Tugela Falls is the second-highest waterfall in the world, after Angel Falls in Venezuela, and one of the most iconic sights in the Drakensberg. The Tugela River in South Africa feeds the waterfall and empties into the Indian Ocean. Three trails wind through the forests and lead to various parts of the falls, and these are among the most popular ways to reach the falls without a guide. Tours are also available in the Royal Natal National Park that cover a number of different attractions, including the Tugela waterfall.
Falling more than 3,000 feet, Tugela Falls is a magnificent display from top to bottom. The river flows off the escarpment in the Drakensberg in five beautiful tiers, and because of these extensive tiers, views of Tugela waterfall at the mid section are broken up and are not quite as spectacular as those from the top and from below.
The Tugela River in South Africa is the largest river in the KwaZulu-Natal province and is also the tributary source of the Vaal River and the Orange River. The original source of the waterfall is the Mont-Aux-Sources, from which the Tugela River in South Africa flows and winds in anticipation of the precipice, before falling thousands of feet and hitting outcroppings at several points, before rushing into the river that continues to cut through the land until it finally spills into the Indian Ocean.
Visitors can traverse the three trails that all lead to different points for viewing the Tugela Waterfall. The longest of these trails is about fourteen miles; this will take more than one day to complete the trip, but as it runs alongside the Tugela River, it is a relatively easy hike.
The two most popular walks are from Sentinel car park at Witsieshoek and Royal Natal National Park. From Witsieshoek, the hike is about a five-hour trip to the summit and back, depending on your fitness level, and chain ladders are provided to reach the very top for the most spectacular views. The walk from the Thendele car park in Royal Natal National Park is another day trip, which is about four miles to the Tugela Gorge, and then quite a few more as it meanders through the forest to the bottom of the falls for another stunning vista.
In Drakensberg and other places in South Africa, several tours are available featuring the Tugela Falls on the itinerary. Some of these tours are several days long and include accommodations, meals, and stops in quite a few attractions. The Drakensberg and Garden Route Explorer is an eleven-day tour and safari exploring the Drakensberg and Cape regions and covering a number of destinations, including the Garden Route.
Stunning views and intriguing artwork by Bushmen are found along the winding trails to the waterfall. In addition to organized tours and relaxing treks through the nearby woods, visitors of all types are sure to find plenty to do in the area. Other game reserves and national parks are found nearby, so anyone interested in the country's geography, wildlife, and history will be astonished by the region's unforgettable sights—including the view of Tugela Falls as it cascades down the mountain.