The 243 000ha Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park is one of South Africa`s prime ecotourist destinations. Here you can savour the ultimate freedom of great open spaces in a world of gigantic peaks and butresses.
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. The Park is only 2 hours from Durban and four from Gauteng.
The Park has an average altitude of 3000m - the highest range south of Kilimanjaro - and spans 150kms over 243 000 ha of land.
Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the Park and the Park's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants.
This spectacular natural site also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years.
Explore the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park by region:
The Northern Drakensberg
The Central Drakensberg
The Southern Drakensberg
It is a vast area and Accommodation in the Drakensberg is easier found per specific region:
* Northern Drakensberg
* Central Drakensberg
* Southern Drakensberg
Accommodation options inside the park all managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlif are diverse. These range from Giants Castle, Injisuthi, Cathedral Peak, Kamberg, Royal Natal National Park, Lotheni and Didima.
A wealth of recreational opportunities exist - magnificently laid out day walks from all the major camps, peacefully fly fishing in a river or dam, rock-climbing or mountain biking for those with a taste for the high adventures of life.
A host of other pastimes includes birdwatching, swimming, riding, photography, painting or simply revelling in the clear mountain air while you take in the breathtaking vistas around you.
A hiker's paradise, this high mountain range is a wilderness where body and soul may be renewed through contact with nature - the hiking experiences are endless. There are hikes to suit most needs. These range from a gentle stroll to an extremely strenuous hike.
A visitor has the opportunity to enter into this rare raptor's world at Giants Castle. Here visitors might see the rare Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer), Cape Vulture, Black Eagle, Jackal Buzzard or Lanner Falcon. The hide is open between the 1st of May and the 31st of September each year and visitors are taken up to the hide by vehicle and walk back.
At Cathedral Peak mountain bikers can enjoy the awesome views of the Drakensberg as they traverse the existing network of tracks originally put in place for forestry purposes in the sixties.
A simple 14km mountain bike trail has been established in the beautiful Lotheni valley in the Southern Drakensberg. Mountain bikers have the opportunity to stop at the historic 'Gelib Tree' site and on a warm day there is the opportunity to swim at the magnificent 'Cool Pools'.
The 75km Giants Castle Mountain Bike Challenge is a major annual mountain biking event. This event combines the majesty of stunning Drakensberg views with the opportunity for mountain bikers to pit themselves against South Africa's toughest mountain bike challenge.
Kamberg Nature Reserve is the a most popular trout fishing venue for novices and more experienced anglers alike.
River fishing is found at Kamberg, Royal Natal National Park, Injisuthi, Cobham (in the southern area), Garden Castle, Giants Castle and Lotheni. Dam fishing is found at Kamberg, Royal Natal and Highmoor (near Mooi River). Highmoor is reserved primarily for stillwater trophy fishing and is closed intermittently for several months of the year.
The Drakensberg is rich in cultural heritage. It is home to 35% of South Africa's San rock art sites. In South Africa the San inhabited the Drakensberg from the late Stone Age times until the late nineteenth century.
They left some of the finest examples of rock art in the world. Guided Walks to some rock art shelters can be booked at Giants Castle, Injisuthi, Cathedral Peak and Royal Natal National Park.
There is a rock art centre at Kamberg with guided walks to Game Pass shelter and a magnificent San rock art centre at the Didima at Cathedral Peak.
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has a diverse population of birds, mammals and reptiles. The more common larger mammals that can be found are mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, grey duiker, eland, klipspringer, bushbuck and oribi. The main predators in the Drakensberg are leopard, black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, clawless and spotted neck otter, various species of mongoose and genet.
Troops of chacma baboons, porcupines and colonies of rock hyrax are also found throughout this mountain park.
The Drakensberg is home to over 300 species of birds. Thirty two of the species are endemic to Southern Africa. Some of the specials that can be found are wattled crane, cape vulture, bearded vulture, orange breasted rockjumper and yellow breasted pipit.
Many of the photos and content by courtesy of and are copyrighted by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.