The Drakensberg is a 200 km long stretch of mountains in South Africa, the majority of this range falls in the Kwa Zulu Natal province. Translated into English, Drakensberg means “Dragons Mountain” and its Zulu name ukhalamba, meaning “barrier of spears” gives a brief description of this truly magical mountain range.
It is said to have been inhabited since the Stone Age and has captivated the imagination of every generation and culture, such as the San hunter gatherers and the Zulus, to have laid eyes on it. The Boers were forced to negotiate through this mountain range in 1837 during the great trek in order to reach their “promised land” and they came up with the name Drakensberg.
Towns in the surrounding area include Bergville, Estcourt, Underberg and Himeville, Mooi River, Nottingham Road, Rosetta, Winterton, Kokstad, MatatieIe and Swartberg. In the year 2000 the Ukhalambha-Drakensberg Park was made a world heritage site and rightly so. It met both the criteria for the natural and cultural listings and is a rare example of where such awesome displays of nature are interlaced with a deep and rich history. If one is in the South Africa it is a definite must see. As for accommodation the Drakensberg has it all. You can find yourself getting a deep tissue massage at a luxury spa or sharing a cave with other adventurous hikers. It also has hotels, bed and breakfast, guest houses, caravan sites, camping grounds and cabins so what ever your preference you are guaranteed to find it.
Activities are limitless and this region caters for every walk of life and every age. Obviously the most popular activity is hiking and walks. Once again the region caters for all, whether you would like to take a slow amble alongside one of the hundreds of streams and rivers or maybe spend five days on a guided hike through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Other popular activities include horse riding, quad biking, fly fishing for trout in a crisp mountain stream, playing on one of the many world class golf resorts, taking the 4X4 on a trail or simply catching up on some rest with a good book. The Drakensberg is also home to many game reserves managed and run by the Kwa Zulu Natal Parks Board where you have the chance of seeing many varieties of antelope, like Eland and the elusive Bushbuck, hundreds of species of birdlife and of course the baboon troops that make these mountains there home. The parks have excellent facilities and you can buy a pamphlet at reception that gives you a map and list of the trails in the park. Another major attraction is the bushman caves in various parts of the range. At Giants castle there is a bushman museum which allows you to get an insight into the life of the earliest inhabitants of this region and guided hikes can be taken to view the caves they lived in and the ancient paintings on the walls of these caves.
This area some how manages to offer a platter of accommodation, activities and experiences that appeal to such a wide variety of tastes that it is rare to come away from a holiday in the region and not have had a wonderful and memorable time.