The Drakensberg is not only one of the world’s finest examples of an erosional mountain but is a significant Southern African escarpment. It borders the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and three South African provinces namely, parts of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. It stretches for some 1,000km. The most ruggedly beautiful portion of this mountain is found in KwaZulu-Natal, and a section of this is a world heritage site, which is known as the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. This park is one of just over 20 world heritage sites that achieved their status, on two counts, namely: Cultural-Heritage – the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, has more than 30,000 examples of San or Bushman rock art. Some refer to it as the ‘greatest repository of rock art’; and Fauna and Flora – there are over 300 plant and animals that are endemic to this area. The KwaZulu-Natal section of the Drakensberg are divided into three sections, namely the northern, central and southern portions. All are equally stunning and worth a visit. The mountain peaks in this area often exceed 3,000 metres. Some of the most well-known being Rhino Peak, Injasuti, Champagne Castle, Cathkin Peak, Cathedral Peak, The Saddle, The Mnweni Needles, the Devils Tooth, the Buttress, the Amphitheatre and the Sentinel. The Drakensberg also has the second highest waterfall, the uThukela Falls, and as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. The highest being the Angel Falls in Brazil. A visit to the northern Drakensberg is never complete without an attempt at the Amphitheatre climb, which can be accessed from the Sentinel car park. To get to the top of the mighty Amphitheatre, two sets of arduous chain ladders would need to be tackled before you are launched into panorama heaven…remember to complete the mountain register for safety purposes. We highly recommend hiring an experienced mountain guide, who can assist with the sudden changes in weather, route, geology, and fauna and flora on the mountain. It is little wonder that tourism developers continue to flock to this area, to develop some of the finest resorts, lodges and smaller facilities in the country, such as country houses and self-catering facilities in this area. These are filled by domestic tourists on weekends and school holidays, who come to experience the many wonders of the Drakensberg. These range from some of South Africa’s best hiking trails … to other adventure pursuits such as helicopter flips over the berg, para-gliding, quad biking, white river rafting, mountain biking (the Central and Southern Berg have recently developed extensive trails, for mountain bikers and trail runners), zip lining and hot air ballooning. For those who enjoy less physically draining activities, there are wonderful craft and art centres, eateries, the Drakensberg’s own brewery and even an excellent wine estate. Heading to the southern Drakensberg? Ensure you pass through Ixopo on a Sunday, as the Paton Express starts her engine around 10h30 to give you a fantastic train tour of the Southern Midlands. Heading out in a vintage steam train, you travel to Ncalu siding where you enjoy a lunch at the 103-year-old Mid Illovo station, while you revel in the views and countryside beloved of Alan Paton. Bring a picnic with. The train returns to Ixopo at 14h00.