To begin our seven-part series on the Seven Wonders of South Africa, we at The Good News Company have decided to highlight the Drakensberg Mountain Range. While some of us know of and even experience the majesty of the geological wonder every year, not everyone knows about the formation’s history or claim to fame, and why we as South Africans can be so proud that it falls within our borders. We’re hoping you’ll learn something new, and be inspired to travel the nation to experience these Wonders for yourself.
Dubbed the ‘uKhahlamba’ Mountain Range in isiZulu, meaning ‘barrier of spears’, the Drakensberg is South Africa’s highest mountain range and home to Africa’s oldest San rock art. Peaking at an astonishing 3475m above sea level, early settlers named it after interpreting the volatile landscape as that of a dragon’s back. Its prestige as a World Heritage Site stems from its rich history and the level of intricate detail we have witnessed in fossils and cultural artefacts found there.
Showing off biodiversity that’s hard to rival, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg welcomes local and international tourists all year around. Professional hikers, mountaineers, abseilers, rock climbers and environmental scientists, botanists, conservationists and lovers of wildlife all flock to the peaks and valleys to witness natural beauty at its best. With activities ranging from 4×4 courses, canoeing and white water rafting, zip-lining, horse-riding, mountain-biking and more, the tourist aspect is well provided for in among the sacred academic and cultural purposes which the mountains serve.
Split into the northern, central and southern Drakensberg, each region of the mountain range offers a distinctly unique environment and history. Offering a depth of cultural insight, the growing number of tourism centres specialise in guided tours, camp-outs and aerial viewings of the impressive escarpment. In modern times, the uKhahlamba has become internationally renowned as the setting for special festivals, such as the Drakensberg Boys Choir recitals, Splashy Fen Music Festival and more.
Share your experience of the majestic uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains with us and include some Good News – you could be featured in your very own article!