The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Maloti-Drakensberg - South Africa & Lesotho

Map showing the location of the uKhahlamba - Drakensberg park world heritage site in South Africa

Website Category:  Mountains

Area: 2,428 km2

Inscribed: 2000

Criteria (mixed site): (vii) aesthetic (x) biodiversity (and cultural criteria (i), (iii) )

 Values:The Maloti-Drakensberg is one of the major mountain ranges of southern Africa with dramatic scenery, high levels of biological endemism, and a concentration of rock art spanning 4,000 years. The highest reaches of its escarpment feature sheer basalt cliffs, with ramparts of golden sandstone rising above high rolling grasslands, rocky gorges and pristine steep-sided valleys. Hundreds of sandstone caves and rock shelters harbour the largest concentration of early rock art in sub-Saharan Africa. These are outstanding in their quality and diversity of subjects, their depiction of animals and human beings and as a record of the beliefs and way of life over 4,000 years of the Khoisan people who used to inhabit the region.



Slideshow of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park world heritage site.  


Impressions The site is well protected and serves as a crucial water catchment reserve, so its continued preservation is not significantly threatened. There are excellent visitor facilities and a well maintained system of hiking trails etc, providing a first rate visitor experience. The wider landscape (adjoining the world heritage site) suffers from widespread soil erosion, and significant problems of invasive exotic vegetation - a legacy of the apartheid system which forced thousands of black South Africans into high density ‘homelands' in the marginal lands close to the mountains.

uKhahlamba-Drakensberg park visitor brochure pack 

Visitor Information and Hiking Guide:  The South African side of the world heritage site (the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park) is managed by KZN Wildlife.  A series of full-colour official visitor guides and brochures is available (some a little out-of-date) providing details of the facilities available and visitor attractions at each of 18 entry points within this extensive park.  The brochure pack can be downloaded by clicking here.

uKhahlamba-Drakensberg park hiking guide to Royal Natal National Park and Giant's Castle Game Reserve  

There are many hiking opportunities throughout the area, but for those interested in day-long hikes and shorter walking opportunities two of the best places to go are Royal Natal National Park (in the far north of the park) or Giant's Castle Game Reserve (in the centre).  Both areas offer stunning scenery and some exhilarating short hikes.  Download maps and a guide to hiking in these two areas by clicking here.


Maps and Satellite Images of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site


MAPS & SATELLITE IMAGES:  A selection of maps and Google Earth satellite images showing the main features of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park is available by clicking here.  This portfolio includes satellite imagery from the entire length of the world heritage site from Royal Natal National Park in the north to Bushman's Nek (at the southern end of South Africa's uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park) and across the international border to Lesotho's Sehlabathebe National Park (which was added to the world heritage site in 2013).


Read more about the South African side of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg park in this article from the World Heritage magazine (pdf download)!


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Links to other world heritage mountains:  Simien  I  Kilimanjaro  I  Mount Kenya  I  Rwenzori  I  Mount Nimba

Links: Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description | Official UNESCO Site Details |OurPlace Photos |Management Authority:  KZN Wildlife | Birdlife IBA

  Basuto woman collecting firewood kindling from outside her hut near the summit of Sani Pass in the uKhahlamba - Drakensberg park world heritage site in South Africa One of the numerous delightful waterfalls to be seen in the uKhahlamba - Drakensberg park world heritage site in South Africa Eland depicted in San rock art at  Kamberg Nature Reserve within the uKhahlamba - Drakensberg park world heritage site in South Africa Massive cliffs of the high berg in Giant's Castle Game Reserve, part of the uKhahlamba - Drakensberg park world heritage site in South Africa



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