Drakensberg “Ukhahlamba” – National Park History
The names given to this amazing mountain range tell us that their is great respect for this amazing and huge range of peaks.
Drakensberg, derived from the Dutch work Drakensberge meaning “Dragon Mountain or Dragons Peak”. In Zulu the name given to the mountain is Ukhahlamba meaning “Barrier of Spears”. These two names speak volumes for this mighty mountain range which must be respected! Even the quick weather changes have caught many an a hiker out.
On the 29th of November in the year 2000 the Drakensberg was given the Status by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
Mountain Height, Length and composition.
The highest peak is Thabana Ntlenyana, at 3,482 metres above sea level and the mountain range as a whole stretches for 1000 Kilometers from the South West to the North East. Being close to Durban it is an ideal place to visit either for just the stunning scenery or to hike the area.
The make up of the mountain is mostly Basalt and Sandstone, at one point in time the whole area was an inland sea which means their are fossils of sea life.
Fossils in the Drakensberg mountain
The age of the mountains go back as far as 180 Million years and their has been no Volcanic activity for the past 50 Million years. The formation was originally Volcanic which is why we find Basalt and over time Marine sediments were deposited on the continental shelf and this had been constantly eroded revealing the harder rock formations.
Northern Drakenberg Royal Natal national parks view up the mountain during on of our 5 Day Durban Safari Tour
San “Bushman” rock art.
The most interesting part for me about the History of the Drakensberg in the fact that it was home to early man and to true South Africas, the San aka The Bushmen.
These amazing people who were only 4 foot high with skins slightly darker than a Arabs skin complexion roamed over these great mountains migrating between the Ocean in Winter and the Drakensberg in the Summer. Even in South Africa at the higher parts of the mountain the temperatures and drop just below Zero Celsius.
The San were hunter gathers and the men would hunt for days just for food and all the parts of the animal were used. The hooves were used to mix paint, Skin for cloths, bones for tools and even the blood and fat for paint making.
This amazing group of people have been proven to have lived on the land for at least the past 40 000 years and we have Bushman paintings that date back as far as 28 000 years!
On our tours we take client to some Bushman painting which are protected and can only be reached with a guide. There are around 35000 – 40000 works of art by the San bushmen.
Bushman paintings seen on our hike in the Drakensberg on our Durban Safari Tour
The Tugela falls which is the second highest waterfall in the world with a drop of 947 meters is a major feature in the Northern Drakensberg and this amazing Waterfall travels 502 km to the ocean, cutting through Zululand and reaching the shores of the Indian ocean.
The word Tugela/uTugela/Tukela means “magnificence of great beauty and that is true. The Tugela river is a real spectacle and we cross this mighty river on our Durban Day Safari or Durban overnight Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg
Accommodation in the Drakensberg.
The is some lovely accommodation in the Drakensberg which we use for our Durban tours. Didima in the Central Drakensberg is one of those places but again without a guide your tour will not be as for-fulling as it could be. If you are interested in a Drakensberg Tour, contact us at Tim Brown Tours and we will ensure you leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
Didima in the Drakensberg
The Drakensberg National Park and World Heritage site is honestly one of the most special places I have ever visited and I have been coming back for over 30 years.
If you are interested in experiencing the secrets of what these amazing mountains have to offer you contact us and we will put together a Durban Tour which will leave you with memories you will never forget.