Much of this information has been drawn (and often
directly quoted) from David Britow's
The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is a hikers paradise with a combination of magnificent scenery, well-maintained trails and the availability of clean drinking water. It encompasses some 230 000 hectares of protected land and boasts the biggest outdoor art gallery in the world - some 40 000 paintings in 500 known locations (Click here for more information on San Rock Art - opens in a new window). It is a world heritage site, one of only twenty-three such sites that combine great natural beauty and cultural significance.
The Drakensberg (or the Berg as it is called by most) offers a wide variety of walks & hikes that will satisfy the serious to the not-so-serious hiker. Although there are also a number of challenging climbs, these will not be mentioned here. If this is your interest we will put you in contact with the right people to give you sound and reliable advice.
Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife (EKZN), the province's conservation body, maintains all the hiking areas in the Central and Northern Drakensberg for which they charge a nominal entrance fee. Overnight hikers are expected to sign the mountain register which is vital for the search and rescue service administered by EKZN. Camping in certain areas can only be done in designated campsites and caves that need to be booked through EKZN. Please note that the summit caves are open to all so do not be surprised if you meet an interesting mix of Basotho herders, dagga smugglers, stock-theft patrols and ice rats.
Overnight hikers are well advised to use the excellent topographic maps (produced by EKZN) available from CDIC as well as most EKZN stations. For day hikes and walks A4 maps are generally available from the EKZN gates which detail the various hikes in that area and their approximate duration.
Not to put anyone off serious hiking in the Drakensberg - it is a formidable mountain with the associated dangers of an unpredictable climate (snowfalls have been recorded each month of the year, mist can set in and rivers can flood without much warning), rock-falls (rare but there's a lot of rock up there!) and the occasional snakebite. But if you are prepared, both well equipped and equipped with a healthy respect for the mountain, you will be blessed by some of the most exhilarating experiences.
Lastly, some pretty obvious guidelines on how to keep the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park exquisite for generations to come:
leave society and take
no one with you
but your true self
get close to nature
your everyday games
will be insignificant
notice the clouds
and try to do that
with your life
-susan polis schutz-
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