Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu Natal
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of this world heritage site.
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park site's diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants. This spectacular natural site also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years. The rock paintings are outstanding in quality and diversity of subject and in their depiction of animals and human beings. They represent the spiritual life of the San people who no longer live in this region.
The San people are recognised as the indigenous inhabitants of the sub-continent. In centuries past they inhabited practically the entire sub-continent, and are regarded as "embodying the essence of southern Africa's deep past". Yet there is no monument to the San people - other than their own art. Within the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park there are some 600 sites, collectively representing over 35000 individual images.
The ecological integrity of the area has been preserved intact since the last San people living there and the climate, vegetation and fauna have not changed. Uniquely, it is possible to turn from rock paintings of eland, rhebok and other animals to look over pristine valleys and to see these very species feeding, resting or moving about.
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Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park