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The Southern Drakensberg

The Southern Drakensberg lies a bit off the beaten tourist track and is not best known region of the Drakensberg. Its here in the Southern Drakensberg that the nature lover finds alpine landscapes of dramatic beauty.  Trout anglers consider the "Southern Drakensberg" to be a favorite, since the region has an abundance of crystal clear lakes and rivers. The Southern Drakensberg boasts several nature reserves, of which particularly the Kamberg and the Loteni are worth a visit. In both reserves live the almost extinct reedbuck, blessbuck, eland, bushbuck und oribi. A wonderful circular trail leads through the Loteni Reserve.

 - Northern 'Berg
 - Southern 'Berg
 - Central 'Berg
 - Giants Castle
 - Royal Natal
 - Champagne Valley
 - Injasuti
 - Kamberg
 - Sani Pass
 - Bergville
 - Winterton
 - Ladysmith
 - Estcourt
 - Weenen
 - Mooi River
 - Greytown
 - Nottingham Road
 - Rosetta
 - Howick
 - Underberg
 - Himeville
 - Kokstad

Southern Drakensberg - Sani PassThe tourist highlight of the southern Drakensberg is the Sani Pass. It's the highest pass-road in South Africa and leads all along the upper Mkomazana River up to the border with Lesotho (2874 metres above sea-level).One frequently comes across people from Lesotho on their donkeys. At the river one can find many an idyllic picnic spot. Particularly the last part of the untarred stretch (behind the South African border post) is extremely steep and rocky and can only be managed with a four-wheel drive vehicle. But the breathtaking view of the rugged alpine landscape is a memorable reward. It is highly recommended to cross the border, because on the Lesotho side there is a little restaurant and a Basotho village. The border is open daily between 8.00 am and 4.00 pm.

Southern Drakensberg - RhinoProvision centres for the southern part of the Drakensberg are the towns of Underberg, Himeville and Bulwer, where there is accommodation in different price ranges available. Himeville has an excellent museum which gives mainly information about the first white settlers who came here in the 1890s already. One gets to the Southern Drakesberg either by travelling the R103 (Midlands Meander) via Nottingham Road (from there the Sani Pass is sign-posted) or over the southern access via Bulwer (easier drive, but less scenic).

History on the Southern Drakensberg

The Underberg Himeville district's first inhabitants were the Bushmen or San people. They were nomadic and migrated between the high Berg in summer and the lower valleys in winter, following the natural migration of the game which they hunted. The tragic end to their presence in our mountains came with the arrival of white settlers to the Midlands area in the mid 1800's. The Bushmen's food, the game, was hunted almost to extinction by the white settlers, and so the Bushmen took to raiding the farms for cattle and horses. This lead to reprisals and the eventual annihilation of the Drakensberg Bushmen by the late 1860's. All that remains are their stunning paintings in rock shelters in the mountains. The Drakensberg mountains are an area incredibly rich in rock art. 

Many African splinter groups lived in this Southern Drakensberg district from the middle of the 1800's onwards. Today they all consider themselves as Zulus. The road north towards Loteni and Vergelegen goes through large areas of tribal land. It is possible to get a taste of Zulu culture with right here in the Southern Drakensberg. White settlers arrived in the district in the 1880's . A store in Underberg was the start of this Southern Drakensberg village, while Himeville grew up around the fort built in the 1890's . This building survives, having been used for many years as the jail. Today, half is the magistrate's court, and the other half is the excellent Himeville Museum. Other historical buildings in the area are the missions at Reichenau and Centocow, both of which boast beautiful turn-of-the-century churches with interesting paintings and stained glass windows. There is also an amazing church, built entirely of yellowwood, in the village of Bulwer

Southern Drakensberg Links

Drakensberg Boys Choir School | Hiking Maps of the Drakensberg | Drakensberg and Natal Midlands Weddings | Drakensberg day walks and walking trails | Fauna and flora of the Drakensberg - A treasure chest | Links to Drakensberg Tourism Partners

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