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drakensberg: Drakensberg, South Africa - 2005-12-03

Drakensberg is South Africas best kept secret

South Africa offers tourists coming to our country a huge choice of holiday

destinations. But its the Drakensberg Mountains that are still kept as an secret

place thats seems a bit off the normal beaten track and while some folks do make

it to the Drakensberg most dont.

The best place to start your yourney would be to download the free

Drakensberg Tourist Map which will give you a great idea of where everything is.

This is the only to scale tourist map thats available for the region. It shows

all the back roads, indicates which are recommended and which are not and

indicates how far things are. But what I like about the map is that its freely

distributed, includes all the activities that the region offers and a great

selection of the best accommodation that the Drakensberg has to offer.

The Drakensberg starts in the North with Clarens and the Golden Gate National

Park and ends in the South at Bushmans Nek. Inbetween you will find the Royal

Natal National Park with its Amphitheatre, Mweni the wildest part of the

mountains, Cathedral Peak, Monks Cowl, Injasuti, Giants Castle National Park,

Kamberg with the best bushman rock art site in the whole Drakensberg Mountains,

Loteni, Sani Pass, Cobham, and Garden Castle.

There is lots to do in the region but the main reason you come to the

Drakensberg is because of the mountains. While every part of the Drakensberg is

special and has its own uniqueness there are a few spots you dont want to miss.

The best place to get to the top of the escarpment is at Sentinel peak. The

return hike is 5 hours and takes you the top of the Tugela Falls which falls

some 948 meters into the Royal Natal National Park below. The view from on top

of the Amphitheatre is proberbly one of the most spectacular views in the world.

Most tourists tend to walk at the bottom and while its worth the visit ist just

not the same as the top.

The Central Drakensberg and Northern Drakensberg form one region and by far

the best example of this section of the Drakensberg Mountains is

Giants Castle

National Park. Essentially the experience in any part of this region is the same

where you have the oppertunity to hike the lower reaches of the Drakensberg

Mountains or otherwise stay low in one of the valleys. What makes Giants Castle

more interesting is the large choice of trails and the lack of other people. I

suppe it wont stay that way forever but the experice of walking in the montains

and not seeing another sole can still be found here. From Giants Castle looking

south the mountains become softer , less dramatic but make no mistake hiking

trails in thes gentler landscape is just as good and should be included in your

trip. Kamberg is a really good spot where the added attraction of the best site

of bushman rock art is available.

Bushman Rock Art is most definatly a reason to visit the Drakernsberg

Mountains The excellent video presentation before the 3 hour guided tour at

Kamberg gives a

great explaination of the history of the people as well as the rock art at game

pass shelter. The rock art at Giants Castle at the main caves is also good and

is a very easy walk. The Didima Rock Art Centre at Cathedral Peak offers a great

presentation although the paintings are reproductions. All rock art must be

viewed with a guide.

Horse riding through the foothills of the Drakensberg is an experience not to

be missed. Sengani horse trails offers safe trails for beginners and experienced alike.

Spionkop game reserve even offers game viewing on horse back.

Steeped in history, the Battlefields Region offers enthralling tales of

British, Boer, Zulu and Voortrekker history. The Anglo Boer War reached as far

south as Mooi River and the many sites are best visited with a specialist guide

The region offers a fun and fascinating collection of art galleries, craft

shops, cheese tastings, leather work, antiques, clothing, gifts and pottery. All

the activities represent a unique collection of South African creativity. Take a

slow journey to view outstanding galleries such as Millgate, Indigo Fields

Gallery, and Zombeza. Community development projects like Eyethu Ceramics and

Thandanani Craft uplift local communities allowing tourism a wider benefit.

A trip up Sani Pass into Lesotho and a visit to the highest pub in Africa is

a must. Itís a dramatic 4x4 trail climbing 1330m in 6,5kmís Passports required.

Game viewing is available at Weenen, Spionkop, Umgeni Valley and Golden Gate.

For Birders the Lammergeyer hide at Giants Castle the Crane Foundation at

Kamberg and the bird of prey display at Falcon Ridge are highlights. Fort

Durnford in Estcourt offers one of the most complete bird egg collections in

South Africa.

For adventure seekers the region offers white water rafting and quad bikes ,

the longest cable slide in South Africa, a gorge swing and a flying trapeze,

bicycle tours and even hot air ballooning

The Drakensberg Boys Choir is a world renowned choir which performs most

Wednesdays at 3:30 pm. Bookings 036 / 468 1017. Donít miss this enriching

cultural experience. Another enriching culteral experience is Mpopomeni Zulu

tourism experience where tourists have the oppertunity to meet local people,

hear a bit of the history of the settlement and taste some of the traditional

food. Whats great is that the experience is about real people and does not feel

touristy at all.

Or just pamper yourself at one of the regionís many health spas. For a

difference Indigo Fields offers a real Africa day spa experience

Drakensberg resourses


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