What do you love most about the Drakensberg?
I’ve always loved being outside. One of my greatest passions is to go hiking, and the Drakensberg boasts the largest concentration of hiking trails in South Africa. It’s just littered with adventure pursuits, too: hot air ballooning, abseiling, rock climbing, horse-riding, mountain biking, zip-lining, paragliding, whitewater rafting, taking a helicopter flip into the ’Burg: you name it.
What’s the landscape like?
Incredible panoramic vistas of stark, rugged peaks with rolling hills in the foreground covered by dense grassland and lush, indigenous forests; waterfalls falling into turquoise pools that are ideal for swimming. There’s flora and fauna that’s endemic to the area: roughly 300 species of plant are only found in the Drakensberg. And there are high concentrations of antelopes, like the eland, which was revered by the San people who lived here thousands of years ago. There are many examples of ancient rock art in these parts too. For these reasons, it’s one of only 20 places in the world that’s been recognised twice by UNESCO.
What’s an unmissable activity?
A helicopter trip over the Drakensberg. It’s so hard to comprehend how rugged and vast the mountains are until you’re high up and can see the depth of the valleys and height of the peaks. It’s mind-blowing. The only other way to experience it is to hike to the top of the escarpment, but the great thing about a helicopter is that within a few minutes you’re already up there.
What adventure activities are popular for families?
One of the most popular family experiences is zip-lining at the Drakensberg Canopy Tour, which has 12 lines criss-crossing a valley over indigenous forest. It’s for ages seven and up. And a guide will explain all the geological features and the flora and fauna, too, so the idea isn’t just to have a thrilling experience, but an enlightening one, too. It really is spectacular.