Majestic mountains of South Africa
The Love South Africa group on Flickr is constantly updated with fantastic images taken all over the country. Why not share your pictures too?
While Table Mountain is arguably the most famous mountain in South Africa, this week we chose to highlight some of the other majestic mountains found in the country.
Foremost among these is the Drakensberg, or Berg as its known to the locals. This mountain range forms part of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its pristine environment and magnificent rock art created by the San people who once lived here. A typical Drakensberg scene, below, features the crystal-clear waters of a mountain stream.
Giant's Castle in the central Drakensberg is said to resemble a sleeping giant. There are around 25 hiking trails here, some to caves with spectacular rock art. Mountain bikers also gather here each year to take part in the Giant's Castle MTB Challenge.
Rhino Peak in the southern Drakensberg is identified by its distinctive horn-like peak. It is one of the tougher mountain ascents in South Africa but compensates by offering great views of the lush vegetation in the valleys below.
The Compassberg in the Eastern Cape forms part of the Sneeuberg mountain range and is the highest peak outside of the Drakensberg. In the foothills, you'll find the village of Nieu Bethesda, famous for the Owl House and its stone sculptures created by folk artist Helen Martins.
Adjacent to the town of Somerset West in the Western Cape is the Helderberg, which hosts the Helderberg Mountain Challenge, a 15km mountain trail run that includes a vertical summit of over 900m! If you'd prefer to enjoy the view with a glass of wine in hand, time your visit to coincide with the annual Helderberg Wine Festival, which takes place in October or November each year.
Also in the Western Cape is the Cederberg, a mountain range characterised by spectacular rock formations and where the indigenous bush Aspalathus linearis grows wild. This is the plant used to make the herbal tea known as rooibos, drunk all over the world for its caffeine-free properties.
In the eastern Free State, you'll find the Malutis, which border the mountain kingdom of Lesotho and are known for their beautiful sandstone rock formations.
On the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga lie the Three Rondavels, three peaks shaped like traditional African huts (they were also called the 'Three Sisters'). If you stop here you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Blyde River Canyon and be close to other attractions like God's Window and Bourke's Luck Potholes.
Do you have photographs of your South African experiences? We'd love you to share your images with our Love South Africa Flickr group. Each week we publish a selection of these pictures as a photographic blog.