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TThe largest mountain range in South Africa is a truly magical place. It’s no wonder that J.R.R. Tolkien saw this landscape as inspiration for the part of Middle Earth called the Misty Mountains. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is home to 35 000 examples of San rock paintings and a huge diversity of protected plant and animal species.
While there are many mountains in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal's 200km long uKhahlamba-Drakensberg escarpment is by far the most impressive. With peaks that exceed 3000m, the Berg – as locals like to call it – forms the backbone of the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Area between the Kingdom of Lesotho and South Africa.
TThe uKhahlamba (“barrier of spears” in Zulu) is a dynamic wonderland of river valleys, mountain streams, rugged cliffs, hiking trails and stunning scenery that attracts thousands of travellers every year, mainly during the hotter summer months of December to February. With such natural beauty to its credit, it is not surprising that the mountain region literally bursts at the seams with exhilarating adventure activities and amazing accommodation.
In winter, the mountains are dusted with snow, transforming designated slopes into a winter playground!
TTake the time to explore the hundreds of caves that can be found in the valleys and sandstone cliffs of the Drakensberg. Many of these cave walls tell the story of the nomadic San people who recorded their lives in rock art paintings throughout this area. In fact there are around 600 rock art sites with over 35 000 images depicting humans, animals and the complex spiritual life of the San over a 4000-year period. Other 19th and 20th century paintings are attributable to the Bantu.
TThe Drakensberg is also acknowledged as a RAMSAR site for its high-altitude wetlands, which lie above 2750m, and for its amazing birdlife. This region offers a plethora of heart-stopping adventure activities, set against a breathtakingly beautiful mountain landscape. Whether you are there to hike and rock climb or to just relax and enjoy the scenery, there is something for everyone.