The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park – whether you go by the Zulu name uKhahlamba, meaning 'barrier of spears', or the Afrikaans name Drakensberge, meaning 'dragon mountains', you’ll get the message – this mountain range is awesome in every way.

Did you know?

The highest African pub is at the top of Sani Pass, the road to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park.

UNESCO is lavish in its description of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, which encompasses South Africa's highest mountain range. We quote the organisation's words because we couldn't have said it any better. This KwaZulu-Natal World Heritage Site, it states, 'has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts.'

A spine stretching some 150km long, the most scenic sights in the park carry equally evocative names – Cathedral Peak, Giant's Castle and Monk's Cowl are just some.

A particularly renowned attraction of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is the Amphitheatre, a wall of rock 5km in length and 1 000m high. From its domed summit at Mont-aux-Sources spill the spectacular Tugela Falls. Brushed with a dusting of snow in the winter, the 'berg', as the site is affectionately termed by locals, is picture-perfect.

This is a place to exercise the body, fuelled with crisp, clean air. Hiking, rock climbing and fly-fishing are popular activities. There are several game parks in the area where a wide variety of African antelope such as the large eland, can be seen, and the bird life is nothing short of magnificent, with the bearded vulture or lammergeier often circling in the sky above. Flora includes the indigenous protea, rare cycads and ancient tree ferns.

For 4 000 years or so, these precipices were home to the indigenous San. Though the inhabitants have largely disappeared from the area, they have left their mark in the form of fascinating rock art. Some 30 000 paintings in 600 caves and overhangs have been recorded in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, yet another reason the area has earned World Heritage Site status.

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