Autumn Highlands Holidays – uKhahlamba Drakensberg

After kicking off at Glen Reenen in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the next destination on our Autumn Highlands Holidays itinerary was the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in Kwazulu-Natal Province – we planned to spend five nights at Thendele in the Royal Natal National Park followed by five nights at the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve.

The Drakensberg is a favourite destination for many South Africans (like us!) and international visitors alike – with such magnificent scenery and diverse activities on offer to enjoy the great outdoors it is easy to understand why! We’ve already shown off the beauty of the Amphitheatre and the Cascades but the Drakensberg has so much more to see – just look:!

One would expect that any plants occurring in the often difficult climatic conditions of the Drakensberg would be very tough and hardy – and they are, but that doesn’t mean the plants found here are any less pretty than those found in more tropical climes! We’ll be showcasing a few of them in more detail in the coming weeks.

The number of invertebrates that find a home in these harsh highland habitats always astounds me – there are interesting insects and spiders to be found almost everywhere you look! You can look forward to new posts featuring a few of these in the coming weeks as well!

Do you still remember the great fun Joubert had photographing the guineafowls in Thendele? They’re just one of 83 species of birds we managed to identify during our time in “The ‘Berg” – here’s a few more of the feathered inhabitants of the Royal Natal section of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and some of them will soon feature in their own posts here at de Wets Wild.

We’ve already shown you some of the amphibians we found at Mahai, but Royal Natal is also home to many other kinds of four-footed creatures, both cold- and warm blooded.

Thendele is the only accommodation option in the Royal Natal National Park (campers can set up their caravans and tents at Mahai or Rugged Glen) and is built in two sections – the older Lower Camp and the newer Upper Camp. All units have lovely views of the Amphitheatre, but those units in the Upper Camp are more spacious and has more privacy. On this trip however we stayed in unit 12, a 2-bedroomed chalet in the Lower Camp, for 5 nights, and had no reason for complaint – everything was in good working order and it was a very comfortable place to rest after a day exploring the scenic splendour on offer at Royal Natal.

From Thendele we departed for Giant’s Castle, further south into the Drakensberg range, on the 26th of March. We were booked to stay at Giant’s Castle for 5 nights as well, but due to me feeling quite unwell we opted to return to Pretoria after just one night there. Unfortunately this meant that we left Giant’s Castle with very few photographs, but that’s a good excuse to return soon we think!

The Royal Natal National Park and Giant’s Castle Game Reserve are our two favourite destinations in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Both of these places can be booked through Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Location of Royal Natal and Giant’s Castle (drawn with Google Maps)

 

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28 thoughts on “Autumn Highlands Holidays – uKhahlamba Drakensberg

  1. Pingback: Winter Highland Holidays – Giant’s Castle | de Wets Wild

  2. perdebytjie

    Die insekte, skoenlappers en veldblomme is pragtig…eintlik is alles pragtig! Jammer julle moes die reis kortknip, maar ek is seker ons gaan weer in die toekoms iets van daardie mooi plek hoor.
    Sterkte en gou gesond word, Dries.

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    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks very much, Liz – I really appreciate it.

      The Drakensberg really has so much to offer, and best of all you’re not confined to a vehicle when exploring most of it, so there’s ample opportunity to appreciate the smaller stuff from up close!

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  3. Anne

    A true feast for someone who spent years traversing these mountains. Although you seem to prefer chalets, I can highly recommend the campsite at Mahai – it too has everything one could wish for. I have thoroughly enjoyed this foretaste of what is to come in future posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you very much, Anne!

      We actually love camping and Mahai is high-up on our list of future destinations to go pitch our tent at. Pity Giant’s Castle doesn’t offer camping.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks Tracy!

      The “Barrier of Spears” (uKhahlamba) is a gem of a place, so rich in life! We could never tire of bore of visiting there.

      As for me, still lots of tests and results going on at the moment, but hopefully soon we’ll have an answer and a plan.

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