uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park – A Diverse Wonder
Natural beauty certainly knows no bounds at the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. The park is not only one of the country’s prime ecotourist destinations, but is also a World Heritage Site. The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park features some of the most spectacular mountains and open spaces you will ever be able to enjoy up-close and personal. These majestic stalwarts of sandstone form gigantic peaks and cliffs, give way to lush green valleys and protect virgin forests. They also the source of many a crisp, clear river.
As though all these things weren’t enough to inspire awe and write the park into the history books of ecological preservation, there is more to the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park than meets the eye. The park features a variety of habitats in which a number of globally threatened and endemic species reside. The caves which are located here were at one time home to the San people and many of them are adorned by stunning rock paintings – some of which are said to be more than 4,000 years old. The cave paintings are interesting because they cover a variety of subject matter, including the depiction of animals, humans and a variety of daily activities, as well as representing the spiritual life of the San people. They are also the reason that the park has been declared a heritage site since 2000. The fact that they are the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings south of the Sahara makes them a very outstanding feature. Also the immense age of some of these paintings and the light they cast on the culture of the ancient San people have helped to make them a landmark national treasure.
The vistas at uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park are simply inspiring. The park offers a number of enjoyable recreational activities such as day walks, self-guided hikes, fly fishing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, bird watching, swimming, photography and painting. Whilst enjoying these activities you may come across animals such as the black eagle, bearded vulture, eland and many other plants and animals. Accommodation can take the form of luxury lodges or fully equipped cottages and chalets. For those who prefer roughing it there are plenty of campsites and picnic facilities available. Over-night caves can also be used and make for an interesting stay.
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is situated roughly two hours from Durban and four hours from Gauteng. It has an average altitude of 3000 m and the park covers about 243,000 ha. If you’re going to be in the vicinity, it’s a stop that simply should not be missed so make the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park part of your travel itinerary.