Refresh, reconnect - and get your adventure on - in the Drakensberg
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The majestically picturesque Drakensberg is the ideal place to reconnect with nature and refresh your spirit. It’s also the perfect backdrop for a wide range of exhilarating adventure activities.
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is one of KwaZulu-Natal’s two World Heritage Sites. This World Heritage Site is part of a much longer mountain range that stretches some 1 600 kilometres from South Africa’s northernmost provinces to the Eastern Cape. Not only does the World Heritage Site protect a stunning natural mountain wilderness area, it also protects an amazing cultural legacy of ancient rock art in Africa painted by Southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants, the San or Bushmen.
The Zulu people named the 300-kilometre section of mountain range bordering KwaZulu-Natal and the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho “uKhahlamba”, meaning “Barrier of Spears”. The early Dutch settlers called them the Drakensberge or “Dragon Mountains”. Nowadays, this lovely natural wonderland is referred to by locals simply as the Berg.
Popular activities include white water rafting, helicopter flips, visiting vulture restaurants and the Falcon Ridge Birds of Prey Centre in Champaign Valley. Stop at Thokozisa Mountain Cafe and Indigenous Nursery in the central Berg for lunch, and browse the art and craft shops showcasing local handiwork.
In the park itself, hiking along the footpaths through the mountains, camping in caves or stopping to picnic and taking a dip into the rock pools with tumbling streams and cascading waterfalls are just some of the great pleasures of a visit to the beautiful uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Another is day trekking to explore caves and overhangs containing some of the more than 22 000 rock art images individually painted by the San people who once inhabited these shelters. The Main Caves at Giant’s Castle Reserve offer tours by accredited tourist guides who tell the tales of these ancient places and peoples.
Other outstanding sights and great activities to experience include:
•The impressive Tugela Falls – unofficially the highest waterfall in the world
•The acclaimed Amphitheatre in the Northern Berg.
•Drakensburg Canopy tours
•Hot air ballooning
•Wine tasting at Cathedral Wine Estate
•The Farmers’ lawn market