uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

uKhahlamba Drakensberg

The mountain range is lovingly called the ‘Berg’, but its official names are; the Drakensberg loosely meaning in Afrikaans ‘Dragon Mountains’ and ‘uKhahlamba’ in Zulu meaning Barrier of Spears. It rises to around 11,400 feet (3,475 metres) and extends roughly for 700 miles (1,125 km) parallel to the southeastern coast of South Africa and inland in the north.  It displays exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts.

uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a proclaimed world heritage site covering an area of 240 000 hectares. Sheer cliffs, deeply incised valleys and crystal clear rivers dominate these impressive mountains. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 for both its natural beauty and cultural importance.

The many rivers, wetlands, indigenous forests and the rolling grasslands are home to a diverse range of animals and plants, including many endemic and endangered species. The Cranes and the Blue Swallow are all critically endangered. Fortunately, viable populations do still exist in this area of South Africa.

In addition to recognising the unique natural beauty of the Drakensberg, the World Heritage Site also focuses world attention on the park’s rich collection of rock art – the last visible signs of the ancient Bushman or San people.

International recognition was granted in acknowledgement of the park’s unique richness of biological diversity, its endemic and endangered species, its natural beauty and human creativity in the form of ten of thousands of Bushman San rock paintings. Image

San People and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park

The Bushman (San people) were the indigenous inhabitants of the sub-continent. They lived in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg and entire sub-continent for centuries. Today, we regard the San as “embodying the essence of southern Africa’s deep past”. Yet they have no monument – other than their own art.

Rock Art

There are some 600 sites within the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, collectively representing over 35000 individual images. Remarkably, the rock art in the park is better preserved than any other region south of the Sahara.

The oldest painting on a rock shelter wall in the park is about 2400 years old, while more recent creations date back to the late nineteenth century. Many of the sites contain scenes depicting hunting, dancing, fighting, food gathering and rituals.

Tours you can join to visit the Drakensberg Mountains:

2 Day Drakensberg Highlights – Code: SCDB

 

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