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Information on Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Drakensberg situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa including information on Facilities and Recreation, Climate, Founding, History Suburbs, Town Planning and Geography.

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The Drakensberg mountain range is the highest in Southern Africa, rising to 3,482 metres in height. It is referred to as uKhahlamba in Zulu, which means barrier of spears, and in Sesotho as Maluti. Its geological history lends it a distinctive character amongst the mountain ranges of the world.

The range is located in the eastern part of Southern Africa, running for some 1,000 kilometres from southwest to northeast. The mountains drain on the western slopes by the Vaal and Orange rivers and on the east and south by a number of smaller rivers, the Tugela being the largest. Looming over the nearby coast of Natal the range covers the border between KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa and the Drakensberg mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

Towns and cities in the Drakensberg area include Ladysmith, the large town Newcastle, the former Zulu capital Ulundi, the coal-mining centres Dundee and Ixopo; and further south Matatiele and Barkly East in Eastern Cape Province South Africa, plus all of Lesotho. The hilly terrain extends north from the Drakensberg as Swaziland.

 


Drakensberg Conservation

The steep slopes are hard to reach so the environment is relatively undamaged. However, tourism in the Drakensberg is developing, with a variety of hiking trails, hotels and resorts appearing on the slopes. Most of the higher South African parts of the range have been designated as game reserves or wilderness areas. Of these, the UKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park was listed by UNESCO in 2000 as a World Heritage site. The park is also in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. The Royal Natal National Park, which contains some of the higher peaks, is part of this large park complex.

Adjacent to the Drakensberg National Park is Cathkin Estates Conservation and Wildlife Sanctuary which spans 1044HA of virgin grassland and represents the largest privately owned game park in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg region. Across the border in Lesotho an area is protected as the Sehlabathebe National Park.

The grassland of the lower slopes meanwhile has been greatly affected by agriculture, especially overgrazing. There are two large protected areas in this area: the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve has the Big Five game (elephant, black and white rhino, African Buffalo, lion and leopard) as well as cheetah and wild dogs, and the Giant's Castle reserve is a haven for the Eland and also is a breeding ground for the Bearded Vulture. However, original grassland and forest has nearly all disappeared, and more protection is needed.

Drakensberg Ecology

The high treeless peaks of the Drakensberg have been described by the World Wildlife Fund as the Drakensberg alti-montane grasslands and woodlands ecoregion. These steep slopes are the most southerly high mountains in Africa, and being further from the equator provide cooler habitats at lower elevations than most mountain ranges on the continent. The high rainfall generates many mountain streams and rivers, including the sources of the Orange River, southern Africa's longest, and the Tugela River. These mountains also have the world's second-highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls, which has a total drop of 947 metres. The rivers that run from the Drakensberg are an essential resource for South Africa's economy, providing water for the industrial provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng, which contains the city of Johannesburg. The climate is wet and cool at the high altitudes, which experience snowfall in winter. Meanwhile the grassy lower slopes of the Drakensberg in Swaziland, South Africa and Lesotho constitute the Drakensberg Montane Grassland, Woodland, and Forest.

Towns and Suburbs of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa

Amanzimtoti , Assagay, Ballito , Bayala, Beachfront, Bergville , Berea , Bishopstowe , Blythedale , Botha's Hill , Cowies Hill , Curry's Post , Dargle , Drakensberg, Dundee, Durban City , Durban North , Empangeni , Estcourt , Eston , Geluksburg , Gillits , Glenwood , Greyville, Hillcrest , Hilton , Hluhluwe , Howick , Illovo , Inchanga , iSamangaliso Wetlands ,Isandlwana , Ixopo , Kloof , Kokstad , La Lucia , Lake Jozini , Lidgetton , Margate , Marina Beach , Melmoth , Mkuze , Mooi River , Morningside , Mount Edgecombe , Mtunzini , Musgrave , Newcastle , Nottingham Road , Oribi Gorge , Oslo Beach , Paulpietersburg , Pennington , Pietermaritzburg , Pinetown , Pongola , Pongolapoort , Port Edward , Port Shepstone , Richards Bay , Rosetta , Salt Rock , Scottburgh , Southbroom , Spioenkop . St Lucia , St Lucia Wetlands , Sydenham, Ulundi , Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park , Ulundi , Umhlanga Rocks , Umtentweni , Umzumbe, Underberg , Vryheid , Wartburg , Westville , Winkelspruit, Winterton , Zimbali , Zinkwazi Beach


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