The Drakensberg, or “the Berg” as it’s fondly known, is the highest mountain range in South Africa. Its name means “Dragon Mountains” in Afrikaans. In isiZulu, the area is referred to as uKhahlamba, meaning “barrier of spears.”
The escarpment stretches more than 1 000km from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and Mpumalanga, where it joins the Panorama Route. The greatest portion falls within KwaZulu-Natal and some of its highest points reach 2 000 to 3 482 metres above sea level.
The region is divided into three main sections: Northern, Central and Southern Drakensberg.
It is a year-round destination with summer rainfall and dry winters. Summer months are warm and the land is even greener, especially after rain. November is best for plant lovers when the spring blooms are at their most spectacular. Visit in winter to see the high peaks dusted with snow.
The mountains can be reached within a five-hour drive from Johannesburg and a three-hour drive from Durban. Durban’s King Shaka International Airport is 2.5 to three hours from Central Drakensberg, accessed mostly via the N3 highway.
The Berg’s soaring mountain peaks, golden cliffs, waterfalls, rivers and rolling green lawns beckon the nature lover to explore. The area is ecologically diverse too, home to more than 300 species of bird alone.
Drive the famous Sani Pass, the highest pass in South Africa, for unbelievable views. Then lace-up your hiking boots and get ready to explore.
What to do in Drakensberg
The Drakensberg offers innumerable hiking, walking and cycling trails to make the most of the fresh mountain air, but that’s not all that there is to be found. Here are our top picks of things to do in the Drakensberg:
Where to stay in Drakensberg
Where to eat in Drakensberg