Khulu Challenge Description and Rules

MBC Khulu Challenge started 1 July 2011 and was jointly won by John Pickup and Christine Bro in 2012.

The following description and rules remains available for information only:

For the purposes of this competition, a ‘Khulu’ is a Drakensberg peak of over 3300 metres (approximately 10 000ft) in height, above mean sea level, that is situated on the border or wholly within South Africa.. There are twenty seven of them with most on the watershed or border between South Africa and Lesotho. We have also included Thabana Ntlenyana in our list, despite it being wholly in Lesotho, simply because it is there. All of the peaks are walkable and no technical climbing is required.

Scotland has its Munros (Scottish peaks over 3000 ft), the English Lake District has its Wainwrights, and there are groups in the UK known as Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds, so the concept is not new.

This Challenge, which officially starts on the 1st of July 2011, is to be the first person to complete all the Khulus, there being no time limit.

In order to prove that you have been to any particular peak, it will be necessary to send in certain information which will require a GPS receiver and a digital camera. You will be required to submit the following:

1.    A digital photograph of the terrain, facing north, east, south and west in turn. This must show the horizon and all peaks and escarpment in view i.e. a wide angle picture.
2.    A readable digital photograph of the face of your GPS receiver showing the latitude and longitude (in decimal degrees, WGS 84 datum), altitude, time of day and date (Garmin GPSs can be set up to show all of these on one page. It may be necessary to submit more than one photograph if all information is not on one page). The photograph must fill the frame with the GPS page and be in focus. The text on the GPS must be readable. The reason for these strict requirements is to minimize the amount of work for the adjudicator.
3.    A tracklog downloaded from the GPS receiver of the route to the peak, in .gpx file format.
4.    All entrants must be members of the Mountain Backpackers Club in good standing i.e. Fees must be up to date. Outsiders may join the Club and compete as soon as they wish.

Attempting to fudge any of this information will require great skill and is generally beyond the means of mere mortals, even uber-geeks. Any information which does not fulfill these requirements will disqualify that particular peak for the entrant, and he/she will be informed. Entrants will be required to submit all this information as soon as they return from a Khulu conquering trip, so that a leader board can be updated on the Club’s website. Entrants may not send the same pictures as everyone else in a group, e.g. if you all climb a certain peak at the same time. Someone could simply copy the pictures from another group who have already climbed the peak. The ‘exif’ data contained in your Jpeg files will be examined to verify the date and your camera settings. Make sure your camera captures this data to the files. You may send in one test picture beforehand to verify this. Send your pictures and other information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A prize consisting of a magnificent stainless steel trophy, crafted by noted sculptor Barry Stapleton,and R1000.00 will be awarded to the first person to finish all twenty eight peaks. If you are in a group,which is probably the wisest way to hike this challenge, there may have to be a sprint to the last peak, or you can decide how to divide the prize among yourselves. Slackers may want to complete the challenge at a more leisurely pace simply for bragging rights.

The following table shows a list of the Khulus:


Thabana Ntlenyana 3482 29.269173 -29.468069
Mafadi 3451 29.358533 -29.203467
Injasuti Dome 3410 29.371250 -29.203967
Champagne Castle 3377 29.331111 -29.093500
Lithobolong 3375 29.343754 -29.187759
kaNtuba Peak 3366 29.293345 -29.517002
Trojan Wall Peak 3354 29.380277 -29.201250
kaNtuba Buttress 3344 29.304101 -29.517390
Yodlers Peak 1 3338 29.252878 -29.082247
Yodlers Peak 2 3338 29.256367 -29.090383
Pampiring 3337 29.278017 -29.075769
Red Wall Peak 3337 29.357364 -29.188173
Botlolong 3333 29.325341 -29.101924
Popple Peak 3331 29.406428 -29.228775
Ships Prow Peak 3325 29.326219 -29.097602
Sehonghong 1 3324 29.299146 -29.498928
Yodlers Peak 3 3323 29.245775 -29.077307
Champagne Castle Ridge Peak 3318 29.329221 -29.081335
Nkosazana Peak 3318 29.312674 -29.079408
Giants Castle 3316 29.482535 -29.345523
Mashai Peak 3313 29.137904 -29.738976
Mohlesi 3310 29.296250 -29.486870
Redi Peak 3309 29.422761 -29.413846
Sehonghong 2 3309 29.303978 -29.503039
Walkers Peak 3306 29.122652 -29.767249
Mhlwazini Peak 3305 29.330126 -29.077510
Sanqebethu 3301 29.418631 -29.259628
Yodlers Ridge Peak 3301 29.268755 -29.081207


Latitudes and longitudes are in decimal degrees (not degrees, minutes and seconds), WGS84 datum.

Note: this does not match the datum on the current KZN Wildlife maps, which is Cape datum.


The MBC website (www.mountainbackpackers.co.za) has the above table in .gpx format, ready to upload to a GPS receiver. Only logged in members may download the file. As several of the Khulus fall in to groups in a similar locality, four maps showing these in .pdf format have also been prepared, ready for downloading and printing. The peaks which do not fall on to these maps are: Popple Peak, Giant’s Castle, Redi Peak, Thabana Ntlenyana and Sanqebethu. These are all fairly isolated and should be easily found.

MBC Khulu Challenge has been step up by the MBC committee and the peak choices that have been made are final.

The following sources were used in compiling the list.

1.    Cliff Murch;  Kulus – The 3000 m Peaks of South Africa. Journal of The Mountain Club of South Africa, 1994, p22.
2.    Thomas Wimber;  The Highest Summits of Southern Africa. Journal of The Mountain Club of South Africa, 1999, p67.
3.    Vertical Endeavour – http://www.vertical-endeavour.com
4.    Digital spatial data was supplied by the South African Surveyor General, Mowbray, Cape Town.


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