#TravelTuesday: The “Dragon Mountains,” Of South Africa
Written by Smooth FM on August 6, 2019
The spectacular Drakensberg, meaning “Dragon Mountains,” is one of the most popular vacation destinations in South Africa.
And, it’s no wonder that it has earned this name because some of the peaks are mammoth in size and stature. The average height of the range is 2 900 metres. However, it is home to some of the country’s highest peaks, which surge up to 3 482 metres above sea level.
Between and amongst these peaks are plateaus, valleys, slopes, and incredible mountain passes that make for some of the best hiking, walking and cycling adventures in South Africa.
Within the Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal lies the 243 000 hectare mountain region that is also a world heritage site, known as Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park Park.
Not only does it boast some of the most incredible scenic beauty, but it also has over 600 examples of San rock paintings in caves around the park.
Staying in the shadow of these mountains brings immediate breathing space and a chance to unwind. Aside from hiking – and there are innumerable hikes that range in skill and fitness requirements throughout the entire Drakensberg – there are also horse trails, canopy tours, white water rafting, abseiling, local arts and crafts or simply ‘taking the air’ for those with little other than repose in mind.
The Giant’s Castle Game Reserve in the region protects large herds of eland. Dense forests flourish in the sheltered valleys, and the area is home to more than 800 different species of flowering plants as well as a rich diversity of wildlife.
In the summer, the mountain landscapes are lush and fertile with gushing waterfalls and crystal-clear streams. In the winter, snow cloaks the dramatic peaks.
Visitors flock here to hike and bike the scenic mountain trails, fish for trout, rock climb, abseil, parasail, and raft the waters of the fast-flowing rivers. Hot air balloon rides are a great way to appreciate the dramatic topography.