The magnificent Drakensberg. Image via Adobe Stock

The mountains are calling: Escape to the Drakensberg

From hiking in the mountains to swimming in fresh rivers, the Drakensberg has it all – and it’s on our doorstep.


The magnificent Drakensberg. Image via Adobe Stock

The Drakensberg is a firm favourite among South Africans. It offers spectacular mountain scenery, coupled with a range of outdoor activities, which are just perfect for this time of year. After months of being locked down, it’s time to explore beyond provincial borders again.

The Drakensberg region

The Drakensberg also known as “The Berg”, is a huge geological area extending over 1,000 kilometres throughout South Africa, formed millions of years ago through volcanic activity.

It extends from the Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal and into Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The Drakensberg was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Popular among visitors from the nearby Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, the Drakensberg region is within driving distance of both Johannesburg and Durban.

The most visited part of the Drakensberg is the 200-kilometre stretch of mountains which lies on the border of Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. This part of the Drakensberg is divided into three distinct parts: the Northern Berg, the Central Berg and the Southern Berg.

Activities in the Drakensberg

Whether visitors wish to explore the region’s fascinating attractions, participate in activities or simply relax and unwind in picturesque settings, there is something for everyone.

Hiking and mountain-biking are popular outdoor activities. The Central Drakensberg with its Giant’s Castle, Champagne Castle and Cathedral Peak are favourites amongst visitors.

On the back of a horse, is another popular way to take in the majestic mountain scenery. Those who enjoy birdlife and wildlife will also be in for a treat. The region is home to a couple of national parks, with several bird and animal species.

Many visitors come for the rich collection of San rock paintings. Approximately 20,000 individual rock paintings have been recorded at 500 different caves and overhanging sites located between the Drakensberg’s Royal Natal National Park and Bushman’s Nek.

Where to stay

It depends on which part of the Berg you choose to visit. Whether you prefer the Northern Berg, the Central Berg or the Southern Berg, there is a range of accommodation options for all budgets and preferences. From campsites and self-catering chalets, to guest houses and hotels.

The Royal Natal National Park in the Central Drakensberg is a good option.

The award-winning Thendele Camp’s self-catering chalets each come with splendid views of the Drakensberg’s amphitheatre. Hiking, trout fishing, freshwater swimming, picnicking and horse riding are all popular activities on offer at Royal Natal National Park.