My friends....are you ready to feast your eyes on the exceptional beauty of my province, Kwa Zulu Natal??
The tabletop peaks of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg range, which form the boundary between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, offer some of my country's most awe-inspiring landscapes.
The Drakensberg (or the 'Berg', as it's often called) is usually divided into three sections, although the distinctions aren't strict.
Champagne Castle (3376m) is a mountain in the central Drakensberg range, and is the second highest peak in South Africa. It contains a series of subsidiary peaks, amongst them, Cathkin Peak (3149m), Sterkhorn, Mount Memory, Monk's Cowl and Dragon's Back.
to the Royal Natal National Park.
We are at the Royal Natal National Park
which has a presence that far outstrips its relatively meagre size, with many of the surrounding peaks rising as high into the air as the park stretches across.
We have our permits and have been warned that about the sudden storms that occur in the area...
we signed the hiker's register so that they can send out a search party if we don't return!!
With some of the Drakensberg's most dramatic and accessible scenery, the park is crowned by the sublime Amphitheatre,
an 8km wall of cliff and canyon equally spectacular from below or from up on high.
Looming up behind is Mont-aux-Sources (3282m), so called because the Tugela, Elands and Western Khubedu Rivers rise here; the last eventually becomes the Orange River and flows all the way to the Atlantic.
Except for the Amphitheatre-to-Cathedral (62km, four to five days) and the Mont-aux-Sources (20km, 10 hours) hikes, most of the 25-odd walks in Royal Natal are day walks.
The peaks range in height from 3,482 metres (11,420 ft) to 3,001 m.
Btw, Marti, did you know that the Tugela Falls is the world's second highest waterfall
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tugela_Falls ) with a total drop of 947 metres??
Wow, isnt this UNESCO site absolutely amazing??
Green pastures, clean , fresh air, exceptional natural beauty,
soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, golden sandstone ramparts, rolling high altitude grasslands,
the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges all contribute to the beauty of the site, don't you agree??