Tallest Mountains In South Africa

Champagne Castle, South Africa's third tallest mountain, is well known among mountaineers from all over the globe.
Champagne Castle, South Africa's third tallest mountain, is well known among mountaineers from all over the globe.

South Africa is the southernmost African nation, and the only one bordering both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. It has its capital in Pretoria and Johannesburg is the largest city. There are eleven official languages spoken there, including Afrikaans, English, and Zulu. Black Africans (80.2%) are the demographic majority, followed by the so-called "Colored" population (8.8%) and whites (8.4%). The Asians constitute to only 2.5%. The country ended its practice of racial apartheid in 1994. This nation produces more than 50% of the gold in the world. Most of the interior land in South Africa is a plateau. The eastern part of this Great Escarpment is known as the Drakensberg. This mountain range stretches for over 600 miles and hosts some of the highest peaks in South Africa. In this article, we will discuss some of the highest peaks in South Africa.

Mafadi Mountain

The Mafadi peak is the highest point in South Africa at a height of 11,320 feet. The mountain is located at the border South Africa and Lesotho, with Lesotho having another higher peak in the same mountain, Thambana Ntlenyana, at 11,424 feet. The name Mafida is translated to mean the “mother to Fida”, and is disputed by the Sotho who assert that Ntheledi, meaning makes me slip, is more relevant and correct. The name Ntheledi refers to a nearby stream. The mountain is very popular with hikers and receives thousands of adventure seekers on an annual basis. The mountain drains into the Atlantic Ocean and Orange basin.

Champagne Castle

It is 11,079 feet above sea level and is located in the KwaZulu-Natal region. It is mainly composed of basalt rock. The first person to Ascent the mountain was a Reverend Stocker in the early 20th Century. It has a series of subsidiary peaks with the four topmost peaks being Cathkin Peak (highest), Sterkhorn, Monk’s Cowl, and Dragons Back. The name the champagne castle is said to have originated when two mountaineers, David Gray and Major Grantham climbed the peaks up to the highest point, the Cathkin Peak and decided to celebrate the occasion by popping champagne. The guide, unfortunately, dropped the bottle on a rock and the name Champagne Castle was born.

Popple Peak

It is one of the mountains in the Drakensberg Range. It has an elevation of 10,928 feet and is located in KwaZulu-Natal in between the border of South Africa and Lesotho. Locally this peak is known as a Khulu which refers to a peak above 10,000 feet and not within the range of a kilometer from another Khulu. The peak was named by a mountaineer known as Barry Anderson after John Poppleton. They had climbed together up to the peak in 1946 but on arrival to the top, a heavy thunderstorm came up. Poppleton was concerned for their safety and therefore left the summit. Anderson later sent the survey of the summit with the elevation and suggested it be named as "Popple Peak". On average, the wind blows at a speed of sixteen miles per hour, and there is an average Seventeen Degrees Celsius daytime temperature with night temperatures dropping as low as Three Degrees.

Cathedral Peak

It is also known as Mponjwana by the local Amangwane ethnic group. It is 9,856 feet high mainly made up of basalt rock. The first ascent was by Basset Smith and R.G. Kingdon in 1917. It is an easy mountain for hikers, and one can use only one day using the easiest route. This peak is part of the cathedral range with other peaks in the range, including the Twins, the Bell, the Outer and Inner Horns, the Chessmen, and the Miter Peak.


The mountain forms one of the highest portions of the Drakensberg Range. It is a basalt plateau with an average elevation of around 10,000 feet, with the highest point being a 10,768 feet. The name Mont-aux-sources is a French word meaning “fountains mountain” and came from French missionaries who visited the area in 1836. Several rivers originate from this mountain, including the Tugela, the Caledon (which is the main tributary of the Orange River), the Seati, and the Elands.

Tallest Mountains In South Africa

RankTallest Mountains in South AfricaElevation
1Mafadi11,319 feet
2Njesuthi11,181 feet
3Champagne Castle11,079 feet
4Lithobolong11,070 feet
5Popple Peak10,926 feet
6Giant's Castle10,876 feet
7Mont-aux-Sources10,768 feet
8Cathkin Peak10,329 feet
9KwaDuma9,905 feet
10Cathedral Peak9,856 feet

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