The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg

1. The Amphitheater

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 1 - Experience the Drakensberg fd3c3903a1061d1995cc068abcbd0849 Bushman PaintingsOne of the most impressive cliff faces on earth, this towering line of precipitous cliffs runs over 5km, at more 1 000 metres (3200 ft) high. This makes it 10 times the size of El Capitan’s most famous face in Yosemite in the USA. Just to see it is awe-inspiring.

The Amphitheater is within the Royal Natal Park, which is well run and easy to get to. Mont-Aux-Sources, South Africa’s highest peak at just over 3 254 metres (11 000 ft), is part of the same complex. In summer it’s verdantly green with spectacular thunderclouds gathering late in the afternoon, while in winter it’s often under snow, and the grasses make the landscape yellow under clear blue skies. It’s worth checking out in both seasons.

2. Hike to see the world’s 2nd highest waterfall

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 2 - Experience the Drakensberg 0fff077b5db232d312d9a8ecbafcdaf2 Bushman PaintingsMany rate this as the best hike in KwaZulu Natal – a trek through The Royal Natal Park to the Tugela Falls, which plunges over 948 metres (3,100 ft) from the Amphitheatre’s clifftops. The hike is 3 hours up to the point where you look up at the falls and 2 then hours down, along pathways lined with ferns and wild flowers, passing through patches of yellowwood forest. It’s really not too strenuous, but take plenty of water as much of the way you’re hiking above the river.

You can pick up a map when you sign in at the park. There are lots of other hikes within the park, and the staff there can give you all the details.

3. Bushman paintings

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 3 - Experience the Drakensberg 96fd07e4e416653ab78c72ab2bb1ce06 Bushman PaintingsBushman or San people have left behind delicate galleries of their art in caves all over the ‘Berg. A short guided tour to a cave in the Royal Natal Park can be booked – call ahead to confirm the time. You’ll get a spectacular view of the Amphitheater from the path.

4. Cascades

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 4 - Experience the Drakensberg f7160bc7c8f875ff9d02057b277a3733 Bushman PaintingsPack lunch & take an easy stroll from the car park in the Royal Natal Park to this series of cascading falls, with trees around for shade and comfy rock formations to lounge around on in the sun. The water’s perfect for drinking and there are several pools for swimming.

5. Adventure activities

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 5 - Experience the Drakensberg 7003bb11f50f4356abda51d4d91543f6 Bushman PaintingsAll Out Adventures has an amazing collection of equipment in a clearing in a forest near Montusi Mountain Lodge and The Cavern Resort & Spa, offering cable tours, paintball, quad biking, bungee bounce, zip line, king swing and flying trapeze – if you’re into this mad stuff, you’ll be entertained for hours. If not, they do good very good cake and coffee, so it’s still worth checking out.

6. Running & MTB trails

Image result for drakensberg mountain bike trails

The area has a 100km network of mapped and marked trails for running or riding, at different levels of difficulty. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at Montusi Mountain Lodge, they can arrange mountain bike rental as well as show you all the trails. And they have fabulous stand-alone suites in beautiful grounds, with sweeping views to the mountains – perfect to recover afterwards. And book an extra night – you body will appreciate it.

7. It’s super-easy to get to

The top 7 reasons to visit the Northern Drakensberg - 6 - Experience the Drakensberg 7a6d29a57800e41c6cc711a5926dfacd Bushman PaintingsFrom Joburg, take the N3 highway for 2.5 hours to Harrismith and turn right – and the scenery begins, with a beautiful drive past the Sterkfontein Dam (the R74 is now in great condition) and down the Oliviershoek Pass. From Durban it’s an even easier drive, via Bergville.

If you would like any suggestions on where to stay, what to do and what special offers are on please contact our DrakensbergExperience.co.za booking office today and we will help with pleasure

Game Pass Shelter – Spectacular bushman rock art

Drakensberg Rock Art

Most of the paintings in Game Pass Shelter are complex polychrome images and the first rock art paintings you’ll see as you enter are imposing therianthropic figures (mythological creatures that are part human, part animal) clad in long black karosses. The most frequently depicted animal at Game Pass Shelter is the eland, the largest antelope in the Drakensberg. Apart from providing meat, fat and skins, eland had symbolic importance to the Bushman, who believed they had supernatural powers.

Archaeologists studying these paintings uncovered a vital key to understanding the symbolism of Bushman rock art (how hunters gained power from the animals they killed) so, in a sense, they “cracked the code” – hence, Game Pass Shelter is commonly referred to as the “Rosetta Stone of rock art”.

The trail to Game Pass Shelter is a two-and-a-half, to three hour guided walk, via the spiritually moving Waterfall Shelter. It is nothing short of a world-class experience in Khoisan rock art and living Zulu and San culture. You need to arrive at Kamberg Nature Reserve before 11:30 to be able to do this otherwise the guide will have gone home.

Our top top tip is to preceded by a spectacular DVD presentation at the state-of-the-art Interpretive Centre that caters for a maximum of ten people at a time. But you need to request the video presentation.

Contact: Hospitality Manager Mrs. Khanyi Zuma 082 765 3025, Mr. Rowan Mweli 073 641 2371, reception at Kamberg (Nellie) 033 267 7251, Raymond Mweli 071 451 9557

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