uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage Site in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, covering 242,813 ha (2,428 km2) of area. The park spans parts of both South Africa, in its KwaZulu-Natal province, and Lesotho. The park includes Royal Natal National Park and the Drakensberg National Park, both provincial parks under the umbrella of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
The ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park has a diverse population of birds, mammals and reptiles. The more common larger mammals that can be found are mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, grey duiker, eland, klipspringer, bushbuck and oribi.
The main predators in the Drakensberg are leopard, black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, clawless and spotted neck otter, various species of mongoose and genet. The Park makes an ideal home for troops of chacma baboons, porcupines and colonies of rock hyrax, commonly known as dassies.
Please see the mammal species page for more animals found in the area.
On 30 November 2000, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park was added to the World Heritage List. It is described by UNESCO as having -
"exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts...the site’s diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants and also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa, south of the Sahara".
Elsa Pooley said -
“The dramatic broken landscape of the escarpment and the harsh climatic conditions of the highland of Lesotho account for the remarkably diverse plant life with about 2200 species and almost 400 endemics”.
One of the reasons the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg area was declared a World Heritage Site was for its rich diversity of plant life. There are many interesting plants to be seen at any time of the year and the flowers are usually at their best just after the spring rains and throughout the summer months, from November to February. Visit the wild flowers page for info.
The Drakensberg is home to around 300 species of birds and 32 of those are endemic to Southern Africa. Some of the more rare specials that can be spotted in the area are the wattled crane, cape vulture, bearded vulture, orange breasted rockjumper and yellow breasted pipit. The area is a bird watchers delight and various birding tours can be arranged in the area. There are 164 bird species listed on the bird species page.
San Rock Art
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is one of the richest rock painting areas in the world. For over the past 40 years enthusiasts and experts have searched for paintings in the park.
During this time 30 000 individually painted images in 520 different rock shelters have been discovered and recorded.
The paintings cover a variety of topics - with the most common being animal figures and specifically Eland which were considered sacred, as well as human figures depicted in scenes from daily life.
Tours and hikes can be arranged to view these historic rock paintings - a great day out in the Southern Drakensberg. See more on the San Rock Art page.
Some useful links -
© Southern Drakensberg Information - 2014