Spotting wildlife, discovering ancient rock art, mountain biking and climbing sheer basalt cliffs are just a few of the activities awaiting in the Drakensberg Mountains. South Africa’s highest mountain range rises to 11,424 feet (3,482 meters) and is renowned for its spectacular waterfalls, forested slopes and soaring peaks such as Champagne Castle and Devil’s Tooth.
Load up the car and drive to the Royal Natal National Park in Northern Drakensberg. Here you’ll find the Amphitheatre, a 4,000-foot (1,200-meter) wall of sheer basalt that extends for 3 miles (5 kilometers). Climb to the summit by scaling the chain ladders which run up the cliff face, then spend three days exploring this spectacular area by following the Amphitheatre Slackpacking Trail, staying in conveniently located lodges along the way.
Central Drakensberg is the most visited section of the mountain range and contains its highest peaks. Appreciate the views from the comfort of your lodge, or up close with a hike or mountain bike ride. Keep an eye to the skies for rare bird species such as the black eagle and bearded vulture.
Southern Drakensberg is popular for its lakes and rivers and the spectacular Sani Pass. Go for a drive along this mountain road, the highest in the country. The route is not for the faint-hearted and is best traversed by off-road vehicle.
The Drakensberg Mountains have been called the world’s greatest outdoor art gallery. The indigenous San people left behind more than 35,000 paintings in caves and cliff overhangs. The highest concentration of pictures are in the Giant’s Castle area where you’ll see images of antelope, dancing and hunting scenes.
This internationally recognized world heritage area offers plenty of accommodation options, including camping and caravan sites, lodges and rustic mountain inns. The Drakensberg Mountains can be enjoyed year-round, although summer is characterized by frequent thunderstorms and temperatures can plummet during the winter. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions. A clear blue sky can become overcast in a matter of minutes.
The Drakensberg Mountains are a two-hour drive from Durban.