By Darren Griffiths

The Drakensberg: The Ultimate Adventure and Relaxation Retreat

3rd April 2024

The Drakensberg region is a little-known gem in South Africa with everything needed for a perfect getaway. It’s rife with beautiful scenery and opportunities to connect with wildlife, inviting you to explore and adventure through the landscape. Somehow, the region simultaneously invites you to slow down and relax with resorts, calming vistas, and a true getaway from the regular rhythm of life. 

The Drakensberg, also formally called the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, spans across the borders of South Africa and Lesotho. In 1998, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its natural and historical significance. The park is home to both threatened species and species found only in that region. It’s also an area where you can see rock paintings made by the San people, the earliest inhabitants of the southern region of Africa.

The natural and historical significance of the Drakensberg, paired with its stunning and diverse landscape, make it a dream destination for travelers of all types. 

Whether you’re a traveler who dives into adventure and thrilling new activities or you prefer to take it slow and meander your way through scenery and history, this list of attractions and activities for the Drakensberg region has you covered.

Sani Pass

The Sani Pass is a mountain passage from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to Mokhotlong, Lesotho. It has a reputation for being the most beautiful mountain pass in the entire continent. To embark through the passage, you need a four-wheeler to safely navigate the winding, and at times incredibly steep, dirt road. 

Along the Sani Pass, you’ll also encounter the highest pub in Africa, the Sani Mountain Lodge, just on the other side of the Lesotho border. Being a lodge, it offers more than just a drink to travelers but also provides a range of accommodations, including a campground where you can rest your head for a night (or more); given the views from the lodge, it’s well worth a stay. Just don’t forget your passport before you leave because you’ll need it when you get to the border. 

Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Centre

This family-friendly attraction takes you on a journey to get to know the birds of prey in the Drakensberg region. Falcon Ridge is a rehabilitation space for these birds. Because of this, visitors can get up close and personal with the area’s wild birds. Visitors can see the birds’ impressive wingspans, sharp beaks, and powerful talons. In addition, the center has also trained some of the birds, leading to the opportunity to see first-hand how they fly and hunt.

Drakensberg Canopy Tour

If you have no fear of heights and love the idea of flying through the treetops, a Drakensberg Canopy Tour is calling your name. Zipline through the region’s forests at your own pace and enjoy the lush greenery and beautiful rock faces as you soar by. If, however, you have reservations about height and speed, there’s no need to worry. The tour comes with a complete safety kit and briefing, which keeps you safe while also letting you enjoy the thrill of gliding through the air. 

Drakensberg Horse Trails 

The Drakensberg region has many horse trails like the Phansi-Phezulu or Khotso trails. The horse trails are available to take you through the mountain ranges and the rivers and valleys of the region, allowing you to explore every aspect of the natural environment in the country. The horse trails allow you to work with grooms who will pair you with a horse and guide you safely through the trails. 

San Art Interpretive Centre

With the Drakensberg region being home to the San people’s rock paintings, it’s natural that people visiting the area want to learn more about the people and their art. The San Art Interpretive Centre provides a space dedicated to just that. You can learn more about the San people, also known as Bushman, through a range of exhibits and presentations available at the Centre.

Drakensberg Brewery 

Amid the natural scenery and stunning vistas, travelers will find gems like the Drakensberg Brewery. It’s the perfect spot to unwind with a craft beer and meal after a day of adventuring and thrill-seeking. You can even take your order to go and enjoy it while relaxing or playing an African-themed slot on from the comfort of your room.

Cathedral Peak Wine Estate 

Another gem found in the area is the Cathedral Peak Wine Estate, which includes a farm and a vineyard. The estate is known for its beauty, excellent food, and wine. It has even become a popular wedding venue.

Tugela Falls

Tugela Falls is home to a stunning waterfall that spills from a height of 947 meters (about double the height of the Empire State Building), making it one of the tallest falls in the world. For experienced trekkers, there’s a hiking trail to the top of the falls and back down again. The area also has quite a few other moderate trails for novice hikers.

Drakensberg Ballooning

With Drakensberg Ballooning, you’ll get the opportunity to drink in the vistas of the mountainous region from the air — including seeing many of the sights listed in this article from an entirely new and breathtaking vantage point. Add in the fact that hot air balloons allow you to bask in the peaceful tranquility of floating through the sky, and this activity becomes an incredibly appealing activity that delightfully combines a little adrenaline with a dose of calm.

The Drakensberg Is Calling Your Name

The Drakensberg region is well worth a visit for every type of traveler, from those looking for a tame, family-friendly destination to those seeking a daring adventure. It’s a diverse landscape that delivers beauty, history, and enjoyment for all who find their way there.

Related Posts