Total Pageviews

Jul 11, 2007

The visit to Central & Northern Drakensberg

Given all the publicised cons of South Africa, the one feature that stands out for all the people residing in this country is the beauty of its landscape. Perhaps, apart from the rich mineral resources, this was one of the attractions for colonialists that spent centuries trying to stake a claim to this Southern part of the 'Dark Continent'.

One of the most pristine features of the country has to be the Drakensberg mountain range that lines the eastern half of SA along the KZN province of South Africa. The range can be divided into Northern, Central & Southern regions with each providing various 'touristy' attractions to match the traveller's expectations.

A few months ago, a couple of friends and I decided that we would tackle the Drakensberg... and see where we end up.

We decided to crash the nights in a converted home in the little town of Ladysmith not too far from the mountains. The first day was spent getting there from Jhb (took around 4hrs) and checking out the Central region of the Drakensberg. We had lunch at a local waffle restaurant that sold rugs made from sheep that were bred in the region. Racing against sunset, we just managed to catch a few of the famous peaks (Champagne Castle, Monk's Cowl...) that line the range including some 'adventure' activities like zip-line riding and off-road driving (to get to the zip-line place).

We stopped at a resort on the base of a peak (Devil's peak, I think), and spent some time admiring the starry night - refreshingly unpolluted from light and noise. Supper was at a reasonable restaurant filled with rugby crazy supporters (the Blue Bulls were playing that day down under, and Bryan Habana was in sublime form - hopefully repeatable in the Rugby World Cup later this year).

After an 'exhausting' night, and solid sleep, the next day was bright and sunny enough to tackle the Northern region. Using a trusty tourist map, we followed the north heading pathways admiring the various peaks along the road. We stopped at another 'adventure' spot and did some more zip-lines, trapezes etc. to build up an appetite. Lunch was at a quaint little restaurant along the hilltops in a town called Little Switzerland. The view outside was just breath-taking (for the lack of a better adjective).

On our way back to Jhb, we managed to catch other picturesque sights such as the massive Sterkfontein dam, the Vulture habitat and another beautiful dam which I can't remember the name of.

Ignore all the man-made problems here in Africa, and you soon will begin to realise why God decided that the Cradle of Mankind should be the 'Dark Continent'.

No comments: