Bushman Rock Art Centre
KwaZulu-Natal's new Kamberg Rock Art Centre, now open to the public, will help visitors understand and interpret the more than 40 000 San Bushman images to be found in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
It is here that the "Rosetta Stone" of San art first provided archaeologists with the key to interpreting the symbolism of the paintings as spiritual in content - showing how hunters gained power from the animals that they killed.
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site - one of just 23 sites worldwide granted this status on the basis of both natural beauty and cultural significance. The 230 000 hectare protected area contains 500 known sites of San rock art.
The Kamberg San Rock Art Trail and Interpretive Centre together offer visitors information about the world of the San, and the opportunity to walk to Game Pass Shelter to view outstanding examples of their art in the company of a trained community guide.
The San people lived in the Drakensberg area for thousands of years before being exterminated in clashes with the Zulus and white settlers.
A video documentary on the world of the San can be viewed at the centre, which also provides contact with their descendants who still live in the area. The centre offers a range of books, posters and videos for sale, as well as a refreshment kiosk.
The walk from the centre to Game Pass Shelter takes two-and-a-half to three hours via the Waterfall Shelter. The trail and centre cater for a maximum of 10 patrons at a time, with tours run seven days a week. It is recommended that places be booked by phoning Kamberg Nature Reserve
- National/State Park
- Arts and Culture
If you want peace and quiet, real peace and quiet then the The Drakensberg Traverse is the most awesome trek you could imagine. We took 14 days leave from life and walked from The Sentinel in the Northern Drakensberg to Sani Pass in the South. A little over 200km of the most pristine Mountain Wilderness in the world.
Much of the trek was through the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park a UNESCO World Hertitage site (it's status granted due to the greatest collection of San Rock Art, the magnificent mountains and their unspoilt high altitude wetland and river system that provides South Africa with most of it's quality drinking water. The rest of our route took us through the rugged landscape of Lesotho, the Mountain Kingdom.
Climb Thabana Ntlenyana, Southern Africas highest Peak.We started out on the 14th of May 2009, hiking on a good path past the enormous Sentinel peak 3165m and up the infamous Chain Ladders to reach the Mont-Aux-Sources Plateau 3100m for our first nights camp. We were greeted by the rare bearded vultures swooping a mere 20m above us, a trend that continued throughout our trip. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset that highlighted the dramatic Amphitheatre, home of the Thukela Falls.
The days that followed melded into a mosaic of spectacular cliffs, superb mountain views and breath taking rivers with their chilly plunge pools. It's an amazing feeling to climb to the crest of one of those seemily endless uphills, peer at the horizon, recognise famous peaks such as Cathederal, Monks Cowl, Giants Castle and a few days later you turn your back on them as you set your sights on the next majestic peak.
We hiked past the stone mountain huts of the Basotho Herdsman. If we were starting to feel sorry for ourselves because of terrain altitude (mainly above 3000m), aching muscles and the cold, these guys would remind us of what it's really like to rough it. A friendly nation the herdsman wear gumboots, a traditional blanket and a balaklava, that's it, to put it in perspective, day time teperatures while we were trekking were below 10 deg. C and night time left us chilly when they dropped as low as -10 deg C. It wasn't even mid winter! These guys look after their tribe or family's herd of goats, sheep, cows or horses and they have the coolest dogs; huge beasts a delightful mixture of spaniel ears, labrador girth,st bernard hight & fur and brindled staffie colouring.
We were fortunate with wildlife too, yip, even at that altitude, we saw plenty of Cape Vultures, Bearded Vultures, Jackal buzzards, Rock Kestrel, a Berg Adder, Grey Rhebok, Klipspringer, baboons, Dassies (Rock Hyrax) and the adorable Sloggerts Ice Rats. Two surprises were the owls we heard at night and amazingly a pair of Secretary Birds that joined us at our lunch spot at a high altitude tarn one day.
If you're keen on picking up eye catching stones, then best you eat all your food quickly, because there are fantastic examples of amygdale, agate, quartz crystals and geodes. Actuallly eating all your food quickly isn't difficult to do, we got hungrier and hungrier by the day and were desperate to break into our emergency food rations in the last few days.
We climbd to the top of Mafadi, South Africa's highest peak 3450m and also Thabana Ntlenyana 3482m the highest African peak South of Mt Kilimanjaro. It's in the Drakensberg range but is actually situated in Lesotho. Unfortunately T. Ntlenyana signaled the end of our trip, it's a days walk from Sani Pass. It took us a long time to get there, we were dragging our heels, it had been so easy to immerse ourselves in the rythm of the wilderness, it took quite some effort to relinquish our freedom and succumb to civilisation.
This is a strenuous trip, you do need to be able to navigate confidently with map and compass - gps is a good back up & we mapped our route, but mountain skill is a definite requirement. The Drakensberg like any other mountain range has notoriously fickle weather we were blessed with stable sunny, if cold weather except for 2 days when we had a short blizzard,sleet and snow, gale force winds of +100km/hour, so you also need to be prepared for any conditions, it's known to have snowed every month of the year in the Drakensberg and even though it's Africa sub zero conditions are common. Also, not much telecom, no civilisation and you'll need to carry all your gear and food with you.
If you're ever keen to do all or part (5 days is fantastic) of this spectacular trek contact GoVertical Mountaineering Adventures, it'll get rid of any guess work! http://www.govertical.co.za
- Adventure Travel
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Hiking up the mountains
The cliffs above the Drifters Drakensberg Lodge are home to a colony of Cape Vultures, the foothills home to Eland and many other animal and bird species as well as lush indigenous forests with hidden caves and Bushmen paintings. Enjoy a lovely (but long!) hike up the mountains and enjoy dramatic waterfalls, deep valleys, and high peaks. You can choose to just walk up to the bushmen paintings and then back down or else you can make a day out of it and climb all the way to the top of the mountains....walk along the mountains and then back down. It is NOT an easy walk that involves climbing up rocks too. However, the views from the top are definitely worth it!
Take plenty of water and a light snack for lunch with you. Also take good hiking boots, a hat, sun cream and layered clothing....and of course your camera!
Hiking is highly weather dependent however, since it can get very foggy in which case it's dangerous to go up the mountain.
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
- National/State Park
There are lots of animals to watch in this area and all in peaceful environment and now crowded by millions of tourist, so you can very easy blend into the nature.
In this tip there are few photos of beautiful antelopes.
Visit Sani Valley
Sani Valley is a beautiful valley and lake in between the mountains, it is a great place for relaxing as well as for activities as animal watching, bird watching, fishing and hiking. Not to mentioned the beautiful landscapes.
Night Safari of a night walk can be a good idea if you know where to go and not getting lost, some animals you might miss during the day you might see at night. There are no restrictions here to drive at night, but it is on your own risk.
This area is fantastic for walking safari, walking in the nature is just great, it is rather safe as there are no big cats here, you do not really need a guide around either, just take a walk to the wilderness, in several occasions we were very close to few antelopes. You will see a lot of antelopes, here it is not much of a forest so they will see you from far away, some will keep the distance from you and some will give you a sign not to get too close, learn to read the body language of the animals and remember to give them the respect they give you.
The Sani Pass
The Sani Pass is apparently the highest road in Africa where you can drive (only 4WD), it is climbing up to Sani Pass at 2874 meters and from there only by foot you can climb up to the mountain peak at about 3200 meter.
Safari game drive.
You can drive your own vehicle or join a guided tour for safari ride.
Here is it not very crowded and not as rich as the Kruger Park, but it is very unique, some animals and birds that you will see here are not in the Kruger and of course there is very little tourism, here to compare so you can enjoy here a real peaceful ride.
This region is one of the most amazing I have even visited in my life, it is fantastic for hiking, amazing views and landscape as well as safe.
There are many trails and options here, this is a large country, check out with your local host where is the best to go for a hike.
Drakensberg Boys Choir
How great is must be to go to a school in this beautiful area of South Africa.
The Drakensberg Boys choir is a well established institution from South Africa. It offers the diversity and is representative of the multi-faceted cultures that make up South Africa.
The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir has an unique and diverse style of music. They often tour internationally, so they are not always at the school in South Africa. It is definitely worth trying to attend one of their performances.
The Drakensberg Boys Choir performs most Wednesdays during term time at 3.30 p.m. (when in South Africa, and not on tour)
There are plenty posters all over the area about the performances
- Arts and Culture
A very interesting place. This is a collection of shops, art gallery, deli, restaurant, info centre etc. The place has a distinct African feel and blends very well with the surroundings. You can have a meal here, have a few drinks in the pub or just do shopping.
Thokozisa is the home to the Central Drakensberg Information Centre. It forms the gateway to the Central Drakensberg region.
The website below gives a lot of info, do visit
In a day
It is possible to see and do quite a bit if you have only one day to visit the Central Berg.
Start the morning at Valley Bakery with a good breakfast and good views at the mountain peaks. Then at 10h30, watch the raptors at Falcon Ridge which lasts about an hour. From here, it is a short way to Monks Cowl, where you can go for a short, hike, or just visit the shop with many interesting stuff on sale. In the afternoon, visit Dragon Peaks, where you can have lunch and take an amazing helicopter trip in to the mountains. On your way back visit Ardmore and buy a very unique ceramic piece of art. Stop at Thokozisa where you have a collection of interesting shops, an art gallery, deli etc.
Ok, one day is definitely not enough a week-end is much better!
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
Many different places in the Central Berg area offer horse riding. Khotso Horse Trails is one of these. They offer trails from 1 to 2 hours to longer half day/fun day outings.
They cater for all level of riders.
Do book in advance.
They operate from Scrumpy Jack’s, just off the R600
- Horse Riding
Monks Cowl Hiking Trails
The hiking trails at Monks Cowl are not too difficult and extremely rewarding. You can decide how far or long you want to walk.
You have to register at the office where the trails start. It is best to take a map with you, which is available at the shop in the same area. Do stay on the trial, as it happens often that people get lost in the mountains.
Wooden walking sticks are on sale for about ZAR 30 (+/- 4UDS).
You can only leave at 06h00, and should be back at the base at 18h00.
- Hiking and Walking