Drakensberg Mountains - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Drakensberg Mountains

Drakensberg Mountains

The jagged peaks of the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) tower over the eastern border of Kwa-Zulu Natal with Lesotho, providing a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The mountains abound with hiking trails, climbing routes, 4x4 trails, pony treks and adventure pursuits, all accessible from numerous resorts in the lower reaches.

Though home to a few luxury resorts and small towns, the region is largely untamed, and criss-crossed by lengths of rugged dirt roads. The only road that breaches the mountain range and crosses the border to Lesotho is the hair-raising Sani Pass, which is topped by the highest pub in Africa.

The mountain range is a popular getaway for Johannesburg and Durban residents, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, golf, horseback riding, fishing, and even hot air ballooning. If relaxation is what you're after however, you can simply enjoy the stunning views provided by the peaks and valleys and their waterfalls, caves, streams, and rock pools. Several locations, including Giant's Castle, feature ancient rock paintings left by the San people on cave walls.

Whether you venture north to the highest peaks of Mont-Aux-Sources, Cathedral Peak, and the Amphitheatre; or amuse yourself in the foothills to the south, a vacation in the Drakensberg Mountains offer fun and relaxation for everyone.

Information & Facts

South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. English is widely spoken.

South Africa's currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and the larger hotels. ATMs are widely available (there is a daily limit for cash withdrawals) and major international credit cards are widely accepted, except in petrol stations where cash is required. Visitors should be vigilant when drawing cash from ATMs, as con artists are known to operate there. Travellers cheques and some foreign currencies are accepted at larger hotels and shops, but commission is charged, otherwise all commercial banks will exchange them.

Local time is GMT +2.

Giant's Castle Nature Reserve lies in the central region of the Drakensberg Mountains. There are grassy fields, streams, and waterfalls dotted among the peaks and valleys of the reserve, which is home to eland, bearded vulture, and other animals. There are plenty of hiking trails and mountain climbing paths through the stunning scenery, but the biggest draw of Giant's Castle is the San rock art visible in the caves. Knowledgeable tour guides and the Giant's Castle Main Caves Museum will give you insight into the lives of these enigmatic people.

The only overland entry point into Lesotho is Sani Pass, a spectacular mountain road through the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal. Accessible only with a 4x4, the route is not for the faint of heart due to the unpredictability of the weather. Once at the top, however, you can enjoy amazing panoramic views from the highest point in the Drakensberg, have a drink at the highest pub in Southern Africa, and visit the Basuto Cultural Village. Sani Top also offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities for the truly adventurous.

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