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9 extremely challenging but worthwhile hikes

By: Josh Lew on June 25, 2013, 12:22 p.m.
North Drakensberg Traverse landscape

Photo: billandkent/Flickr

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North Drakensberg Traverse

This challenging trek takes walkers through two countries, South Africa and Lesotho. The landscapes here are truly epic, with high plateaus, steep mountain slopes, rocky cliffs, towering waterfalls and panoramas of grass-covered hills that reach up to the clouds. There is no true trail that covers the length of this route, but ropes and ladders are fixed in especially steep places to aid hikers. A guide is necessary for people who don't have backcountry skill and who aren't familiar with the hazards of hiking in this high-altitude portion of Africa. There are also some cultural attractions along the route, with caves that contain paintings made by early inhabitants of the region.