Drakensberg Mountains (South Africa). Where is the mountain of Dragons?


The Eye of the Sahara, the volcano Kilimanjaro, Victoria Falls, the Emerald City, Giza, the Egyptian pyramids - how many natural and man-made wonders are hidden in the most mysterious continent of the planet - Africa!

Drakensberg Mountains - South Africa's Pearl

Drakensberg Mountains are one of the most beautiful places on the continent. They have a unique origin. These are massive mountains with steep slopes and weak dissections, formed as a result of raising the crust and dumping basalt.


There are several versions of the origin of the name of the mountains. The stories of the Dragon Mountain tell about the presence of a dragon on its territory, which was seen in the 19th century. Another variant of the origin of the name is the presence of smoke over the mountains, similar to the flame of a dragon. The most common is the version that the name is Dutch, and gave it to the Boers, comparing the peaks of the mountains with the ridge of the dragon.

Mountain of Dragons: a place on the map

Drakensberg mountains pass through the territory of South Africa from east to west, from the Indian Ocean to the Bolshoi Veld plateau. Dragon Mountain is located on the territory of three states: South Africa, the enclave of Lesotho, the kingdom of Swaziland. The length of the mountain range is over 1, 100 km, the average altitude is 2000 m. The highest points are the Katkin Peak mountains at a height of 3660 m and Thabana-Ntlyanyan with a height of 3482 m. lively (Royal Natal National Park), and high-mountainous, lifeless (Basuto plateau).

Drakensberg - the territory of reserves

Drakensberg is a variant of the name of the mountain of Dragons. The charm of the Drakensberg Mountains is striking scenery. Here you can see waterfalls and canyons, valleys and cliffs. Dragon Mountain is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nature reserves, reserves, national parks occupy a significant part of the mountain range.

The Royal Natal National Park is located on the unique landscape of the Dragon Mountain. Incredibly beautiful is the southern boundary of the park - the Amphitheater mountain range, called because of its flat top. This is a natural rocky step with a length of 8 km. Near it is the Tugela Falls with a height of 948 m, which consists of five cascades and is considered the second tallest in the world after the Angel Falls.


In the Royal-Natal park is located the reserve of Santa Lucia from the list of the World Heritage - it is adjacent to the oldest on the planet of the same name lake of 275 thousand hectares.

The Golden Gate Highlands Nature Reserve - Golden Gate - is also located where the Drakensberg Mountains are located, closer to the Maluti mountain range. This is a park named for the unusually beautiful golden glow of the Brandwag cliff at sunset. The park was created in 1963 in order to protect against the destruction of sandstones that once served as a refuge for the Bushmen.

Ukhakhlamba Drakensberg National Park is another special place on the UNESCO list. The park, located in the zone of the Great Ledge, is considered the largest in the Drakensberg Mountains. Rare representatives of flora and fauna have remained here, the total number of which is more than 250 species.


Fauna of the Drakensberg Mountains

The territory of the Drakensberg Mountains is of exceptional nature. This is due primarily to the fact that the mountains serve as a natural obstacle to the migration of animals living here and on the inland plateau. In the national parks preserved pristine nature. In Ukhakhlamba Drakensberg there is a pristine band of alpine and subalpine vegetation - this is a special region that has the status of the World Center for Endemism and Plant Diversity. The endemic birds of the Drakensberg Mountains are the bald ibis and the bearded breed, nesting only near the Cathedral Cave (a natural arch that was formed by the action of water on the sand with temperature fluctuations). Yellow-breasted seahorse is also a rare endangered species. Cape Vulture lives only on the rocks of Ukhahlamba Park. Due to the presence of a large number of rare birds, UNESCO identified part of the Drakensberg Mountains as an important ornithological territory.


Only in Ukhahlamba Park are such mammals as the oribi antelope, the Berchell's zebra, the black wildebeest. In the mountains, there are also animals typical of southern Africa: antelopes (mountain redder, shrub ducker, bushbuck, roe deer antelope), caracal, jackal, serval, leopard, otter, genet, mongoose.

Flora of the Drakensberg Mountains

Dragon Mountain is located in the south of the Afro-montana botanical-geographical area. Here are widespread steppes, forests and light forests, where the world's only populations of white-tailed wildebeest and white rhino live. Botanical alpine vegetation belongs to alpine tundra analogues. The east of the mountains is wet, its slopes (up to a height of 1200 m) are covered with tropical rain forests with vines, evergreen trees, epiphytes. Thorny bushes, xerophytes and succulents grow from a height of 1200–1500 m. Above 2000 m, there are mountain steppes, green meadows, stone placers. The west of the mountains is covered with savannas and bushes.

Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains

The unique nature, unique landscape, original culture of the locals make the Drakensberg Mountains attractive for tourists. Drakensberg is interesting in the presence of three national parks and many nature reserves, where there are rare species of flora and fauna. In the mountains there are ancient lakes, beautiful waterfalls, varied terrain. People who are fond of history, visit the rocks in Ukhakhlamba Park, where paintings of the people of the San people who lived in the Stone Age have been preserved.


There are about 600 such places in the Drakensberg Mountains. The drawings tell about the lifestyle of people of that time. Fans of active and extreme rest have the opportunity to ride on the slopes of the Drakensberg Mountains on a "Land Rover" or on a horse. Mountains can be viewed from the window of the helicopter. Walking tours are organized in hard-to-reach places. Drakensberg Mountains attract tourists from all over the world, those who are a true connoisseur of true beauty.

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