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Wanderlist Discover: Drakensberg, South Africa

Wanderlist Discover: Drakensberg, South Africa

The Drakensberg mountain range is one of the most spectacular and oldest mountain ranges in South Africa and is a perfect holiday spot for nature lovers as well as adventure enthusiasts. The impressive mountain range forms a natural border between KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho. Known locally as ‘the Berg’, the Zulu name for this impressive mountain range means “Barrier of Spears”. You will never be at a loss of things to do at this world-class centre of eco-tourism. Take a trek up the scenic, mountain trails, or explore the numerous sandstone caves and try to uncover new San rock paintings, painted over 40,000 years ago. Swim in the crystal clear rivers or go searching in the unspoilt forests for just a few of the hundreds of rare plant and bird species that make it a nature lovers dream destination. A ride in a hot air balloon or mountain biking along rugged bike paths is also possible. And once you have done everything else, enjoy the glorious vistas from the comfort of your accommodation


  • Game Watching : There are several game reserves around the Drakensberg region where you can view the Big 5 - lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo - in an unforgettable safari. In addition to the Big 5, you can also view cheetah, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, eland, zebra and many other animals.
  • Get a history lesson : It is also worth a visit to visit Ladysmith and Colenso, towns that became battlefields during the Boer War. Today, there are museums in these town documenting the conflict for the sake of tourists interested in the history of the region. There are several guided tours available here.  
  • Explore the San rock art : The original bushman - or San - paintings are an impressive display of art as well as a document that shows a glimpse of the past of the region. Several paintings capture pictures of animals that once roamed the region, but are no longer visible in the nearby areas. There are also pictorial records of battles fought and actions of brave warriors that tell a tale, which can only be vaguely interpreted today. Some of the sites such as Royal Natal World Heritage Site or the Didima San Rock Art Centre offer guided tours, which can help visitors get a glimpse into the San art, culture and lifestyle.

Best Time To Go: late october to early march

Summers (late October to early March) are probably the best time to visit the Drakensberg mountain region as the temperature is quite warm and pleasant, and the mountains are lush green, after the rains. Sudden storms can occur in the summers, though, so be prepared.
The best trekking is possible between February to May, depending on how high you want to go.

Where in the world:

The Drakensberg mountain range stretches almost 1000 kms in the eastern region of South Africa.

World Map - Drakensberg, South Africa.jpg

Fun Fact: The Tugela River flows in the northern Drakensberg region, and falls down over 900 mtrs from a point known as the Amphitheatre, making it the second tallest waterfall in the world. However, there is considerable debate whether the Tugela Falls are in fact taller than the Angel Falls in Venezuela. Regardless of this debate, the Tugela Falls is a great spot to visit.

Useful Information:

  • Language : Afrikaans, English and Ndebele are some of the languages spoken in the region
  • Currency : South African Rand (ZAR)
  • How to Get Around : Four-wheel drives are the perfect way to travel in the mountainous region. You can hire a four wheeler from local South African car rental agencies. Trekking and mountain biking is another important means to reach places, if you are physically fit.

The Discover Series by Wanderlist

Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.

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