Via Ferrata on Sentinel Peak

Overview

Experience the thrill of climbing the Dragon’s Tale Via Ferrata at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge. This unique adventure involves traversing a steel cable fixed to the steep mountainside, providing a secure and exhilarating route over otherwise challenging terrain.

Climbers navigating the steel cable on the Dragon's Tale Via Ferrata.

Adventurous climbers navigating the thrilling Via Ferrata on the Drakensberg’s Sentinel Peak.

What to Expect

  • Access the route via the Sentinel Peak Car Park. Hike up the switchbacks, and find the route approximately 3kms from the Car Park at the rear side of Sentinel Peak.
  • Route Segments: The Via Ferrata is divided into three pitches, each separated by a ledge and a brief walking section. The ascent gets progressively steeper, culminating in stunning views from the summit at Beacon Buttress.
  • Summit and Descent: Upon reaching the summit, sign the summit log before descending via the Beacon Buttress Gully or the exciting chain ladders, both leading back to the contour track.
Aerial view of the Via Ferrata route with marked routes

Aerial view of the Dragon’s Tale Via Ferrata route.

Required Equipment

  • Mandatory Gear: Helmet, harness, and Via Ferrata lanyard.
  • Additional Gear: Comfortable walking shoes with good grip, cold and wet weather gear, and gloves (optional but recommended).
Close-up of climbers' specialized harness and slings.

Specialized harness and slings used for the Via Ferrata climb

Equipment Hire Rates (rates valid till end February 2025)

  • Day Visitors: R475.00 per set
  • Overnight Guests: R350.00 per set
  • Deposit: R2,000.00 per set (refundable upon equipment inspection)
  • Extras: Day hiking fee (R125.00 per day) and gloves (R150.00 per pair to own)
Close-up of the steel cable on the Via Ferrata route.

Close-up of the steel cable on the Via Ferrata route.

Safety and Precautions

  • Stay updated on the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden changes.
  • Carry adequate food, water, and sunscreen.
  • Be cautious of rock falls and avoid using the Via Ferrata in harsh weather conditions.
  • Use the route entirely at your own risk, and always climb with proper training, a qualified guide, and the correct equipment.
Group of climbers ascending the Via Ferrata with mountain views.

A group of climbers making their way up the Dragon’s Tale Via Ferrata route with the Drakensberg’s Devil’s Tooth in the background.

FAQ

  1. What is a Via Ferrata?
    • A Via Ferrata is a secured climbing route using a steel cable, offering a safe passage over steep terrain.
  2. Do I need prior climbing experience?
    • Prior experience is beneficial but not mandatory. Physically active individuals in good shape can complete the climb.
  3. What equipment do I need?
    • You need a helmet, harness, and Via Ferrata lanyard, all of which are available for hire at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.
  4. How long does the climb take?
    • The ascent takes approximately 3 hours, with additional time needed for the descent, totaling 1-2 hours depending on the route and walking speed.
  5. Is it safe to climb the Via Ferrata?
    • While safety measures are in place, climbing is inherently risky. Proper precautions, training, and equipment are essential.
  6. What will it cost to climb the Dragon’s Tale Via Feratta?
    • There is no additional charge beyond the current fees paid for accessing the Sentinel Peak Hiking Trail, and any equipment hire fees.
      • Gate Access : R80 (adults)
      • Hiking Trail Fee (from Sentinel Peak Car Park) : R125
      • Optional 4×4 transfer from Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge to Sentinel Peak Car Park : R125 each direction (ie R250 both ways)
      • Equipment Hire fees (see separate section above)
  7. Who do I talk to for more information?
    • Contact the Outdoor Manager at Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge via email outdoor@witsieshoek.co.za
Large group of climbers ascending the Via Ferrata route.

An overview of the Via Ferrata hike with a large group of climbers.

Via Ferrata Fact Sheet April 2024