Northern Drakensberg – a haven of peace and beauty for tourists

A picturesque view of the tranquil mountainous surrounds of Alpine Heath Resort. Picture by MaryAnne Isaac.

A picturesque view of the tranquil mountainous surrounds of Alpine Heath Resort. Picture by MaryAnne Isaac.

Published Apr 11, 2022


The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park is one of the most majestic of South Africa’s eight World Heritage Sites, and if you leave behind the hustle and bustle of Durban and head west, you’ll find real peace and tranquility nestled in the mountain range.

Northern Drakensberg is a popular tourist destination that boasts top-class and cosy accommodation options.

The highlight of the Northern Drakensberg region is the Amphitheatre, which forms part of the Royal Natal National Park. It remains one of the greatest geographical features in South Africa, due to its magnitude and unquestionable beauty. For those with a head for heights, the impressive Amphitheatre cliff face reaches 1.2km skywards and can be climbed using a chain ladder. The views from top of the Drakensberg escarpment are breathtaking.

Hiking is the most popular activity in the park. Trout fishing can be done at the dam and in the Mahai and Thukela rivers. Swimming in the fresh mountain streams is a popular summertime activity on the itinerary.

Apart from the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, visitors can explore pre-historical paintings by the Bushmen and San people who used to occupy the area many years ago. These can be found in caves all over the Drakensberg.

What’s more on offer to visitors?

The Tugela Falls – the world’s second largest waterfall plunging more than 948 metres from the Amphitheatre cliff tops – is considered one of the best hiking spots in KZN.

Northern Drakensberg has a wide selection of accommodation on offer. Ranging from modest B&Bs to self-catering guest houses and splendid hotels and resorts, there’s something to suit every budget. Montusi Mountain Lodge, Alpine Heath Resort, Sandford Park Country Hotel, The Cavern, Drakensberg Mountain Retreat, Dragonsview Lodge and Kingfisher B&B are just a few of the many welcoming establishments that offer visitors cosy and comfortable experiences within the tranquil mountainous area.

One can also visit WOWZULU, a responsible tourism initiative that offers authentic community experiences in Emazizini. Activities range from a tractor-trailer ride up the mountain to an inspiring, guided village walk and craft lessons on basket weaving with master craftswomen.

Experience the eMazizini village life for a day by taking part in different activities such as preparing fields, planting or harvesting, milking cows or herding cattle, or taking part in traditional ceremonies.

Exploring Cathedral Peak Wine Estate in Winterton is a “must do” activity. The estate is 29 hectares of vineyard leading into a game farm, and offers guests a variety of wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.

Visitors are encouraged to spend extra-time in the Northern Drakensberg, as it is home to some extraordinary wildlife and birdlife that you won’t see anywhere else in the world.

Kwaggashoek Game Lodge is known for offering its guests an exquisite and memorable African wildlife experience. This wildlife sanctuary, set in breathtaking mountainous scenery, is home to a wide variety of game and birds. Guests can embark on daily game drives in open vehicles that offer an unforgettable game viewing experience.