Flanking the western borders of KwaZulu-Natal for 200 km's is the spectacular Drakensberg mountain range, originally referred to as the "Dragon Mountains" by early settlers.
To the Zulu's living in the east, the rock formation resembled a row of spears and they called it 'Ukhahlamba' (a barrier). Nowadays, it is affectionately known to locals as the 'Berg'.
The northern Drakensberg is an area of magnificent natural beauty. One such scenic wonder is the Amphitheatre which lies on the eastern edge of the Mont-aux-Sources, a 3000m high plateau and the source of the Tugela River and eight other rivers.
The Tugela River flows towards the Amphitheatre and then plummets 2 000m over the edge in a series of falls and cascades forming the highest waterfall in South Africa.
The Amphitheatre forms the backdrop to the
Royal Natal National Park which boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in South Africa.
This large terrain, over 8000ha, can be explored on horseback with horses available for hire and there are more than 30 walks and climbs ranging from 3km's for beginners to over 45km's for the experienced.
The central Drakensberg area includes a solid basalt rock wall maintained at a level of over 3000m for some 35 kilometres ending in a massive corner stone known as Giant's Castle.
Proclaimed almost a century ago, Giant's Castle Game Reserve can be found on the foothills and a series of caves offer visitors a chance to view galleries of rock art - a testament to the San people who once inhabited the area hundreds of years ago.
Vultures for Africa
A highlight is a trip to the 'vulture hideout' for an unforgettable birdwatching experience. The main attraction is the rare Bearded Vulture, the largest of Africa's birds of prey with a wing span of nearly 3 metres.
Mount Currie Nature Reserve is a
haven for these magnificent birds Nearly 150 bird species have been recorded including the Black Eagle and the Cape Vulture to name but a few.
The Southern Drakensberg ranges from Giant's Castle to KwaZulu-Natal's southernmost section of the Drakensberg, Bushmans Nek. Bushmans Nek is one of two official entries into Lesotho from KwaZulu-Natal and can be made on foot or horseback. Sani Pass, the highest in South Africa is the other and the only road link.
Some of the wildlife seen in the Southern Drakensberg include the eland, the largest of the African antelope, oribi, jackal, baboon and
porcupine. The area is also particularly popular for trout fishing with a number of well stocked dams available.