Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park – South Africa

by Kojo Pocu
Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

The variety of ecosystems of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park site preserve a significant number of endemic and internationally threatened species, particularly birds and flora.

The rock paintings of the Drakensberg are the most numerous and concentrated collection of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, and they are exceptional in both quality and topic range.

With its towering basaltic buttresses, sharp dramatic cuts, and golden sandstone ramparts, the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park possesses extraordinary natural beauty. The world heritage site’s rolling high altitude meadows, clean steep-sided river valleys, and rocky gorges all add to its charm.

The greatest and most concentrated collection of San paintings south of the Sahara may be found in this magnificent natural site’s many caves and rock shelters, which date back 4,000 years. The quality, diversity, and representation of both animals and people in the rock drawings are exceptional. They stand in for the San people’s spirituality, who are no longer present in this area.

The indigenous inhabitants of the subcontinent are known as the San people. They are regarded as “embodying the essence of southern Africa’s deep past” and once inhabited nearly the whole subcontinent. However, except from their own artwork, there is no monument to the San people. There are 600 sites total within the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, containing more than 35000 unique photographs.

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Surprisingly, the park’s rock art is more well-preserved than any other area south of the Sahara. The oldest painting in the park is on a rock shelter wall, while the most recent works are from the late nineteenth century.

A lot of the sites feature images of ritual hunting or rainmaking or dancing, battling, or gathering food scenes.

Since the last San people lived there, the biological integrity of the region has been preserved, and the climate, vegetation, and fauna have not changed. Unusually, it is possible to look over virgin valleys and view these particular species feeding, resting, or moving around while still looking at rock drawings of eland, rhebok, and other creatures.

Where Is Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park Situated?

Situated just 2 hours from Durban and 4 hours from Gauteng, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, with many endemic and endangered species.

Why Is The Drakensberg Called Ukhahlamba?

In Zulu the range is known as uKhahlamba, meaning ‘barrier of spears’, which does justice to its dramatic basalt buttresses. Early settlers called it the Drakensberge, because they believed it resembled a dragon’s back.

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

Who Owns Ukhahlamba Drakensberg?

David Grey of Cathkin, Scotland, departed for Port Natal in the barque Aliwal on September 21, 1849, along with his wife and four children (Durban). On the Voortrekker Farm, which Opperman had purchased, David moved to The Nest in 1855. He named Cathkin Peak after Cathkin Braes in his hometown of Glasgow because the farm extended well into the Drakensberg.

Rebels broke into the home during the Langalibalele Rebellion in April 1874. Before David Grey Senior fired a shot through the verandah post, the rebels stabbed their sons, David (29) and Walter (15).

Fortunately, David and Walter survived as the rebels fled. The same night, the house on The Nest caught fire.

During the Anglo-Boer war, a significant combat broke out on January 24, 1900, not far from The Nest in the region known as Spioenkop. The Battle of Spioenkop is referred to as this.

In 1933, Leslie Forbes Gray erected a guest house on the site. The current hotel was then constructed by Italian POWs in 1943.

The Nest Hotel was taken over by Thoedore Haug in 1963, and he oversaw it for 16 years. Following then, the Malherbe family ran the business for nine years. Before selling the hotel to Stuart and Shelley Longmore, the German family took over and ran it for 28 years. In this stunning and storied region of KwaZulu- Natal in the Drakensberg, the Longmores are honoured to be your hosts.

Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

World Heritage Site

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site was established in November 2000.

Due to its universal values to humanity, this park is special in that it is recognised as a World Heritage Site. Its fulfilment of the requirements for both cultural and natural World Heritage characteristics is what makes it so unique. There are just about 20 locations like this in the entire world.

Its exceptional biological diversity is acknowledged on a global scale. To its endemic and threatened species, extraordinary natural beauty, and works of art. These 35 000 San rock art images, which are part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site, are masterpieces of human creative talent.

The Drakensberg is also regarded as one of the most significant instances of a “erosional mountain” in the entire world. The Thukela Falls, the second-highest waterfall in the world, is located on what is actually an escarpment.