Why the Drakensberg Mountains will blow your mind

Why the Drakensberg Mountains will blow your mind

Consider walking in scenery as dramatic as in the Lord of the Rings. Or taking incredibly beautiful landscape photos? Well the Drakensberg Mountains offer that and more mind blowing natural scenery at the many national parks that make up these spectacular mountains.

Few tourists realise that there are actually two Drakensberg locations in South Africa. There is the Drakensberg near Kruger National Park which includes the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondawels and the Panorama Route. These sights are familiar to the European public. Then there is the “Real” Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal. Lesser known but way more magnificent and impressive. Here the Drakensberg Mountains reach a staggering 3,450 meters above sea level.

Unllike the Drakensberg in Mpumalanga which can be seen in a day or 2 the Natal Drakensberg Mountains will require more time to truly appreciate the experience. Depending on the parts of the Drakensberg that you wish to visit, we recommend a stay of between two and ten days. Here the mountains are not touristy. There are few tourist stalls and the landscape is natural. there are few plantations and mostly small scale farming and lots of pristine wilderness!

Highlights of the Drakensberg Mountains

Drakensberg Bushman Rock Art.

The Drakensberg Mountains have been declared a cultural  World Heritage Site for its masterpieces  of some 35 000 Bushman rock art images. Bushmen survived in the Drakensberg for thousands of years where they lived a simple stone age, hunter-gatherer existence. To paint, skilled artists among the Bushmen (usually shamans or spiritual leaders) used a combination of charcoal, ochre, blood and lime together with binding agents to render wild game, hunting, battles and trance dance rituals on the walls of their caves.The Drakensberg has the world’s richest treasure trove of stone age rock art. The top three Drakensberg destinations to see Bushman rock painting are: Game Pass Shelter in the Kamberg, Main Cave at Giant’s Castle and Battle Cave at Injasuti. KZN Wildlife operates guided tours from all three of these locations daily.

Drakensberg Golfing

The Drakensberg mountains boast a number of world class Golf Courses. Some of the golf courses are highly ranked and well recognized, including the Champagne Sports Resort Golf Course (Rated in the top 5 19th’s holes in SA). The golf courses are well manicured and have beautiful scenery hence why some of the golf courses are rated as SA’s most beautiful.

Horse Trails in the Drakensberg

Antbear Horse Safaris offers very affordable horse trails in the foothills of the Drakensberg with spectacular views of Giants Castle. These horse trails are ideal for beginners and you could even get a horse riding lesson before the ride. Berg Trails offers horse trails in the Kamberg Valley on appaloosa mountain ponies. This horse riding experince is suited better towards experienced riders as the rides are mostly 4 hours and much of the trails are trotted and cantered. Zulu Waters offers horse trails in a private game reserve where you are able to experience riding with rhino and wildebeest. uShaka Horse trails central Drakensberg is situated at the foothills of the Cathkin, Champagne Castle mountain range. On a 600 acres farm bordering Bell Park dam ushaka Horse Trails offer unforgettable adventure trails on horse back. Northern Horse provides an equine experience of a lifetime in the Northern Drakensberg! Climb mountains, forge rivers and race over plains atop hardy mountain horses and ponies and enjoy unspoilt scenery in the foothills of this World Heritage Site. One Hour Trails: Two grooms take groups of up to ten riders on trails around the Montusi Estate. Trails vary from gentle plains to steeper valley trails to suit all levels of confidence. Khotso Horse Trails offers overnight or 1 and 2 hour rides in the beautiful Southern Drakensberg Mountains on fine basotho horses. Our working cattle and horse farm is situated outside Underberg. Overnight in our comfortable self-catering cottages or log cabins. Enjoy trout fishing, river tubing and rafting in summer, snowboarding in winter and horse riding and mustering cattle on the farm.

Drakensberg Hiking Trails

There are many different hiking trails in the Drakensberg. The Drakensberg Mountains present three very different perspectives to its hikers. A Day trail through the lower reaches of the Drakensberg (Northern Drakensberg and Central Drakensberg) Walking the lower reaches below the Drakensberg escarpment is the reason you came to this area.  This is the most impressive the Drakensberg has to offer and Giants Castle Nature Reserve is a good choice. “Worlds View” is an easy 3,5 hour hike (14 km) and ends with a spectacular 360 degree view. Another Drakensberg aspect is to hike to the top of the Escarpment and the 950m Tugela Waterfall. There is only one place you can reasonably get to the top of the Drakensberg escarpment and back down again in one day and that is at the Sentinel Peak. The drive alone is spectacular. The walk is 5 hours 2,5 hours each way. You ascend the last 20 meters using a chain ladder and are rewarded with a view overlooking the Royal Natal Reserve. Also you are at the source of the Tugela river where it falls some 950m. 2nd highest in the world. Whatever you do dont miss out on the San (Bushmann) rock art in the Southern Drakensberg. Kamberg offers the most spectacular examples of rock art to be found in South Africa. The Southern Drakensberg might be less dramatic than the Central Drakensberg and Northern Drakensberg but by no means less pretty. The hiking trails in the Southern Drakesberg are as worth experiencing as the others.

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