The uKhahlamba Drakensburg Park in South Africa is one component of the trans-boundary Maloti-Drakensberg Park which was declared one of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999. The Maloti-Drakensberg Park is of great value to the world at large as it harbours a large amount of endemic and plants of great importance. It is an immense wild life haven that spans both countries. The other component of the World Heritage Site is the Sehlathebe National Park in Lesotho.
The South African side of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park is the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and it encompasses 12 protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal:
- Cathedral Peak State Forest
- Cobham State Forest
- Garden Castle State Forest
- Giants Castle Nature Reserve
- Highmoor Nature Reserve
- Kamberg Nature Reserve
- Lotheni Nature Reserve
- Mkhomazi State Forest
- Monks Cowl Nature Reserve
- Okhahlamba State Forest
- Royal Natal National Park
- Vergelegan Nature Reserve
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is located only two hours’ drive from Durban and 3 hours from Gauteng. The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park has much to offer its visitors. The park consists of 242 814 hectares, of grassland soaring sandstone cliffs, deep valleys, and colossal peaks. Thje uKhahlamba Drakensberg park is a leading prime tourist destination in South Africa.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is a diverse wild life nature reserve with 109 threatened plants.The whole Heritage area harbours 296 bird species that have been recorded and 43 of these are endemic to southern Africa while 18 species are on the Red Data List as threatened such as the Cape Vulture and the Bearded Vulture
Part of the World Heritage classification of this area is the rich cultural heritage that is found in the San legacy of rock paintings.The San people lived in this area for 4 000 years and have documented their life on the rocks from about 2 500 years ago right up to the 19 th Century.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg area has approximately 600 sites of rock paintings numbering 35 000 individual images of their daily life and also their beliefs. Didima Resort’s San Rock Art Centre is situated in the Didima Camp of Cathedral Peak State Forest and is a monument to the San people and their tranquil way of life.