Drakensberg National Park Travel Guide |
The Cliffs and Valleys of Dragon Mountain

Drakensberg National Park hiking.

Considered one of South Africa's most dramatic landscapes, the massive Drakensberg mountain range covers over 250 000 hectares of KwaZulu-Natal's landscape and is a must-see destination for avid hikers, climbers and bird-watchers.

A Travel Guide to the Drakensberg National Park

Access

The Drakensberg National Park is split into 3 distinct sections; the Northern, Central and Southern berg. Depending on which section of the reserve you wish to explore you will need to enter through one of the smaller towns located at its base.

The Northern Drakensberg starts in the Free State Province in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park and extends down to the Royal Natal National Park. The central Drakensberg is the largest section of the mountain and incorporates Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle and Giant's Castle. The Southern section of the Drakensberg runs down what is called the Transkei and into the Underberg and Sani Pass region.

The 12 easiest entry points to the park are Cathedral Peak, Champagne Castle, Giant's Castle, Highmoor, Kamberg, Loteni, Vergelegen, Sani Pass which takes one into Lesotho, Drakensberg Garden and Bushmen's Nek.

Internal Road Network

There is no single road linking all of the sections and visitors with only a few days to spend in the area will be better off selecting one or two areas of interest rather than trying to explore the entire mountain range.

Airport

The closest airport is the King Shaka International Airport in Durban. Alternatively, guests can catch a connecting flight into Pietermaritzburg's Airport from King Shaka.

From King Shaka airport by car for approximately 150 kilometres (93.2 miles) to 200 kilometres (124.2 miles) depending on final destination within the Drakensberg.

Highlights

The Drakensberg National Park is a wildlife reservethat offers magnificent mountain landscapes with towering peaks and jagged cliffs plummeting into lush green valleys. Avid hikers will be in their element in this environment with hiking trails taking one up towards the peaks on short hour long walks to longer day or multiple day hikes. Bird watchers will be in for a treat and there are a number of raptor centres for visitors to explore.

Activities

Enjoy a leisurely walk or a longer hike along one of the hiking trails available. Many of the accommodation resorts within the different areas offer mountain biking, horse riding and quad biking for a different ways to explore the surrounding landscape.

Guests can also spend time fly-fishing for trout in the local dams. There are many of the caves within the nature park's mountains that have San Rock paintings and guests can take guided walks up to the heritage sites to see the rock art. The beauty of the nature reserve offers photographers abundant photographic opportunities. Enjoy a picnic with the family at one of the local picnic sites while looking out at the various scenic landmarks.

Accommodation

There are a number of Drakensberg Accommodation options including large resorts such as Cathedral Peak Hotel, Champagne Sports Resort, Champagne Castle Resort that all offer comfortable chalets or cottages. Alternatively visitors can stay at one of the many local bed and breakfasts, guesthouses or self-catering lodges available in the different areas.

The experience

Crisp fresh air, lush green expansive landscapes and breath-taking vistas await you when you plan to visit the Drakensberg National Park. No matter where you decide to stay you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. Escape the busy pace of the city and take a few days to explore the region and realign your mind, body and spirit.

A variety of accommodation options from lodges to guest houses, self-catering units and hotels cater for every need and every budget. Head out on a hike along one of the many paths or sit back in a comfortable chair by the fireplace and read a great novel. The Drakensberg National Park offers fantastic outdoor activities for all ages and is a fantastic destination to plan a romantic getaway or a bonding family holiday.

Climate

The Drakensberg is located in a summer rainfall area but climatic extremes often result in sudden and extreme weather changes. Temperatures can range from 30C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in mid-summer and can drop to 12C (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower at night and in winter.

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South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks
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