South Africa: South Drakensberg

The Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa or uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site.

Recognised by the ancient mystics of our land as breathing new life into the human spirit, the inescapable allure of this 200- kilometre- long wonderland owes much to its intense relationship with people...the million-plus years of Stone Age occupation in particular. This culminated in the tragic disappearance, during the late 19th century, of the San hunter-gatherers colloquially referred to as Bushmen. Migrating chiefdoms from the Great Lakes of Central Africa had in the 13th century been humbled by the sheer magnitude of this uKhahlamba - Barrier of Spears - destined to become the western extreme of their Zulu Kingdom. The ox-wagons of Boer settlers negotiated its precipitous passes in 1837 on the Great Trek from British dominion in the Cape Colony to a 'Promised Land'. The name Drakensberg was coined forty years later when a Boer father and son reported seeing a dragon - a giant lizard with wings and a tail - flying high above the cloud-shrouded mountain peaks.

The inscription in late 2000 of uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park as a World Heritage Site brought long-overdue recognition of its universal value to mankind. Meeting the criteria for both Natural and Cultural listings, the site can now officially boast 'superlative natural phenomena and beauty, unique richness of biological diversity, the conservation of all-important endemic and threatened species plus masterpieces of human creative genius in the form of 35 000 'San rock art images'.

More places of interest in South Africa

Addo Elephant National Park | Blyde River Canyon | Cape Town | Hluhluwe & Umfolozi | Knysna | Kruger National Park | Orange River | Oudtshoorn | Pilgrim's Rest | Pretoria | St Lucia | Tsitsikamma National Park | Zuurberg National Park