Introduction to the Drakensberg Mountains
The Drakensberg mountain range is situated along southeast coast of South Africa. These spectacular Drakensberg Mountains are a challenge for adventure seekers and a heaven for wildlife lovers. Extending from northeast to southwest for around 1,125 km, the Drakensberg is part of the Great Escarpment and the main watershed of South Africa.
The local Zulu name for Drakensberg is Quathlamba or ĎThe Barrier of Spearsí, an accurate description for Drakensberg that rises over 3000 metres in height. It is an important region for adventure activities like mountaineering, camping, bird watching, river crossing, trout fishing, and many more such activities.
What to do in the Drakensberg
Multitude of activities is waiting to be pursued in this region. Rock paintings of the Bushmen can be seen in many parts of the Drakensberg. Most of the resorts in the region have the facility for horse riding in the hillside that includes short, half day, and overnight trips. Most of the hotels, camping organizers, and resorts provide guided hiking options and must be pursued. Mountain biking in this region is a fun and a challenge both due to steep heights and rugged terrain and trails of varying levels are available. Other activities include bird watching, river swimming, and trout fishing.
For the nature lovers, the region is home to the quarter of indigenous wildlife in South Africa. Some of the other species, which you may encounter frequently, are eland (largest of antelopes), Grey Rhebuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Serval cat, and Jackal.
History of the Berg
Bushmen were the earliest inhabitants of this region. They lived in harmony with their environment asking nothing more than what was needed for their survival. The incoming of white settlers changed the scenario and violent clashes with them led the tribes to extinct from their own habitat. What they left behind are the remarkable rock craft, which are irreplaceable. Today, the Drakensberg range is a major tourist destination in South Africa and one of the best-known adventure destinations in the world.
Weather and Best Season to Visit the Drakensberg
Durban has a sub-tropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters with the temperature hovering around the 15įC mark. Considering these facts one can say that Durban is an ideal destination, which can be visited during most parts of the year.
Regions of the Drakensberg
For the purpose of understanding Drakensberg and its attractions clearly, we can divide the range in three parts. The first of them is Northern Drakensberg that comprises Royal Natal National Park, Amphitheatre, Rugged Glen Nature Reserve, Mont-aux-Sources, Singati Valley, Ifidi, Mnweni & Ntonjelana valleys, the Mnweni cutback, Mponjwane, and the Saddle.
The Central Drakensberg or Berg comprises of Mlambonja Wilderness Area, Cathedral Peak, Ndumeni, Organ Pipes, Ndedema Gorge, Mdedelelo Wilderness Area, Cathkin Peak, Monkís Cowl, Champagne Castle, Injasuti, and Giantís Castle Game Reserve.
Southern Drakensberg has Mkhomazi Wilderness Area, Loteni, Highmoor, Kamberg, Vergelegen, Sani Pass, Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area, Mzimkhulwana Nature Reserve, Garden Castle, Rhino, Bushmanís Nek, Giantís Cup Hiking Trail, Sehlabathebe National Park, Thomathu, Devilís Knuckles, and Ramatseliso's Nek.
Drakensberg Shopping & Arts and Crafts
Young boys selling local handicrafts near parks, resorts, and on the roadsides are a common site in Drakensberg. Most of these articles are made from Gashu, the weaving grass. This art form is passed from mother to daughter and the products made out of this make a beautiful present back home.
Where to stay in the Drakensberg
There is a good choice of hotels, resorts, farms and campsites to choose from. Most of the accommodation options are found on the periphery of the mountain and range from economy to luxury. See the Drakensberg accommodation page for a detailed list of available accommodation in the region.
Drakensberg has some really good places, which serve some authentic traditional and foreign cuisines. Esibayeni at Hlalanathi, The Tower of Pizza, and Montusi Restaurant are some favourite food joints here.
Air Travel Resources
Durban is the nearest airport to Drakensberg, and is well connected to most national and international destinations.
Land and Water
You can enter Drakensberg from Bergville, if coming by road. Minibuses and taxis are available at Ladysmith, situated at a distance of around 50 km from Bergville. Self-driven vehicles are also available on hire.
Four-wheel drives are the perfect way to travel in this hilly region. Mountain biking is another important mean to reach places in and around Drakensberg, provided you are physically fit and have the experience to drive in such rough terrains.
Tourist Information Center
Contact Amakuhlu Central Reservations for any kind of Drakensberg and South Africa travel enquiry. These guys are about the best I have come across and their services are free to you.
Banks, money exchangers, hospitals, and other tourist facilities are available in Bergville and Ladysmith, which are not far away from Drakensberg.
Drakensberg 4x4 Links
Drakensberg Boys Choir School | Hiking Maps of the Drakensberg | Drakensberg and Natal Midlands Weddings | Drakensberg day walks and walking trails | Fauna and flora of the Drakensberg - A treasure chest | Links to Drakensberg Tourism Partners