South Africa’s Mountain Region
Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site
Drakensberg means “Dragon’s Mountains” and are the highest range in Southern Africa. The range is 200 kilometers long and is classified as a World Heritage Site.
It is only 2 hours from Durban and is at an altitude of 3000 meters. This was partly due to the 35000 San rock art images that are thousands of years old. The sharp jagged peaks have lent the Zulu’s to name the mountain range uKhahlamba meaning “Barrier of Spears.” This is also the location of the second highest waterfall in the world. This breathtaking area is surrounded by awesome lodges and hotel as well as first class restaurants.
The towns that lie at the foot of these towering peaks include Kokstad, Nottingham Road, Mooi River, Swartberg, and Rosetta. The aptly named Berg River (Mountain River) runs through the valley and is a perfect place for trout and bass fishing. Some great places to stay are the Rose Cottage, Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak and Splashy Fen Trout Farm. As the Drakensberg reaches the Lesotho Border the lush grasslands and rolling hills offer stunning views whether you are on foot or on horseback on one of the many trails. There are wild animals here that include many kinds of buck and small mammals, but also include the reclusive leopard, caracal, serval, black-backed jackal, clawless otter and genets.
The great fertile farmlands of Natal are known as the Midlands and this part of the province stretches all the way from the foot of the Drakensberg to the coast. The Midlands Meander has become a popular tourist activity and you can have a great time discovering the arts and crafts movements and traditional arts of the people. Here you will find towns like Pietermaritzberg which is fondly called “the last outpost of the British Empire with its red brick houses and boarding schools.
Another town of significance is Howick. This town offers tons of waterfalls and is best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962. Here you will find spectacular trout fishing golfing and maintain biking trails as well as pristine accommodation locations like the Sunbird Guest House, Rockwood Forest Lodge, and Calderwood Hall. Ladysmith is another important Midlands town offering historic buildings and locations. The Midlands are also well known for their beer tasting and there are 5 main breweries in the area namely the Nottingham Road Brewing Co, the Firkin Brew Pub in Westville, Farmers Brewery near Dundee, and Wartburg Hof and Zululand Breweries in Eshowe. In fact these have become so popular that a Brew Route is being planned and this hopes to be Africa’s solution to Germany’s Oktoberfest.
The Kingdom of the Zulus is located from the Tugela River in the South to the Pongola River in the North. This is still very much a kingdom and rural Zulu tribes dot the hillsides with 96 percent of the population here speaking Zulu. To enjoy this amazing place you can choose to stay at one of these wonderful places: African Ambiance, AmaKhosi Safari Lodge, Avalone Guest House, Bahati Bushcamp and Game Farm, Bayala Game Lodge, Birds of Paradise B&B, Biweda Nguni Guest Lodge, and Celtis Bed and Breakfast. These are just a few of the 200 accommodation venues where you can experience the gorgeous scenery and traditions of Zululand.