Travel to Drakensberg – Spectacular Mountainous Scenery
The Drakensberg mountains are located in the eastern part of South Africa, running for some 1 000 kilometres generally southwest to northeast, with a northwesterly bend forming the northeastern border of Lesotho with South Africa. They are drained on the west by the Orange and Vaal rivers and on the east and south by a number of smaller rivers, the Tugela being the largest. The range thus separates KwaZulu-Natal Province from Free State Province, looming over the nearby coast of Natal.
The Drakensberg mountains are the highest in Southern Africa, rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana to 3 482 metres in height. In Zulu, they are referred to as uKhahlamba, meaning the barrier of spears, and in Sesotho as Maluti. Due to their Geological formation, they are exceptionally distinctive, and almost unique amongst mountain ranges the world over.
Within the mountains, travellers will discover countless caves and rock-shelters featuring Africa’s largest and most concentrated group of paintings south of the Sahara. Made by the Bushmen over a period of 4 000 years, the rock paintings are truly outstanding in quality and diversity of subject matter. Depicting the world of animals and human beings, they reflect the daily life, culture and intricate spiritual life of the San people who once lived in this region.
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park covers 2 500 square kilometres and is the single largest, protected mountain wilderness area in Africa, with 2 153 plant species, 48 mammal species and over 300 bird species identified. It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Battlefields, the Royal Natal National Park, the Champagne Castle, the Cathedral Peak, and the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve are the major landmarks that you can visit while in the Drakensberg. Across the mountains you may also see the local people tending to their herds, a reflection of the traditional way of life here in South Africa.
Walking and hiking are among the things that you can do while in the Drakensberg. One popular walk is the Tugela Falls Gorge, a 22km walk on relatively flat terrain that affords fantastic views. Or there is also spectacular hiking around a mountain feature known as the “amphitheater” or “theater” and you can even walk on top of the theatre where you’ll find waterfalls.
Relax by taking in the incredible mountainous scenery, adorned with waterfalls and locals tending to their herds.
Certain parts of the area can be traversed by four wheel drive, otherwise it is best to get around on foot as there are some spectacular hiking options.
- Hike amidst spectacular mountainous scenery.
- See the traditional way of life as you watch local herdsmen.
- Visit nearby battlefields and national parks.