Found in the country’s east near Durban, the vast Drakensberg Mountain Range pairs South Africa’s most spectacular scenery – which truly is saying something – with an unrivalled haul of cave paintings. Here in her favourite playground, Mother Nature has exuberantly forged towering cliffs, deep gorges and rivers, then splattered the whole beautiful paradise with a wealth of biological diversity. The activity options are as endless as the peaks, and high-quality hotels lend a welcome luxury element.
The sole access road goes via 9,430ft-high Sani Pass, the highest driving point (with the highest pub) in southern Africa. Of the UNESCO-protected park’s three main zones, the ‘northern Berg’ is the most celebrated. Landmarks include Cathedral Peak and the Amphitheatre, a shockingly-sheer cliff face reaching 6,000ft (1,829m) in places. The Tugela Falls, Earth’s second tallest waterfall, also plummet 3,100ft (945m) over one section.
More dizzying numbers: there are over 22,000 examples of Bushman rock art here, sprawled over 600 sites and pushing 400 centuries old. Far newer are most of the many ways to experience this wonderland. Quad-biking, rock-climbing and rafting offer adrenalin, while gentler distractions number trout-fishing, river-swimming, birdwatching, hot-air balloon rides or the Drakensberg’s quintessential pursuit – hiking. Everything from one-hour to multi-day challenges is possible.
Drive up from Durban (two hours), following the N3 highway then turning west on the R617 after Pietermaritzburg. For added pleasure, delay your Drakensberg arrival by motoring the westerly section of the Midlands Meander – an arts-and-crafts route through verdant countryside. Once at Drakensberg, explore on foot, on two wheels or on a guided tour.
Best time to visit
Winter (June-September) is too cold for most people. With average temperatures of 28°C, summer (December-February) is far balmier, though the warm air regularly brings massive afternoon thunderstorms. Spring (October-November) is also rainy but beautifully lush, while autumn (March-May) is stabler and drier.
A tranquil mountain getaway hidden amongst the folds of the Drakensberg Mountains with superb activities for the whole family.
An interesting and unique food-lovers paradise, set in the rolling hills with sweeping views and a family-run laid back atmosphere.
A beautifully located mountain retreat with breathtaking views and a great selection of activities.
A unique family friendly resort found high in the foothills of the Northern Drakensberg, surrounded by towering mountains, forests and streams.
The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.
Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.
When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.
A wonderful 7 night break to South Africa
We have just come back from a wonderful 7 night break to South Africa. We were incredibly well looking after from the second we stepped off the plane, by a lovely representative of Best of South Africa Travel - who met us and escorted us through customs and immigration literally behind the pilots. It was very efficient, and we felt very ...