16 May 2011 by Kate Turkington

Do the Drakensberg differently

You may already know that that hiking in Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Drakensberg region is a wonderful - if often challenging- experience. But there’s another way of getting up close to the mountains in the company of an experienced local guide.

Award-winning guide Thando Shabalala, himself a Hlubi, will take you on foot to the amaHlubi people, who are related to the Zulu Kingdom but still maintain their own unique mountain culture. Sample some traditional foods, watch a ceremony and traditional dances, and of course, have your bones thrown and your future told by the resident sangoma.

If you’re not super hiking fit, take a short walk with Thando in the Giant’s Castle area of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. But if you’ve the time and the legs for it, then choose a long hike. Maybe you just want to see some of the world’s best and most famous rock art? Or visit the Vulture restaurant where you’ll see the rare Bearded vulture breaking and scoffing bones? You’ll enjoy Thambo’s colourful and knowledgeable background information as you breathe the legendary champagne air and marvel at the views.

If you’re interested in things spiritual, then he’ll take you to the Shembe Church - a unique mixture of Old Testament Christianity and Zulu Traditional Religion. You may have seen the Shembe annual pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain and the almost surreal traditional dance of white-robed devotees on National Geographic TV.

Now go and watch for yourself.

email: shabalala@kznwildlife.com

Category: Adventure

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