Friday, June 14, 2013

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park in KwaZulu Natal

The spectacular drakensberg is the highest mountain range in South Africa, stretching for over 200km (125ml), from the Eastern Cape right through to Kwazulu Natal. An overwhelming portion of this extensive and awesome mountain range is nestled within the territorial confines of Kwazulu Natal, forming a natural border between the region and Lesotho. Simply alluded to as “The Dragon Mountain”, this stunning series of mountains have an average height of 2900m, with its highest peak measuring up to 3,482 m.
The stunning Drakensberg Mountain range exhibits exceptional natural beauty, in its soaring basaltic buttresses, sharp spectacular cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. With its undulating high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep sided river valleys and rocky gorges are some of the natural privileges displayed by this breathtaking mountain range. This majestic mountain has an accessible plateau and is pervaded by numerous trails and slopes, affording impressive hiking opportunities. On the whole, the Drakensberg is characterised by spectacular waterfalls, caves, mountain streams, ravines, pure fresh air, rock pools and more. The mountain range also boasts a number of foothills known as the Foothills of Drakensberg.
Within the awe-inspiring scene of the Drakensberg Kwazulu Natal lies the 243 000- hectare Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.

The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is home to a lavish spectrum of flora and fauna, in the midst of the staggering panoramic Drakensberg geological setting. Some of the animals to be viewed in the park include eland, rhebok and more.
Of critical significance in the park is the presence of numerous caves and rock shelters, bearing the largest and densest group of paintings in the entire Sub-Saharan Africa. These paintings can be retraced to about 4000 years, and were highly artistically executed by the indigenous people of South Africa, known as the San. These outstanding paintings comprise vivid pictorial depictions of a variety of subjects, related to the lifestyle of the San; such as dancing, food gathering, scenes of rituals and trance etc. Within the park prevails about 600 sites, aggregately representing over 35,000 individual paintings. Remarkably, the paintings remain excellently preserved within the setting of their production. Though the San no longer inhabit the area, their paintings constitute an indelible legacy of their creativity and legendary artistry.

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