Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park - South Africa

Gerald Crawford
 


Visitors: 129

The uKhahlamba – Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife the Park is only 2 hours from Durban and four from Gauteng.

The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has an average altitude of 3000 m - the highest range south of Kilimanjaro - and spans 150kms over 243 000 ha of land. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the world heritage site. The uKhahlamba – Drakensberg Park's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants.

This spectacular natural site also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years. The rock paintings are outstanding in quality and diversity of subject and in their depiction of animals and human beings. They represent the spiritual life of the San people who no longer live in this region.

Recreation:

A wealth of recreational opportunities exist. There are magnificently laid out day walks from all the major camps, the self-guided Giants Cup Hiking Trail and a fabulous wealth of rock art sites to rival any in the world. From peacefully fly fishing in a river or dam, experiences extend to the rigours of rock-climbing or mountain biking for those with a taste for the high adventures of life.

A host of other pastimes includes hiking, birdwatching, swimming, riding, photography, painting or simply revelling in the clear mountain air while you take in the breathtaking vistas around you.

Accommodation:

Accommodation options in the park all managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlif are diverse. These range from Giants Castle, Injisuthi, Cathedral Peak, Kamberg, Royal Natal National Park, Lotheni and Didima.

A variety of accommoddation options in private hotels and lodges are available outside the park in the Northern, Central and Southern Drakensberg Areas.

Culture:

The Drakensberg is rich in cultural heritage. It is home to 35% of South Africa's San rock art sites. In South Africa the San inhabited the Drakensberg from the late Stone Age times until the late nineteenth century.

They left some of the finest examples of rock art in the world. Guided Walks to some rock art shelters can be booked at Giants Castle, Injisuthi, Cathedral Peak and Royal Natal. There is a rock art centre at Kamberg with guided walks to Game Pass shelter and a magnificent San rock art centre at the Didima Camp at Cathedral Peak.

Wildlife:

The Drakensberg has a diverse population of birds, mammals and reptiles. The more common larger mammals that can be found are mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, grey duiker, eland, klipspringer, bushbuck and oribi. The main predators in the Drakensberg are leopard, black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, clawless and spotted neck otter, various species of mongoose and genet.

Troops of chacma baboons, porcupines and colonies of rock hyrax are also found throughout this mountain park.

The Drakensberg is home to over 300 species of birds. Thirty two of the species are endemic to Southern Africa. Some of the specials that can be found are wattled crane, cape vulture, bearded vulture, orange breasted rockjumper and yellow breasted pipit.

Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za Website Address: http://www.12234455.co.za

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