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Visiting Oribi Gorge in South Africa

June 28, 2022 No Comments

Oribi Gorge is the best R30 you can spend if you’re in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and enjoy being outdoors. Offering a plethora of hikes, thrill seeking activities and stunning views, it’s ideal for anyone who wants to get outdoors, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

What is it?

Oribi Gorge is a million year old gorge cut by the Umzinkulwana River, 400m deep and 4km at its widest point. The combined forces of erosion and weathering by the river and weather elements has carved out 30km of incredible kloofs covered by subtropical vegetation and inhabited by by small mammals- namely the oribi (small buck). This breathtaking canyon is located around a 2 hour drive south of Durban.

DO I NEED A 4 WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE?

No you do not. However, you do need to drive off road for this so a car with a higher clearance is preferable but a regular sedan can handle it.

We did not take a 4WD vehicle, just a regular sedan.

WILL IT COST ME MONEY?

Yes! You will need to pay R30 for locals & SADC citizens and R50 for international guests. The lady didn’t ask for ID though so do with that information what you will. 

HOW DO I GET THERE? 

Google Maps takes you to a picnic site. It is not the entrance for Oribi Gorge. The picnic site is the starting point for a few hikes but it might not be where you want to end up.

There’s various entry points with different views so it’s researching beforehand what you want to see. It’s possible to visit all entry points & sites if you give yourself a full day. 

Lake Eland Game Reserve is a great starting point if you want to go on a game drive. You can read more about what they offer if you visit their official website here. Visiting there costs R75 per person.

Oribi Gorge itself can be accessed by following the below link. Your starting point on Google Maps is ‘Wild 5 Adventures”.

You will drive for around 12 minutes on a dirt road before you end up at a small house where you’ll pay your entry fee and enter- you can pay by card. Make sure to use the toilets there!

You’ll receive a map to guide you on the various walking trails. You can have a look at it from this official link

Eventually you’ll reach a parking spot where you’ll disembark and begin you adventure. 

WHAT CAN I DO THERE?

There’s a wide variety of activities on offer from abseiling to paintball. You pay per activity you want to do. We opted out of anything taxing and did a short hike. 

By using the map we decided we would walk to Overhanging Rock which was the northernmost point on the map.  In order to get there, we had to cross over a terrifying suspension bridge (the wind!!), and then we came to this sign:

You could choose to walk along the road or go into the thicket and walk alongside the edge.

Walking along the road is quicker and easier especially if anyone is not particularly fit. 

We chose the path of more resistance and were punished rewarded with inclines, bushes, a small waterfall and actual climbing (down not up). 

There are points where you’ll have to use a rope to assist you down rocks. On the plus side you’ll be rewarded by a little waterfall shortly before you arrive at Overhanging Rock.

The view from Overhanging Rock is spectacular. 

To get the best vantage point for photos at Overhanging Rock, walk a few steps back toward the trail until you see an opening in the thicket. You can get the photo above from that point. This rock marks the path to go down:

Just note that the trail is marked using these red arrows which aren’t always clear. Keep looking out for on rocks and trees as you meander through. The path is- for the most part- quite clear. 

We went back using the road- it took half the time and effort. 

This can take you around an hour depending on your pace. I strongly recommend a picnic to enjoy at the end of your hike.

Something you need to note is that Oribi Gorge is not fenced or gated in any way. So boisterous children can and will get seriously injured if they’re not supervised closely. I would advise going with children 10 years old and above. 

For those wishing to do longer and more challenging hikes, enquire at the Wild Five reception or call in advance to explore your options. 

WHAT ARE THE RATINGS ON PANDA’S RATING SCALE? 

LASTLY,

Oribi Gorge has changed a lot since the last time I visited- about a decade ago- but it’s still offering the same breathtaking views and unique opportunities for adventure. 

I know everyone goes to hike in the Drakensberg but if you’re in the vicinity of the KZN south coast, pop into Oribi Gorge- you won’t be disappointed. 

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Have you considered visiting Oribi Gorge in South Africa? Or have I just put it on your list? Let me know in the comments below!

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