This beautiful area of KwaZulu Natal has been a favourite holiday destination for South Africans for years. International travellers have begun to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the landscape, the artistic legacy of the San, and all the Drakensberg has to offer by way of active or self-drive holidays.
The mountains themselves are quite astonishing, soaring to altitudes in excess of 3000 metres. Encountering the Drakensberg on their migration south seven centuries ago, the Zulu people called them ‘uKhahlamba’, which means ‘barrier of spears’. There are some spectacular features: the amphitheatre in the Royal Natal National Park, Giant’s Castle, Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak are the best-known.
Soaring raptors, waterfalls, rivers and lakes which teem with fish, animals such as eland and otters, hiking trails, horse-riding, and a host of adventure sports from climbing to mountain-biking, make this an outstanding holiday destination.
In 2000, the whole region, renamed the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in recognition both of its outstanding environmental importance and beauty, and its cultural legacy in the form of 35,000 San rock art images, which embellish more than 500 caves.
The central and northern Drakensberg is the area with the best-known escarpments and peaks, which constitute the classic Drakensberg scenery. In this area, you will also find many important San masterpieces.
The southern Drakensberg is prime fly-fishing country. Make for the villages of Underberg and Himeville, where lush farmland covers the lower mountain slopes.
Lesotho & Sani Pass
From Himeville, the legendary Sani Pass cuts through the mountain up into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. This pass, rising to 2873 metres, is the only road link between KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho and makes a thrilling full-day excursion.
Moving north, gently rolling farmland gives way to a more rugged landscape. The central and northern Drakensberg is the area with the best-known escarpments and peaks, which constitute the classic Drakensberg scenery. In this area, you will also find many important San masterpieces.