 6am-6pm winter (Apr-Sep).
- Reception times: 8:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:30 daily.
- If you arrive after reception is closed, check the board outside for your accommodation details.
- See our report on our trip to the rest of the Drakensberg.
We were visiting KwaZulu-Natal for two weeks. We drove from Durban to Injisuthi (a bit over 3 hours), stopping for a halfway break at Windmill Country Stop. After our short stay at Injisuthi, we drove 6 hours to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.
Day 1 – arrival
We arrived at Injisuthi camp in the late afternoon, as the sun was beginning to set. The reception was closed, so we just found a spot in the campsite and set up.
Day 2 – hike and swim at Injisuthi
The next morning, we got up early (4 am, at sunrise) to hike the 12.5 km Cataract Valley Trail. This took us 5 hours, and we had lunch on the trail. That afternoon, we relaxed at the campsite and swam in a beautiful pool nearby. After cooking a nice dinner, we went to bed early.
Day 3 – hike and departure
We again rose early the next day and went on a beautiful hike by Poacher’s Stream, watching the mountains turn red in the sun. We got back around 9 am and set off on our long drive to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.
Injisuthi Hikes from the Rest Camp
Hikes of all lengths and difficulties are possible from Injisuthi Camp. Remember to complete the mountain register before you leave! This is located just outside reception. You fill in the form and tear off part of it to take with you. And, remember to sign back in when you get back!
We used the Cicerone hiking guide: Walking in the Drakensberg*, to plan our hikes. We also used this guide on our other hikes in the Drakensberg.
- 4.5 km, 200 m climb, 1hr 30 mins
- Best done in the morning, as the sun hits the mountains
- 12.5 km, 600 m climb, 5-6 hrs
- A beautiful hike, with splendid mountain views, waterfalls and caves.
- 7 km, 400 m climb, 3 hrs
- This walk is the same as the last part of the Cataract Valley trail above.
- It’s an out-and-back hike that ends at some cosy caves, a perfect place for lunch.
- 10 km, 425 m climb, 4 hrs
- You need to hire a guide for this hike, ask at the camp office
- It’s an easy walk to cave paintings
- 19 km, 950 m climb, 6-8 hrs
- Starts by heading to the Grindstone Caves
- You can overnight at the Marble Baths Caves, book in advance
The Camp at Injisuthi
We stayed at the campsite, but there are also lovely-looking chalets right next to the river. There are great views from the campsite, and none of the sites seemed too close or crowded together, even when it’s busy. There are some naughty baboons, so make sure to leave your setup secure when away from the campsite.
Accommodation at Injisuthi Rest Camp
All nearby accommodation in the park is at the rest camp and has to be booked through KZN Wildlife.
The campsite has space for 20 groups, each of up to 6 people. The ablutions facilities were clean, with both hot and cold water. There is no communal kitchen.
If you don’t have your own tent, you can stay in an already set-up one, but you have to bring your own linen/sleeping bag.
There are 15 four-person chalets at Injisuthi rest camp. These are well-equipped, with stoves and fridges, though electricity is only from 5:30 pm-10 pm. There are no power points.
There’s one 8-person group cabin, which is more like a dormitory.
We saw a couple of exciting birds around the campsite. A Dideric Cuckoo – green back, white front and red eye, and an African Paradise Flycatcher – with a blue front, and extraordinarily long orange tail. There were also huge numbers of yellow weavers chattering in the bushes.
River Swimming Pool
A river runs along the edge of the grassy area with chalets. There’s a delightful pool you can swim in at the end of the rest camp nearest the mountains. There’s a trail down by the chalets that leads to where once there must have been a bridge. Now it leads straight to the edge of the pool. However, it would be a jump to get in, and the water over waist height. We went back to the chalets and through the scrubby woodland, down a steep bank to the river. We could then walk across the pebbles to get to the pool. It was very refreshing to cool off in the pool after our hikes at Injisuthi.