Highest Summits


Highest summits in southern Africa
These are the 9 highest peaks in South Africa, all of which are found in the Drakensberg.

The list is of the tops of named mountains and not minor spot heights along the escarpment edge or minor freestanding unnamed pinnacles. Only Monk’s Cowl and Mponjwana require rock climbing to gain the summit.

Highest Mountain in South Africa

1) Mafadi peak – 3450m (11322ft) This is the highest point in South Africa. It lies on the border with Lesotho in the Injisuthi area. A new survey done in 2002 shows the height to be 3451 metres. (MCSA Journal 2002) The Sotho name for the peak is Ntheleli. It is in actual fact a very insignificant, flat topped mountain.

2) Injisuthi peak – 3410m Lies on the border with Lesotho just 1 kilometre south east of Mafadi. The name means “the well fed dog” in the Zulu language. There are several spellings of the word, including Njasuti and Injasuthi.

3) Champagne Castle – 3377m This peak lies west of Monk’s Cowl and forms the edge of the escarpment.

4) Giant’s Castle – 3314m A very prominent peak that juts 3 kilometers out into South Africa and is easily seen from the KZ-N Midlands. The Zulu name is Ntabayikonjwa and means “the one at which you must not point”. This apparently has something to do with a Zulu belief to not point at a giant.

5) Long Wall – 3260m As the name indicates, a long wall of rock, just north of Giant’s Castle.

6) Monk’s Cowl – 3229m The highest free standing peak and the highest peak that requires rock climbing to gain the summit.

7)Injisuthi Lesser Buttress – 3212m A buttress which lies on the escarpment edge near the main peak.

8) Injisuthi Greater Buttress – 3202m Lies just north of the lesser buttress.

9) Mponjwana – 3177m This peak is in the Mweni area in the north of the range. The name means the small horn of a young cow. The peak is infact incorrectly named and Cathedral Peak should carry the name Mponjwana. The name change came about by accident by early map makers.

Highest summits Mafadi injas

Mafadi, SA’s highest mountain, seen on the extreme right of the picture.

The highest peak in southern Africa and therefore highest south of Mt. Kilimanjaro, lies in Lesotho and is about 10 kilometers west of Sani Pass Top. The top 3 are listed here and are all trekking peaks.

1)Thabana Ntlenyana – 3482m (11424ft) It means the “nice little mountain” and is a very insignificant flat topped mountain. It is a days walk from the top of Sani Pass.

2) Makeka – 3482m Also called Gray’s Peak.

3) Thaba Putsoa – 3455m Ref Thomas Wimber MCSA Journal 1999

Gavin Raubenheimer

Gavin is the owner & operator of Peak High Mountaineering. He is a certified Mountaineering Instructor (M.I.A.) endorsed by the Mountain Development Trust of SA. He is a NQF National Mountaineering (level 7), Cultural and Nature Guide (level 4). Gavin is a past President of the KwaZulu-Natal Section of the Mountain Club of SA. He has been involved in mountain rescue since 1992 and since 2005 has been the Convener of Mountain Rescue in the province. Want Gavin and his team at Peak High to guide you on a hike? Put yourself in the hands of the certified and experienced experts in mountain hiking, guiding and climbing. See Gavin's Google + profile