The Drakensberg Region of KwaZulu Natal: A Natural Wonder

Drakensberg KwaZulu Natal

Experience an unforgettable adventure in one of South Africa’s most famed travel destinations, renowned for its scenic majesty.

The Drakensberg Mountain Range, host to some of the highest peaks in Southern Africa, stands as one of South Africa’s most awe-inspiring natural marvels, offering a panorama of unparalleled beauty. Surpassing all other mountain ranges in the nation, it soars to an impressive height of 3,482 meters above sea level. Its name, translating to “Dragon Mountains” in Afrikaans and referred to as uKhahlamba in Zulu, meaning “barrier of spears,” encapsulates its allure. Recognised for its rich ecological and cultural tapestry, significant portions of the Drakensberg attained World Heritage status in 2000. Spanning over 300 kilometres (186 miles) along the periphery of KwaZulu Natal, it envelops the entirety of Lesotho and is considered a must-visit destination for travellers seeking an immersive experience in a truly magical part of the country.

About The Drakensberg

Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg is divided into three distinct sections: the Northern Drakensberg, Central Drakensberg, and Southern Drakensberg, each encompassing various parks, reserves, and towns such as Ladysmith and Ixopo. Drawing both local and international tourists, these regions are renowned for their scenic beauty, diverse flora, rich cultural history, and numerous hiking trails.

Situated primarily in the KwaZulu Natal Province, the Drakensberg spans over 200 kilometres, showcasing a combination of rugged peaks, lush valleys, and stunning vistas. Serving as a natural boundary between Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal, the plateaus, valleys, slopes, and breathtaking mountain passes offer unparalleled opportunities for hiking, walking, and cycling adventures.

Drakensberg Region

Notable summits such as Giant’s Castle, Cathedral Peak, and Mont-Aux-Sources attract photographers and adventurers alike, while the region also features smaller foothills, picturesque waterfalls, serene rock pools, crystal-clear mountain streams, and enigmatic caves. The pristine mountain air and abundant sunshine of KwaZulu Natal further enhance this unique destination for visitors and locals alike.

Within the KwaZulu Natal section of the Drakensberg lies the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, a 243,000-hectare mountainous area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Renowned for its stunning scenery and home to over 600 examples of San rock paintings scattered throughout its caves, this park offers a glimpse into both the natural and cultural heritage of the region.

Drakensberg Attractions

Drakensberg Attractions

Located just a two-hour drive from Durban, the Southern Drakensberg harbours several nature reserves, including Coleford, Loteni, and Kamberg, alongside over 150 rock art sites showcasing the ancient beliefs and cosmology of the San people. Despite their historical significance, there remains a lack of monuments honouring their legacy, making their art a vital testament to their existence and culture.

The area has diverse walking trails catering to various skill levels, from leisurely strolls suitable for families, such as the valley route from Garden Castle to Sleeping Beauty Cave, to more adventurous treks like the Pholela stream at Cobham or The Big Pool on the Ngwangwana River at Bushmannek.


In the Central Drakensberg, the Giant’s Castle Reserve features three rest camps and a network of hiking trails winding through geological marvels like the Bell, the Pyramid, and the Organ Pipes. Cathedral Peak, towering over 3,000 meters, stands as the highest peak in the region, offering breathtaking vistas, while Rainbow Gorge showcases the area’s natural beauty.

Beyond hiking, the Drakensberg region offers a plethora of activities, including horseback riding, canopy tours, white water rafting, and abseiling, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Charming inns, quaint hotels, and cosy pubs hidden in the shadow of the High Berg provide comfort and warmth, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.

Drakensberg Wildlife

The Drakensberg Traverse, spanning 300 kilometres, presents a challenging yet rewarding adventure for avid hikers. Snowfall in winter and occasional rains and mists year-round add to the unique landscape. Wildlife sightings may include Eland, Reedbuck, Baboons, and the endangered Lammergeier (bearded vultures), all contributing to the region’s natural charm.

The majority of the South African side of the range is designated as a game reserve or wilderness area, with the uKhahlamba or Drakensberg National Park being a prominent destination. The Royal Natal National Park, within the Drakensberg Mountains, features the source of the Tugela River and the majestic Tugela Falls, the second-highest waterfall globally.

Drakensberg KwaZulu Natal Accommodation

Drakensberg Accommodation

KwaZulu Natal is often considered a traveller’s dream with its subtropical climate and natural environment that lends itself to adventure and exploration. It is located in the southeast of South Africa, with a long shoreline on the Indian Ocean. It’s a hugely diverse region offering a melting pot of cultures, traditions and experiences characterised by an abundance of exciting game-viewing opportunities, historical journeys, cultural excursions and much more. It’s here where the Drakensberg takes centre stage, offering a selection of unique, immersive accommodations for those looking to experience the area in all its glory.

Three Tree Hill

Three Tree Hill

Three Tree Hill is a view-drenched lodge situated on the rolling foothills of the Drakensberg. Located above the scenic Mfazimnyama Valley of the Spioenkop Game Reserve, and encircled by the site of a well-known Anglo-Boer War battle, Three Tree Hill offers a luxurious retreat immersed in ancient history and gorgeous natural wonder. The lodge features a wonderful homely and intimate ambience with just three two-bedroom ed family cottages, which offer spectacular views of the surrounding hills, and six double cottages suitable for couples or single travellers. Guests are also invited to enjoy delicious meals in the main dining room, sip sundowners at the bar, savour local wines in the wine cellar, relax in the main lounge area and enjoy dips in the large swimming pool. Three Tree Hill offers the perfect base to explore these attractions, including the Anglo-Boer War Battlefields (Battles of Spioenkop and Colenso), and the magical Northern Drakensberg Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). A myriad of other activities are available at the lodge, which include horse trails, game walks, hiking, mountain biking and birding.

Montusi Mountain Lodge

Montusi Mountain Lodge

Montusi Mountain Lodge is a spectacular retreat set in the Northern KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg mountains, near the Royal Natal Nature Reserve, providing breathtaking views of the Amphitheatre from every structure. Since June 2000, the Carte family at Montusi Mountain Lodge has offered guests a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the freedom of the Drakensberg experience. Committed to the conservation of the area, they have cultivated a flourishing landscape where non-existent birdlife has become abundant, and have seen the return of the Mountain Reedbuck, Vaal Rhebuck, Bushbuck, and the elusive Eland to an area once inhabited by Bushmen. Guests can enjoy accommodation in separate free-standing suites within the indigenous gardens, and a main building encompasses a dining room, lounge, bar, games loft, and massage room. Meals, including table d’hôte breakfast and dinner, are served in a spacious restaurant beneath a unique thatched roof at Montusi’s kitchen. The lounge provides a tranquil setting for guests to immerse themselves in the Montusi ambience, complete with a log fireplace, oil paintings, and expansive picture windows – an ideal space to unwind with a good book and a delightful cappuccino. Complimentary Wi-Fi ensures guests can stay connected with emails and current events.

ZuluWaters Game Reserve

ZuluWaters Game Reserve

ZuluWaters Game Reserve is a privately owned 3000-hectare escape home to diverse plains game and two members of the Big Five, tucked away on the Bushmans River banks in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. Situated in the foothills of the breathtaking Drakensberg Mountain range, The reserve is renowned for its commitment to environmental conservation, and actively engages in sustainable practices across its expanse. ZuluWaters is dedicated to providing an eco-friendly atmosphere, mindful culinary experiences, and continual initiatives to minimise carbon impact. When you choose to stay at ZuluWater Game Lodge, you’ll have various accommodation options, including the Lodge, Nguni Luxury Garden Suite, Sigidi, and Impi Garden Suites. During your stay, all meals and snacks are included while activities and drinks will be at an extra cost. Immerse yourself in a distinctive and exclusive safari holiday experience within award-winning accommodations, surrounded by a selection of memorable activities. The reserve’s commitment to conservation ensures intimate wildlife encounters, highlighted by the unique “Rhino Experience.” Throughout your stay, witness a bunch of protected species up close, from herds of wildebeest and buffalo to majestic rhinos. Combined with hospitable African warmth, your time here will be filled with wonderful memories.

Sasi Bush Lodge

Sasi Bush Lodge
Sasi Bush Lodge is an intimate glamping escape in the striking Northern Drakensberg region of KwaZulu Natal, offering only three units for an uninterrupted stay in stunning surrounds. Part of the Kilburn Private Game Farm, Sasi Bush Lodge is focused on returning the natural area to its indigenous wildlife, and enables guests to enjoy the resident zebra, ostrich, giraffe, wildebeest and many more plains game from luxury private tents, the scenic swimming pool or on a guided game drive. Guests at Sasi Bush Lodge can choose to stay in one of three glamping options, comprising two romantic tents designed for couples, and one larger family tent for those traveling with little ones. Each of the units is tastefully designed and includes carefully considered luxuries such as an outdoor bathtub, private balcony and built-in fireplace, while a spacious dining area, view-drenched pool deck and WiFi access are available in the main lodge area. Located in the beautiful folds of the Northern Drakensberg mountains in South Africa, Sasi Bush Lodge offers the perfect combination of a bush and berg escape. Guests at Sasi Bush Lodge can enjoy morning and evening game drives on Kilburn Private Game Farm, as well as a lovely selection of hiking, mountain biking and horse riding trails in the surrounding area.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure in a bucket-list destination when you book your Drakensberg accommodation with Conservio today!