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KwaZulu-Natal
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Mountain Escapes

TThe Maloti-Drakensberg Heritage Route is a joint eco-tourism initiative between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho. The route covers about 13 000km2 of the most awe inspiring mountain scenery along South Africa's north-eastern border with Lesotho’s Sehlathebe National Park. 

You’ll catch famous names like the Amphitheatre and Giant's Castle and if you're a hiker or nature fanatic, you will instantly fall in love with this place as you make your way along the contoured paths that criss-cross these popular and scenic parts of the Drakensberg mountains. 

Along the way, you’ll come across more than 22 000 ancient rock art paintings. These etchings of history recorded the daily lives and spiritual adventures of the First People – the original South Africans. They are widely regarded as the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara. 

Exquisite beadwork, grass-weaving and thatched homesteads of the Nguni-speaking people are scattered around the Drakensberg mountains; and in the Kingdom of Lesotho, you will find men on horseback adorned with beautifully woven blankets and woven grass hats. 

In summer the Maloti-Drakensberg Heritage Route is a place of breathtaking beauty with grasslands, forests, clear streams, and a world of tree ferns and mosses that beg to be explored on foot. The site’s diverse habitats protect a high level of endemic plants and endangered bird and fish species. 

But winter is when the mountains are at their grandest, covered in soft, white snow that urges adventurers to take to the slopes at Afriski, or watch raptors soaring above them at Sani Pass. 

Did You Know?

Travel  tips  & planning  info 

Who to contact 

Maloti-Drakensberg Heritage Route 
Cell: +27 (0)83 320 0081 
Email: info@malotidrakensbergroute.com 

How to get here 

One of the most convenient starting points is Clarens in the Free State, a 3-hour drive from Johannesburg. But if you'd prefer to start from the Eastern Cape side (there's an airport in Port Elizabeth), head for the mountains near Lady Grey and Tiffindell. 

Best time to visit 

Bear in mind winter can get really cold and some of the roads may be closed by snow. Summer is a mild, beautiful time, enlivened by wicked thunderstorms. November and December are particularly lovely because of the wild flowers that bloom. 

Things to do 

Must-sees in the area include Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle and the Royal Natal National Park, the Amphitheatre, Sentinel, Eastern Buttress and Mont-aux-Sources – the summit of which can be reached via a 100-rung chain ladder. 

If you have 2 days or more to spare, consider a guided pony trek in Lesotho. You can do an overnight tour, staying in a Basotho village. 

What to pack 

In winter, bring your warmest woollies. In summer, light clothes and perhaps a raincoat for the thunderstorms. You will want your camera and lightweight binoculars. And don't forget your passport for forays into Lesotho. 

Where to stay 

There is a range of accommodation available all along the route, from hotels and B&Bs to basic camp sites. 

Related links 

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