Central Drakensberg, Drakensberg

The beautiful Drakensberg range or Dragon Mountains, also known in Zulu as uKhahlamba or barrier of spears, is a voluminous stretch of mountains that covers over 1 000 kilometres from south-west to north-east, lying mostly in KwaZulu-Natal. Collectively this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for good reason, as the beauty is haunting.

Divided, for reference' sake, into three sections, the north contains the group of mountains known collectively as the 'amphitheatre', whilst the central is by far the most popular part of the region. Usually the two tend to be lumped into one areas, but the central Drakensberg features a number of famous peaks that include Champagne Castle, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl and Giants Castle. Collectively they make up one of the highest hiking places in the country and boast the most incredible views, enviable skies, open spaces, sheer rock faces, caves and waterfalls enough to make up for lives overindulged in indoor, work-focused lifestyles.

The central Drakensberg is regarded as the most attractive part of the range of mountains, certainly there is more Drakensberg accommodation and more action in these parts, and it is usually the first to feel the effects of winter, with gleaming white peaks after an icy chill.

What makes the Drakensberg so attractive is that the high slopes are hard enough to reach to have prevented much damage to the environment. As a result much of this wonderland remains virgin territory. The most southerly high mountains in Africa, the treeless peaks provide a complete escape from man-induced restrictions and responsibilities, whilst simply drinking in the views is enough to recharge and re-evaluate life.

It is also, as a result, one of the areas richest in Bushmen cave paintings, boasting between 35 000 and 40 000 works that date to at least 40 000 years ago, the largest collection of such work in the world.

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