Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots if you’re heading to KwaZulu Natal’s Drakensberg (Dragon Mountain in English), because this is hiking country at its best. Towering up at over 3400 meters, the craggy cliffs and hills of the Drakensberg are also called uKhahlamba (Barrier of Spears in Zulu) because of the sharp spear-like peaks that jutted into the skies.

Today these majestic mountains form a natural border between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho, and contain some of the finest examples of San rock art to be seen in South Africa. Expect some snow in winter (great for skiing at SA’s only snow ski resort) and a floral feast in spring.

Drakensberg Highlights

  • Battlefields – Brimming with sites and reminders of the Boer, British and Zulu battles that occurred here. Visit the mGungundlovu, where the Zulu chief, Dingaan wiped out Piet Retief and his fellow Voortrekker followers. Other historically interesting sites include the Ultimatum Tree, Bloukrans, Blood River, Rorke’s Drift and the renowned Isandlwana where the British were defeated. Don’t miss out on Ladysmith, and the Talana Museum at Dundee.
  • Bergville – Gateway to the Northern Drakensberg and an ideal place from which to enter this beautiful South Africa tourism region. Visit the nearby Zulu handicraft centre, Thandanani to purchase traditional beadwork, woodwork and baskets.
  • Champagne Valley – A beautiful valley, nestling in the foothills of the mighty Drakensberg Mountains and offers wonderful hikes in the unspoilt Monks Cowl Nature Reserve. Towering above is Champagne Castle the second highest peak of the Drakensberg. A popular destination for Drakensberg weddings.
  • Kamberg Valley – beautiful flora, varied fauna, San rock art, walking, birding and riding.
  • Spioenkop – the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Anglo Boer War. Today the Spioenkop Dam is the popular location for watersports, fishing, walking and driving safaris (look out for the once almost extinct white rhino)
  • Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park –  The 243 000ha park is one of South Africa`s prime ecotourist destinations. Enjoy the ultimate freedom of the great open spaces.
  • Drakensberg Events – The Drakensberg region has a number of annual events which will appeal to many. There’s the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir annual Christmas Concert (December) and Music in the Mountains Festival (April). The Gun Challenge at Swartkop (February) the SA Polocrosse Championships (Spring) and numerous MTB events and running marathons for the super fit. Look out for the Zulu Dancing Competition in December.