Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Mountains of the dragon - Drakensberg

April 12, 2015  —  South Africa 2

The Drakensberg forms the border between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. This vast region got the World Heritage status in 2000. At that time, the name became park uKhahlamba-Drakensberg.

Drakensberg means the Dragon Mountains in Afrikaans; the Zulus name them Quathlamba, meaning 'Battlement of Spears'.

The Drakensberg are separated in many zones where it is possible to do numerous treks. One would need a few weeks to do all the treks, and that if one is lucky enough to have the temperature on its side. I am presenting you some photos of the Northern and Central Berg. For the southern part, there were too many clouds, thunderstorms and rains when I passed through.

Sentinel Peak area

Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak.

The Sentinel Peak hike doesn't go on top of the peak of the same name, but goes around it to reach the Royal Natal Park where the famous Amphitheatre and Tugela Falls can be seen.

Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
The road to get to the trail's start is interesting on its own. A road of a few kilometres on the side of the mountain not made of asphalt, but with bricks...
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
After getting up early, I started the climb toward the Amphitheatre
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sunrise on the Drakensberg.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
View along the trail.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
View along the trail.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
I read there were ladders to climb during the hike. It was mentioned that it wasn't easy to climb them for those having vertigo. When I saw the first ladder, I laughed quite a bit since it is far from being a hard climb... When I saw the second one, I stopped laughing quite abruptly. There were two series of ladders on a 10-20 metres vertical cliff. I hiked 6 hours and about 10 km that day, but at the end of the hike, it was my arms that were hurting. I suffer a bit from vertigo, thus I must have held on to the ladder quite strongly.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Both ladders seem to disappear in the air, isn't-it? It's not an illusion; it’s what it looks like as seen from above.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
A fall with an unknown name.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
The Tugela River.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Even though it's tiny, the Tugela Fall is the second highest fall in the world after the Angels Fall. The Tugela Fall drop for 850 metres.
Sentinel Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
The Amphitheatre... to get an idea of its size, notice the two persons sitting on the left.
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Royal Natal National Park

Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

The Tugela Fall drops from the Amphitheatre located in this park. The Sentinel hike reaches the top of the fall while, in this park, it is possible to get almost to the bottom of the fall after its 850 metres drop.

Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
The hike is along the magnificent Tugela River gorge.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Along the trail.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Along the trail.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Along the trail.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

Here is part of the Amphitheatre seen from below. The Tugela fall is located somewhere near top watermark's 'W'. It is almost invisible from below.

Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
View of the Amphitheatre at the end of the hike.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
View of the Amphitheatre at sunrise.
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

The park also protects several rock paintings made by the San people. This one is about 800 years old.

Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

Cascades near the campsite.

Royal Natal National Park - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
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Cathedral Peak area

Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

Here is another nice area of the Drakensberg. It is possible to do a long hike to Cathedral Peak. I waited 2 days before the sun came back, thus I didn't do this hike.

Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa

From this cottage that can be rented, there is a splendid view of the mountains.

Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
View from the cottages.
Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Workers are busy rebuilding this cottage's roof.
Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Cathedral Peak at sunrise.
Cathedral Peak area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Cathedral Peak seen from the valley before entering the park.
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Monks Cowl area

Monks Cowl area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Monks Cowl Peak.
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Injesuthi area

Again, another nice area where I did a hike.

Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Campsite.
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Here, its autumn time.
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Along the trail.
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Injesuthi area - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
From the viewpoint at the end of the trail.
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Lower berg

In the valleys at the foot of the mountains, there are many nice views and several villages.

Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Traditional house.
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
A village.
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
The school (the green roofs).
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Sterkfontein Dam - South Africa
Sterkfontein's Dam.
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Old abandoned farm?
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa
Lower Berg - uKhahlamba-Drakensberg - South Africa